Meaty Lasagna

meaty-lasagna-14

Lasagna is something of a Christmas tradition in Tim's family, and meaty tomato sauce is one in mine, so last weekend we combined the two for a meaty, cheesy lasagna good enough for a festive family gathering on Christmas Day. We spent most of the afternoon making it---first the sauce and then assembling the lasagna layers---and probably only 20 to 30 minutes sitting down to eat, but the added blessing the prep process gave us was stories of Tim's childhood and memories of my grandma, the kinds of things that come up when you smell tomato sauce cooking on the stove. My grandma died in 1999 and Tim's mom in 2002 but I swear when we are chopping garlic and boiling noodles, there's this undeniable comfort that comes from the familiar scents and sounds and flavors you once shared with someone who is now gone. Maybe this is the whole point of traditions, holiday or otherwise: we're creating landmarks for ourselves so that someday, when we're far away from this place or that person, we can … [Read more...]

Zucchini Mushroom Pepper Boats with Mozzarella

zucchini boats with mushroom pepper saute and mozzarella

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” C.S. Lewis I finished this C.S. Lewis novel tonight, my friend Kendra's favorite (p.s., for context, this is the friend Kendra who sent me this scone recipe last year and who cooked dinner and talked business with me in my kitchen last summer and who runs a bakery subscription company for fangirls in North Carolina because she is just that cool and Linchpin-y). Because the book club I'm reading the book with doesn't meet until next Wednesday, I've now spent the better part of the evening Googling articles and reading … [Read more...]

Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers

Like businesses, music, vacations and books, most meals begin as ideas---but as ideas that come more quickly down the mental conveyor belt than sonatas or summer getaway plans. A conversation at the office jogs a memory of Grandma's butter cookies, and the kitchen finds you rolling dough; a blog post inspires dessert and you're beelining for the pantry; or, unexpectedly on a weekday afternoon, a hunt through the refrigerator, opening drawers and crispers, fills your hands with bright red peppers and cauliflower and recalls a possibility you'd almost forgotten---and then, that quick, momentary thought, incubated right away in discussion and action, becomes a recipe you test twice in one week with your husband, the two of you lost together in discovery, in watching the abstract become something you hold in your hands and eat. … [Read more...]

Parsley Pesto Pizza + Squash Apple Pizza with Einkorn Crusts

There are people who don't believe in making a big deal about birthdays, but I'm not one of them---and I have my brother to thank. My brother, Adam, who is two years and two months younger than I am (but if you heard us together, you'd swear he were the one who's older), came here to see us last week, arriving around 2 p.m. on his birthday Wednesday and staying through Saturday night. The thing you have to understand about my brother and birthdays is he is kind of the king of celebrating them. When I turned 21, he took me to a Coach store and told me to pick out one thing I wanted, any one thing, and he would buy it for me---choosing a purse in a store so far outside my price range made me feel like the richest person in the world, and that's a feeling you never forget. Another year, he surprised me with a party at Ravinia, this outdoor park near Chicago where Tony Bennett was playing for the night. Since then, there have been trips to Maine and, when I was dating Tim, a … [Read more...]

The Perfect Crustless Quiche

February 17 was a big day for my family this year. Not only was it my mom's birthday, but it also was the first time they came to visit Nashville. Ever! And while I've been wanting my parents to visit ever since I first moved last February, I'll be the first to admit that in the valley of a few weeks ago, it felt a little impossible. So I'm thankful to say that in fact, we had a busy four days, filled with many moments where I'd look at Tim and say, I'm not in pain!, amidst marathons of Downton Abbey, antiquing in Franklin, a visit to the gym and grabbing them Olive & Sinclair chocolate-dipped popsicles at Hot and Cold. It all started when they arrived early Friday morning, having braved a 6 AM flight to get here, and so we had a birthday breakfast waiting---and the star of that show was this quiche. Here are the reasons I like this quiche: 1) You don't have to make a pie crust. It's not that I have anything against pie crust (especially not this foolproof one!); it's just that … [Read more...]

thin, chewy pizza crust

You remember what it was like when you were a kid and you hated to go to bed? You could have just had the best day in your life---a birthday party, playing with friends, swimming, riding bikes, building pretend houses, eating fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, whatever---but when the sun went down, you knew what was coming. No matter how great the last few hours had been, no matter how much joy you'd been offered---and especially no matter what anyone else had told you about thankfulness---there was only one thing on your mind when your mom said to put your pajamas on, and it was a disheartening thing indeed: all this fun had to end. That's a little how I feel this morning. It's funny to think about, really. I mean, we all look at a child throwing a tantrum before bed and see precisely what he doesn't, the very factors that would take his fear away: Morning will come, we want to say to him. There's more fun to be had. And besides, you have to rest; you need it. We know he … [Read more...]

Rolled Eggplant

Today, I’m bringing you an everyday recipe, the kind you can pull out on a random weeknight, the kind that makes an easy dinner, the kind that, I know, isn’t especially wow-worthy at first glance. It starts with eggplant. But let's back up first. … [Read more...]