Everybody’s hands are full, we’re all wondering with what // Einkorn Pizza Pastry Recipe

morning

MY BODY WAKES UP BEFORE MY ALARM CLOCK THIS MORNING, so it’s at 6:42 that I’m turning off the timer before it sounds and stumbling to the bathroom a few feet away. I open the window shutters and brush my teeth, and when Tim doesn’t follow, I step back towards the bed and find myself crawling in.

“What time is it?” he asks me through half-opened eyes. “Are we getting up to walk?”

I pull the covers to my chin in our bedroom with the shades still shut and say, “Maybe we should walk tonight instead,” and Tim comes closer and rubs my side, and I think of my grandma and the way she’d scratch my back until I fell asleep at night and about the love it takes to do that for someone who is not yourself.

marche
Yesterday, my friend Michele was in town. She took us out for brunch to Marché, my birthday breakfast choice from just a a few days before, saying, “I hope you’re not bored with this place,” to which I shook my head and said, “Listen, I could eat here every day!” Atop our white marble table we shared toast with homemade ricotta and sliced plums, and I ate a lamb gyro with the most tender meat and most buttery pita and a mess of bright tzatziki all over everything. Afterwards, I hugged my friend who is all life and travel and laughing, the same friend I feared for the year I met Tim, and I thought how sweet it is to have prayers answered and friends alive and thriving to eat brunch with, on mornings when they pass through Tennessee.

Einkorn pizza pastry

The night before Michele came, Tim’s brother was over for our usual Wednesday dinner, and he brought me birthday presents wrapped in brown paper and string, and we ate a typical Mallon hodge-podge dinner for three: homemade French fries and roasted peppers stuffed with cream cheese and pie pastry baked with tomatoes and basil into a tart.

It hit me this week that these are the things in my hands right now, in my 31st year, in August 2013. When I applied for college, back in 1999 (!), I had to predict where I’d be in five years, ten years, fifteen, and nothing I wrote in those essays figured a life that looks like this. I look around me some days and think, Why should I have a kind husband who loves me and hugs me and laughs with me early in the morning? Why should we be given breakfasts and lunches and a fridge full of food to eat? Man, we’re blessed to have friends who come take us to brunch. Man, we’re blessed to have mornings to linger in sleep longer, to decide to walk later, to be free.

And it also hits me that, from where I write this post right now, still in bed on Friday morning, my hands don’t look like yours. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you have a house. Maybe you wish for quiet mornings or maybe you wish for loud ones. Maybe you wish for hands to rub you to sleep at night; maybe you wish for fewer hands to surround you at all. Maybe you look at my hands and want to say, because they look different from your hands, “Why haven’t you guys done this yet or that?”

But whatever your life looks like, whomever it’s with, whatever work or school or family needs take up most of your days, your empty hands are being filled with it all, like my hands are being filled with it all, and, the truth is, a lot of what fills them is outside our control. It’s human to look at my hands and compare them to your hands. It’s natural to want to tell other people to fill their hands the same ways we’ve filled ours. But I didn’t meet Tim when I was 20 like I would have wanted to when I was 17. I didn’t get to have a baby at 23 and a full brood of little ones by age 30. I haven’t written a cookbook. I wouldn’t say I’ve achieved some great earthly success. Instead, I’ve been given grad school and travel and new friends and the most loving husband I have ever met, and along with them, I’ve been given a broken heart and rejection letters and a little blog that brings me a lot of joy. We all wish and desire and long for things, even as we hold good gifts of breakfasts and jobs and not getting everything we thought we would want. But it’s hitting me this week, this full week, that my hands are always holding something, like your hands are always holding something, and I’m so thankful for my somethings and for your somethings, and that they’re different. And that really our hands are always full.

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Chocolate Chip Einkorn Belgian Waffles

The best part of today was definitely the waffles we made for breakfast.

Chocolate Einkorn Waffles at Food Loves Writing

When Tim came out to the living room around 7 AM, he found me curled up on the leather sofa we inherited from his former bachelor pad, reading a book I bought on Amazon, which arrived yesterday afternoon. I’d been up since 5:30 and figured I may as well distract myself a while. Sometimes the only way to stop thinking about something is to start thinking about something else. He joined me on the sofa, propped up his legs and settled in to talk, and we passed an hour like nothing, the way we tend to do when we talk about heavy concepts like the book I am reading brings up. Most mornings, our routine is to walk and to read and to get ready for our workdays; today we talked and then we prayed and I said, Let’s make waffles, and we walked together to the fridge.

