Early Girl Tomato Tart in Spelt Crust

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Hey guys, this is a quick dispatch from Austin, Texas, where Tim and I are holed up for the week. We flew here on my birthday Monday and picked up groceries from one of the five Whole Foods Markets in town (we are in the WF motherland here) before checking into our rental. These Early Girl tomatoes won me over from the first moment I spotted them in the produce section. Known for being some of the first to ripen each season (hence their name), Early Girls are also some of the last tomato plants to stop ripening at the end of summer. Perfectly round, red and meaty inside, I felt like they were just begging to be placed in a rustic tart, so after we bought some spelt flour from the bulk bins, butter from the dairy case and small bags of mineral salt and thyme from the herb bulk bins, we were in business. We made this tart for a vacation dinner last night, and it was too good to wait to share. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:74] … [Read more...]

Sautéed Mushrooms and Thyme Pine Nut Butter Sandwiches

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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...]

Velvet Carrot Soup with Amaretti Crumble

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“i said to my soul be still and wait so the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing.” t. s. eliot Winter has always seemed to me to be a season of waiting. Maybe that's why I've struggled to like it. All season long, we wait for the days to lengthen again, the sun to shine again, the weather to warm again. We don our heavy coats and rugged boots and trudge through gray days and cold houses and cracking skin. We remember the fresh fruit of summer farmer's markets and the warm light of balmy months, but we remember it faintly, in shadows, the way I imagine this world will someday be remembered when we are long from it, too. And then, just when it seems we will never see sunshine again, we will never put away our coats again, we will never go for long walks just to soak up the sky, Nashville goes and pulls a stunning Sunday like yesterday and gives weather forecasts in the 50s and 60s this week. It's striking how much and how often my soul yearns for … [Read more...]

Roasted Carrot Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter

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"Choose love not in the shallows but in the deeps." Christina Rossetti It's Valentine's week and people are talking about love, and I already brought you two sets of hearts, so I better talk about the thoughts behind them if I'm ever going to. I've been thinking so much lately about the difference between lives looked at from far away and lives looked at up close. I don't know why this is hitting me now and not when I was 15 like it probably hits some people, but now that I've seen it, I'm seeing it everywhere. It's the difference between watching someone on TV and sitting with someone for coffee, between listening to a speaker at a conference and listening to a friend in your living room, between giving someone a run-down of your day and giving someone a run-down of your heart. Things look different from far away than they look up close. Loving from a distance, in the shallows, is usually easier, as there's less risk involved and more control. You can craft a pretty image when … [Read more...]

Mushroom, Leek, and Red Pepper Chicken Soup + Feed South Africa

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When we were kids, lunch was brown paper bags, maybe sometimes pizza from the concession stand. I loved lunch. By the time I was 13, I was packing my own, and it usually consisted of a sandwich (peanut butter and jelly or turkey), chips or crackers, yogurt, and dessert. Lunch was a bright spot in a day filled with classwork and school drama, and things always looked a little better after I’d had a granola bar and some chocolate (an argument for early-onset personalities, if ever there were one). Later, in college, I ate in the dining hall; as an adult, with a 9-5 job, I usually packed something or talked a coworker into going out. But, even now, as a freelancer who pulls leftovers like this crazy comforting, highly nourishing soup from the fridge most afternoons, I’ve never had to wonder where lunch was coming from, and lunch has never been the only meal I had access to all day long. That’s one of the many ways my geography and culture have blessed me---and it’s one of the many ways my … [Read more...]

Red Fruit Einkorn Hand Pies

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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. … [Read more...]

Sweet Potato and Tatsoi Soup

It’s hard to think that while this past Friday, November 2, was a day we’ll remember as the announcement of our little book, for many others, it's part of the painful weeks of hurricane disaster recovery and rebuilding. This is always happening in life: pain and sorrow hand in hand, celebration smashed up against heartache, joy against grief. Today, while I bring you sweet potato soup, for example, there’s someone else who doesn’t have a stove, or food, to cook with. While I nursed a cold this weekend, feeling pretty glum, someone else ran a marathon, feeling high on life. My friend's baby girl was born two weeks before her grandma died. Even as I post these thoughts, on America’s Election Day, many of you have polls and campaigns on your minds, while, simultaneously, others of you don’t. The world is big. We're all dwelling in our own small worlds, inside this larger one, and we know it's this way. It's a hard thing to wrap your mind around, the enormity of so many people … [Read more...]