Tabbouleh + Chicken with Garlic Parsley Marinade

Tabbouleh with Marinated Chicken Breast

I didn’t grow up in the kind of family with heirlooms. Our “good dishes” were a scalloped-edged Pfaltzgraff with a finish easily marred by butter knives. My mom’s modest collection of jewelry contained mostly the costume variety—sparkling, perhaps, but of no special value. We inherited no military relics or quilts sewn by great-great-grandmothers or brooches that crossed an ocean. But when the time comes (hopefully many decades from now) to divide my mother’s belongings, I will fight tooth and nail for one thing: her green plastic colander. Continue reading

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Black-eyed Pea and Bacon Hash

Black eyed peas and bacon hash

Nothing makes me more optimistic than the first page of a new journal. The world shimmers with promise and wonder as I survey the tidy lines, mustering a sentence worthy of the white space. My handwriting that first entry is notably neat, the prose aiming for profundity (though frequently missing). I’ve amassed dozens of first journal entries since I began writing them at age eight. Unfortunately my perfectionism predates my passion for writing; I saw anything but daily journaling a failure and often ripped out a month’s worth of entries because I skipped a single day.

I’ve matured a bit since my journal-purging years. I can even return to a blog after 33 post-less days and refrain from deleting the entire site. Continue reading

Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

After a few false starts, fall has finally settled here in north Texas—and nowhere is this more evident than the bowls of produce on my kitchen counter. My tableau of stoplight tomatoes and blushing peaches has given way to the jeweled tones and dappled textures of autumn: leathery potatoes, emerald apples, freckled pears, garnet grapes. Standing in my kitchen, surveying my farmers market bounty, I understand why artists have been known to break out their oil paints in the presence of such exquisite, accessible beauty. Continue reading