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Tomato Cobbler

Telling you that today is the first Friday in 16 months that a 7 a.m. post didn’t publish here feels very meta, as one of my grad school professors used to say. Back in those days, when we were reading heavy essays by literary critics like Foucault, workshopping stories on a weekly basis, being ever surrounded by writers who were writing to other writers about writing, and then talking about it together, as writers, anyone who popped his or her head out of our little world for even a moment would see that meta discourse gets weird. A little too in your head. Analytical. Buried in layers. I had basically decided to avoid it here, no more blogging about blogging, you’re welcome, until here we were this Friday morning without a scheduled post, and so this afternoon I got thinking about the reasons we blog again (see “The Value of Blogging” or “Confessions on the Day before Four Years“), right as I scooped out the last bowl of tomato cobbler and ate.

Tomato Cobbler

I made the cobbler Wednesday afternoon.

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Red Fruit Einkorn Hand Pies

handpies

Tim and I made these red fruit hand pies a few weeks ago, but I’ve been going back and forth about whether to tell you about them.

I can be kind of a perfectionist.

Note I did not write, I can be kind of perfect. Perfect people wouldn’t be perfectionists. They wouldn’t have to waste their time frustrating themselves and those around them with the pursuit of the unattainable. They’d be the unattainable. Of course, they also would be imaginary because perfect people don’t exist. Chasing perfection is a losing battle. Chasing perfection is a battle I want to stop. So I’m starting right now. With rustic red fruit hand pies. Here I am, Shanna Mallon, 30 years old, maker of mismatched hand pies, nice to meet you, hello, how are you, let’s talk.

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Blueberries on the Buffalo Farm + Whole Grain, Streusel-Topped Blueberry Buckle

Blueberries on the Buffalo

In a world where every company calls itself the leader, and “great customer service” is something of a buzzword, a lot of us have become desensitized to company promises—but this past weekend, about 80 miles south of Nashville, I became a believer once again. At Blueberries on the Buffalo Farm, a small, family-run blueberry farm that is actually a small, one-couple-run blueberry farm, I experienced firsthand such unparalleled kindness from the very people who work the land, I haven’t stopped talking about it since.

Blueberries on the Buffalo

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Picnicking and a Grape Galette

“The proper attitude toward a picnic is somewhat devil-may-care. You do not have to stand in the kitchen cutting perfect sandwiches and making perfect potato salad or frying chicken (although every once in a while an old-fashioned picnic is just the right thing). So what if all you have in the fridge is leftover rice, a couple of scallions, and a jar of almonds? You may have invented a lovely new rice salad, and no one will care if it is not their usual, because you are on a picnic.” — Laurie Colwin, More Home Cooking

picnicking

If there’s anything better than spending a summer night outdoors, it’s spending a summer night outdoors, in a vineyard, with a bag full of picnic food and blankets. Around here, our typical version of Colwin’s “rice salad,” tends to look like bread, fruit, cheese and chocolate, along with whatever leftovers or sauces or sides we can drum up on our way out the door. Let me tell you, nothing tastes better than that humble spread, set out in the fresh air and golden daylight, while you wave off gnats and listen to kids playing tag on the hill below. Picnics like these, to me, are summer—the very essence of longer days and freer schedules and warm air on your cheeks. You could eat grapes and bread in the car or or on the sofa or at the kitchen table, but taking them to grassy fields reminds you of the season you are in, of the time that’s moving ever forward, of the need to stop and savor it and drink it in.

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Homemade (Einkorn) Ravioli with Sundried Tomato, Capers and Ricotta — Made with a Food Processor!

food processor pasta

The exclamation point at the end of this post’s title is a little gimmicky, I know. But if there were ever a time to use an exclamation point in a post title, this is it. As soon as I saw this post at The Kitchn about making homemade pasta in the food processor, I was curious. As any Italian grandma would tell you, pasta-making traditionally involves very specific rules, from the mounding of the flour on the counter to the setting the eggs in the center to the incorporating everything into a workable dough. If the process could actually be as simple as a few minutes in a food processor, why wasn’t everyone doing it that way? Was this a gimmick or a trick? I’ll admit I was skeptical, but since The Kitchn rarely steers me wrong, regularly pointing me to such interesting resources as a simple sourdough starter, cool kitchen designs and a reminder about a Samoa popcorn recipe I have got to try, I figured this concept was worth a shot. That very day I saw the piece, I pinned the article, scrolled through the how-to guide and told Tim I wanted to try it with einkorn flour, that ingredient we’re always talking about here and that people say is especially wonderful when used in homemade pasta dough.

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