My Favorite Kale Salad

favorite kale salad

Last night, Tim, Rocco and I returned home after a full week away, driving first to Ohio and then to Chicago to see family, celebrate my birthday and give Rocco his first experience with a real road trip. Our boy was born into a family that has to travel to see its family, so we figured he may as well start learning what that's like now, in the early days, when he's all of just two months old. The way there was broken up by a night in Ohio, at Tim's sister's house, where we ate perfectly grilled chicken and decadent chocolate mousse cake alongside Italian-style green beans and quinoa salad. In Chicago, my mom made my favorite lemon chicken and my brother baked me chocolate birthday cake, and there were a lot of days of Three Twins ice cream. I don't think I exerted more effort than scooping prepared food onto my plate the whole vacation, so you can imagine what a luxury that was. And even on our epic 10-hour trip home yesterday (because, new parent lesson!, road trips get longer when … [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...]

Triple Berry Salad with Sautéed Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette


This year's CSA started Monday with a first week loaded with lettuce (baskets and baskets of lettuce!)... there was so much lettuce, in fact, that our farmers were giving it away, as much as you could take, whether or not you have the larger, family-sized share (we don't). It was hard for my frugal heart to take only two heads (even in addition to the kale, pokeweed, catnip, etc.), but it was easier when I unpacked our bags at home and tried to figure out how two of us would eat so many greens before they wilt. It almost goes without saying that we've been eating salads ever since. Salads with goat cheese and pesto, salads with a hodge podge of vegetables or fresh strawberries (from our other farmer!) and salads like this triple berry one we had tonight. At its heart, this is a simple combination, but the shallots and walnuts add a more complex, savory note that reminds me of Thanksgiving, and then the whole thing gets kicked up even further with the cayenne-honey oil/vinegar on … [Read more...]

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


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...]

Sautéed Mushrooms and Thyme Pine Nut Butter Sandwiches


The other day Tim and I walked out the side door of our house, the one in the kitchen beneath our upstairs neighbor's stairs, and I said to him how strange it was to step outside and see so much life around us. As he mentioned in the last post, late February around here has meant occasional warm days, with the grass beginning to grow, the birds chirping, the air fragrant, the skies blue; that's the sort of day that this was. I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail, no makeup on, wearing an outfit of yoga pants and Tim's crewneck gray sweatshirt that reminds of something 1980s dads would wear. We were going for a walk, telling ourselves to get some fresh air, to stretch our legs, to exit the house we'd been cocooned in for the last few days, mourning the very opposite of what these bright, new signs of life were signifying as we breathed them in. It's strange to be surrounded by signs of life when your body is bearing the signs of death, and the physical realities of an empty womb are … [Read more...]