Currently viewing the tag: "goat cheese"

warm lentil salad with cherries, pistachios, and goat cheese | the vanilla bean blog

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)

trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)

honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at this wedding)

never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for god likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)

[e.e. cummings, ninety-five poems]

warm lentil salad with cherries, pistachios, and goat cheese | the vanilla bean blog

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simple mushroom pâté | the vanilla bean blog

Fifteen years ago I never would have imagined I might one day be sitting on my couch, writing a blog post. It’s possible I hadn’t even heard the word ‘blog’ and if I had, I would have thought it belonged in the same kind of category as ‘moist’ and ‘curdle’ and ‘pâté’. Also, I would not be eating mushrooms and especially not mushrooms in a pâté. That would have set my naive taste buds over the edge. But, thankfully, there is always hope for one to change. About fifteen years ago I was attending a small party at a family friend’s house; a house where I had spent a good portion of my childhood eating meals, spending nights, and sharing secrets, and found myself confronted with just that: mushroom pâté. It was sitting there, right there in the center of the table, surrounded by fancy cheeses and breads, various dips and foods to dip in the dips; and even though I wasn’t sure what it was at first glance, I knew it was something to avoid. I actually felt terrified when my host told me about it, certain it involved some kind of meat tube like my Grandmother kept in her fridge. My friend’s mother sidled right up and knowing me well (she had, after all, put up with my picky eating at countless sleepovers), encouraged me to try it. But my ten-year-old self had emerged and I stubbornly shook my head. She went on to politely insist, so there at her get-together I tried to act one-and-twenty and swallow what I was most afraid of. Low and behold the pâté was delicious, and I went home with the recipe stuffed in my coat pocket and a door wide open to a new world of food.

So now here I am, blogging about mushroom pâté. Really, it’s amazing how much we evolve when we are willing to take some risks and approach things differently. I try to remember this at every big twist and turn, but find it most important (although hardest) in the simple moments, those small gatherings.
simple mushroom pâté | the vanilla bean blog
simple mushroom pâté | the vanilla bean blog
‘Love will creep where it cannot go, will accomplish that by imperceptible methods,- being its own lever, fulcrum, and power, – which force could never achieve. Have you not seen the woods, in a late autumn morning, a poor fungus or mushroom, – a plant without any solidity, nay, that seemed nothing but a soft mush or jelly,-by its constant, total, and inconceivably gentle pushing, manage to break its way up through the frosty ground and to actually lift a hard crust on its head? It is the symbol of power of kindness.’ -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Man the Reformer, A Lecture

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beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
This morning the sun is shinning bright; we bundle up and make our way out to a quiet spot. It is still cold here, but Spring is whispering: her voice in the steady drips from gutters and rooftops. My family walks in single file down a well-worn path of snow; it is barely white but we still hear a faint crunch as our boots tread it. The children talk quietly, pointing out fallen trees and cooing birds. I am walking slowly, last in line. My husband walks before me leaving slushy prints, and I spend a few moments trying to walk in them, feeling such accomplishment when my feet fit just right. My children call to me, worried I am too far behind. It’s okay, I answer back, I’m here. As the words leave me I am flooded with  images: faces of our dear ones who no longer have marks to leave in the snow. I feel a rush of panic white-wash me and find I am standing still, so far behind the others. But just then the wind rushes in, and the wind knows me. It slaps against me, so cold, and I am awake again. I look up as it makes its way to the trees; it pushes itself against them, and they bend towards me, they cover me. It is a moment to breathe, to hide, ground myself. Then it is gone. The sky is peering at me again, the sun is so bright, and I find myself squinting. I look down as my son comes to me, his tiny boots in the snow, his soft blue mitten in my hand. He doesn’t speak, but I hear him. The adventure is this way, and he leads me on.
beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog

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coconut cupcakes | the vanilla bean blog
So here it is! The new site! With cupcakes to celebrate! I am totally overwhelmed by it. Melissa and Erin have outdone themselves, and I’m so lucky to reap the rewards. I am totally in love with my new logo, and must admit when Melissa sent it over to be reviewed I got teary-eyed; it just was so perfect. And, the social media icons are easy to find! I have a search bar! You can follow me on email! I have a super rad recipe section! (And, as I’ve gone through each and every post this weekend, I remembered recipes I  had totally forgotten about, like olive oil ice cream, and creamy carrot orange soup, and beet cake with chocolate, and peach-sausage pizza.)

I really cannot rave enough about Wooden Spoons Kitchen. These ladies went above and beyond for me, answering every.single.question. with fast replies, tweaking things just how I wanted them quickly and happily, and creating a gorgeous site in record time. I highly highly recommend them.

So, now, take a look around! Let me know what you think. (I’m still tweaking some spacing issues on older posts, so just ignore giant paragraphs, and imagine breaks and indentation).  xo
coconut cupcakes | the vanilla bean blog
coconut cupcakes | the vanilla bean blog
coconut cupcakes | the vanilla bean blog
coconut cupcakes | the vanilla bean blog
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Pablo Neruda: Give us this day orange daylight, and every day, and may mankind’s heart, and its clusters of fruit, be both bitter and sweet: irrepressible source of freshness, may it hold and protect the earth’s mysterious simplicity, and the perfect oneness of an orange. [from Ode to The Orange]

Dahlia Ravikovich: An orange did love | The man who ate it, | To its flayer it brought | Flesh for the teeth. | An orange, consumed |  By the man who ate it,  Invaded his skin | To the flesh beneath.  [from The Love of an Orange]

Virginia Hamilton Adair: Your fingers pry the skin of a naval orange | Releasing tiny explosions of spicy oil… | Snows melt. The mountain silvers into many a stream. | The oranges are golden worlds in a dark dream.  [from Peeling an Orange]

Me: The orange is like a When I eat this salad it’s like Blood oranges! They are like the blahblahblah ugh! This is a tasty salad is it a salad or just a vegetables side? I don’t even know.  that I think you would like. You know how I like blood oranges! does anyone? I’m sort of obsessive. Is that annoying? I made this on a whim just be yourself, that’s right! and was so happy with the results. I think you’ll like it! you already said that. start over.

I’ve been trying to come up with words for a Valentine’s post, and while I believe in the goodness of candied hearts and long-stemmed roses, I don’t feel that my experience of life and love can be wrapped up in a roses-are-red monologue of sorts. Bittersweet is my word of choice these last few years: watching the day and night work things out together. They are fierce companions.
But I do celebrate. I am loved, and loved well. This heart has some broken and torn pieces, but we have learned to mend, and protect the delicate. We have watched the sun cast shadows, and we have walked through them, hand in hand.
‘In this terrible ocean, in this terrible sea, we are pearls.’
– Lee Bozeman

goat cheese pasta
I  used  to be afraid of goat cheese. I also was afraid of a lot of things: cream cheese, sour cream, thick yogurt, buttermilk, runny eggs… those kinds of things. I don’t know why I tried this recipe the first time. It was in a magazine; I clipped it out and bought all the ingredients. Maybe goat cheese felt hip. I used to want to be hip.

Whatever the reason, I made it and we ate it and then I thought about it for days. I was pregnant at the time, and I might have made it several times that week. And the next week. [A] didn’t complain when it showed up for dinner and in his lunch again and again. This quickly became a family favorite. In fact, it’s our Monday night dinner. Tangy goat cheese, fresh herbs, sauteed ramps, a splash of white wine – it’s a perfect dinner: summer, winter, spring and fall.
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