Spiced Pepper and Onion Vegetarian Tacos

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The last few months, alongside moving and a kitchen renovation and getting ready for The Einkorn Cookbook's launch, I've been jetting back and forth to the Chicago suburbs. One of our family members has been in and out of the hospital, so there's been a lot of talking to doctors, feeling angry/depressed/confrontational about the lack of real food in hospital cafeterias, sitting in rooms waiting, listening (a lot of listening) and laughing at the funny ways my parents introduce us to nurses, doctors and friends. ("They drink kombucha. Do you like kombucha?") Sitting in hospitals tends to be the kind of thing to make you feel powerless, like there's nothing your hands can do, but I've found some of the best things my hands do are release their grip and trust. That, and make food. When everything else is in crisis, people still need food to eat. And, maybe this is our finally working kitchen talking, but being able to cook and prepare your own food is such a privilege. One of the last … [Read more...]

Simple Summer Tomato Cucumber Salad

food loves writing cucumber tomato salad

Summer 2014 will go down in my mental history books as the summer when: Tim and I drove a friend's beat-up truck to East Nashville so we could load my old roommate's queen-sized mattress and box spring, strap it in as best we could with ropes and gravity, then truck it back down the highway like those crazy people you never want to wind up stuck behind, praying it wouldn't fly off. It will be the summer both my old roommates moved away. The summer of days so hot, sweat layers on sweat. The summer I did things like look up the owner of a property on public records, cyber-stalk him and email a "Hey, have you thought about selling your place?" The summer of sweet old ladies like Edna, whom we met this week, who lived in her house for 50+ years and whose husband worked on airplanes and who is only trying to move now because he died last year. The day after I met her, I sat at Provence with my work buddies, thinking about people who can't get out to coffee shops in the middle of the day, … [Read more...]

Potato Fritters with Roasted Zucchini, Cucumber Corn Salad & Cumin Dill Yogurt Sauce

potato fritters with csa vegetables

I've fallen into the habit this summer of roasting whatever vegetables we have on hand for dinner, usually with just coconut oil, salt and pepper, sometimes with one or two other spices from the cabinet added in, and then arranging them all on a plate like they're fancy. These potato fritters are a perfect example of that. At first glance, they seem elaborate, but when you get down to it, they're really just local vegetables arranged and barely adorned in a new way. There have been times in my life where I've thought that arranging a plate---or picking out an outfit or cleaning the sink or organizing a bookshelf---is a shallow, silly, empty thing to do. It's not reading a book. It's not deep discussion. It's nothing cerebral or heady or life-changing in and of itself. Nobody looks back at the end of her life and says I wish I'd made more dinners prettier. And yet somewhere in my soul I think I've always also known that you can't argue with the way it hits you when someone … [Read more...]

Summer Squash Soup + Cheesy Zucchini Crispies

summer squash soup

Our friend Terry said something to us last week about how culture is like a thumbprint embedded on our souls. Like a lot of things we don't pick or ask for, that thumbprint is predetermined for us when we're born; it surrounds us; we swim in it. Like the air we breath, our culture is part of everything we think and do, affecting us, being affected by us, and yet virtually unnoticeable. I am a different person because I was born into the geographic location of the Chicago suburbs and not South Florida or small-town Texas or northern California, I realize, the first child of a Midwestern couple who were starting a new business, not working at office jobs, and a new family, not a big one, in the early 1980s. My personality and perspectives have been affected by a childhood in private school instead of public school where my mom and not my dad cooked most nights and my family ate out often. I went to northern Wisconsin most summers, not the East or the West. It was normal to me that people … [Read more...]

The Vibrant Table’s Zucchini Spaghetti with Peaches and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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On Tuesdays I work at coffee shops with a couple girlfriends who also call their homes their workplaces. It's a good chance to knock social activity and work hours out together (she says, like a true introvert) and one that gives all of us an excuse to spend $5 at a local business as well as put on normal clothes before noon (okay, that last part might just be me). This past week, we also met up on Thursday, and when we did it was at the new coffee shop in my neighborhood, which is also the first coffee shop in my neighborhood, a news-worthy event for South Nashville if ever there were one. Since it opened 1.5 weeks ago, I have already discussed this hip new place and its white string lights and ample seating area with our neighbors down the street at lunch on Memorial Day, my friend Jenna at book club (who, notably, found out about it in the community newsletter I've apparently known nothing about) and, also, at a workshop that my friend and former neighbor Ashley led in Hermitage, … [Read more...]

SPONSORED POST: Sweet and Tangy Late Summer Squash Quinoa

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We just enjoyed a two-week trial of Grammarly for proofreading---because everybody can use an extra pair of eyes. Learn more about this online editing service in the footer! Two days ago on our morning walk, Tim and I put on sweatshirts. Yesterday, I pulled out my boots for the first time since May. Today, the window’s open in the bathroom, and even from the next room over, I can smell the fresh air and feel a cool breeze coming in (the high today in Nashville was 72 degrees). What’s more, down the hall and in the kitchen, the oven is on, and I have a pot filled with root vegetables boiling on the stove. Fall is here, officially and obviously, and I’ve been dressing, eating and, what I’m trying to say, I guess, is enjoying this new season, even when it means summer’s gone. But before we get too deep in changing leaves, could I get one last hurrah for summer? I hate to say it as a lifelong October lover, but sometimes I'm nostalgic for the season that ends (besides … [Read more...]

Roast Chicken on Tomatoes + Potato Spaghetti Squash Puree

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September 11, 2013 has been a beautiful day here in Nashville. Tim and I woke up early to grind popcorn kernels and make skillet cornbread. The cornbread was a dud, but Tim made a berry smoothie that wasn't. Then, we drove through blue skies and bright sun to our car dealership, twenty minutes south, where a serviceman checked us in to get our air-conditioning fixed and asked the time: It was 9:11 AM on the nose. Twelve years ago this morning, I was standing in a Wisconsin hotel, curling my hair, when my mom shouted from the TV in the main room, "Come look at this!" and I didn't say anything, and we called my dad in Illinois, and he was crying. Today, I walked away from a serviceman and into a Tennessee car dealership lounge, where Tim and I would listen to someone making popcorn and watch a 10-month-old baby boy named John crawl around the room. My mom and I were at that Port Washington hotel because I was scheduled for traffic court on September 11, for driving 24 miles … [Read more...]