Sunday Lunch with Louie Abellera + Gluten-Free Almond Cake

I have this photographer friend Louie. I met him through Becky, the friend who was with me the first time I met Tim, and I've been following his Tweets and Instagrams and blog ever since that one random afternoon sitting across from him at Burger King or McDonald's, watching him eat chicken nuggets, before the three of us went someplace else. Louie's a cool kid---I say kid because, people, Louie is all of 22, as in the age I was when I started grad school, the age at which the only things I'd ever published were local newspaper articles about book clubs and town meetings, the age when I didn't know much about cooking, much less about cooking and writing about it on a food blog. But Louie's 22 looks a lot different than mine did, and he's a crazy-good photographer shooting, get this, upwards of 20 weddings a year. So when he came into town last week from Chicago, asking for some help expanding his food portfolio, we were only too happy to have him over for our regular Sunday lunch with … [Read more...]

Honey-Glazed Peach Spinach Salad

Tim and I live in the downstairs of a 1940s-style house; I may have mentioned this before. If you walk into our living room from the front porch, you see built-ins around the fireplace, stuffed with the combined libraries of 20+ years of separate lives: a few textbooks, many novels, the guidebook and accompanying tapes for a ‘How to Speak Italian’ course. For the first few months we lived together, the mantel between these shelves was completely bare; December brought a $5 fresh pine wreath from Aldi, which we left mounted weeks past New Year’s; we finally threw it in the fireplace in February, planning to watch it burn, but it’s still sitting there. In its stead are perched a giant canvas engagement shot, a few framed prints and a wooden letter “M” I spray-painted white in a few Pinterest-driven weeks last winter. Besides the ottomans and the rug, everything in this living room is either from our previous apartments or hand-built by Tim; that’s true in most of the house. The … [Read more...]

4 Summer Salads + My Brother’s Nashville Video

summer salads

Did you know May is National Salad Month? To celebrate, Tim and I will be spending the next few days at the DOLE Salad’tude Bloggers Summit* in Monterey, California (yay!). We're actually up in the air as this post publishes, looking forward to what the next day or so will bring. You can expect photos and stories of the trip to be posted here soon! But meanwhile, we thought you might like to celebrate, too---say with some delicious summer salad recipes? Here is a roundup of four of our favorite summer salads, all previously posted at Food Loves Writing. Plus, as an extra-special, first-ever-of-its-kind bonus here at the blog, we've got a video, made by my super savvy film-making brother. He and my friend Jackie visited last month and he made this fun and food-centric for one of his classes. Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Satsuma, Red Onion and Pomegranate Salad

I know I could write this post about our holidays---our first Christmas traveling to both Ohio and Chicago; our first year of giving gifts as a couple; our first Christmas stretching between two families because we are our now our own. I could tell you about all the food we ate---the amazing, high-quality, enjoyable meals of homemade braciole and fork-tender pot roast and filet mignon kabobs. I could tell you, the way I've told Tim, how humbling it is to be outgiven, the way we were by both our families, who generously, thoughtfully gave us with gifts far beyond our needs or expectations. But the truth is, the only thing that keeps coming out when I try to write this post is something much more simple, something much less interesting or profound. It's the thing I can't stop thinking about lately, the reasoning behind purchases and lunches and a fridge stocked with greens: I love salad. I know, I know, this isn't the kind of revelatory factoid you want someone to drop on … [Read more...]

on salad (and other things)

Yesterday for dinner, we made a salad. I like salad. I like salad especially this time of year, when the weather's crazy hot in Nashville, the kind of hot where your shirt sticks to your back and sweat beads on your upper lip and walking down a street holding your fiancé's hand means having to wipe your palm on your pant leg afterwards. This particular year, the heat has brought with it cicadas, ugly little flying creatures with bright red eyes and loud chirping noises, camped out in the trees, on my house, and, for a tragic few minutes Monday morning, right in my freshly washed hair. It's been something. But thankfully, these 90-degree days have also brought with them the more agreeable experiences of popsicles, tank tops, week-long visits from my brother (which included the purchase of one very expensive white dress), homemade ice cream, flip flops, Memorial Day grilling, and, back to the original topic, giant summer salads. (I mean, the salads don't exactly make … [Read more...]

Chicken Waldorf Salad Wraps

These wraps, which I've had for lunch for the last three days, illustrate one of the best parts of working from home. Because, are you ready? When you call your kitchen table your office, this is what happens: you pull open your Google Reader on a casual Tuesday afternoon, see a recipe you'd like to try and, instead of just bookmarking it for later, you walk to the kitchen right that moment, pull out ingredients and, in minutes, see exactly what it tastes like. Like I said though, that's just one of the best parts of working from home, and since a couple of you have been wanting an update on the self-employment situation anyway, it's probably time I told you about some of the other benefits. First of all: It's been almost five months, can you believe that? Five months since I set my alarm for the same time every morning. Five months since I said, Oh, I can't; I have to work. Five months of setting my own schedule and working fewer hours (and, admittedly, also making less … [Read more...]

(My Kind of) Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is the #1 thing I don't order at restaurants. And I think this makes perfect sense. I mean, first of all, who wants chicken salad when you can get a tomato mozzarella panini or a sandwich with basil pesto or heck, a juicy burger made from locally sourced meat? But second, and even more importantly, chicken salad is what you call a risky food. Trust me: bad chicken salad is bad. Like, rip-your-mouth-out bad. B-A-D bad. Three years ago, the last time I ordered it in a restaurant that I remember, I was up the whole night afterward, sick. Violently sick. And the next day, when I called the manager of said dining establishment to let him know, he didn't believe me. … [Read more...]