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sarah kieffer

sarah kieffer

sarah kieffer

sarah kieffer
A few weeks ago I got a wonderful package in the mail: dishes and other table accessories from Canvas Home. They kindly sent me some pieces for a Mother’s Day Brunch I was having at my house, and I honestly swooned upon opening the package. I picked dishes from the Abbesses collection (with the gold trim), and am happy to report they are not only beautiful, but so well made.

They made the table lovely, and our small gathering (my mom, sister, sister-in-law to be, and daughter) had a great time together. I made a few dishes from two cookbooks I’ve received recently: Love & Lemons Cookbook and SaraBeth’s Good Morning Cookbook. Both are new favorites, and I’m enjoying everything I’ve made from them so far.

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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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I often find myself flitting between two seasons. I do happen to live in a State that seems to only bring winter and summer, with more of the first. There is no mild weather here; we are freezing cold to blazing hot, with only a handful of perfect days in between (those days where the warm, breezy afternoons make their way into a cool, breezy evenings…) But here and now it is mostly cold, always cold. I find myself feeling the same inside. There times where my head and heart are racing with words and ideas and it’s all I can do to keep up with them, but mostly I feel snowed in. The words are there but buried, and I can’t dig them up and place them in sentences.

But there has been a small break through, one word jotted down on the corner of some crumbled paper on my desk: core. My heart has been beating it through me all week, over and over; it courses along with my blood: core. Here, buried in snow, waiting for spring; here, where unending white blankets bring silence to all streets; here and now is the time to focus on the core.

The core of me: of my mind, my soul, my body.

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.

INVITATION
If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!
*

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nutty wild rice salad | the vanilla bean blog
There was just a storm here, here in my house. My daughter’s loud refusals to listen blew in so unexpected, like high winds sweeping through me, like booming thunder knocking me down. Then her tears came like a flood, drowning us in salty rain, and we were quickly sinking. So I became the lightening, my temper flashing through the house, lighting everything up only to cut the power, only to make it all go dark. We braced ourselves, sure of a tornado.

But it didn’t come. I took a deep breath, searching for a tiny glimmer of blue sky, and it found us. I held my girl close, so close, wiping the water from her cheeks, whispering to her, reminding her of my love, reminding her of my imperfections. We looked around to survey the damage; there was some large branches on the ground and our patio umbrella blew away, but we were fine, we had each other. We sang quietly together, a song with so many meanings to me: you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. I left her in her room, to recollect, to rest, and made my way to the kitchen: there was my lunch still untouched on the table. Green and brown, brown and green; the colors in my salad calmed me, held me captive in their quiet hue. I ate the colors eagerly, letting them soothe the memory of the storm and help me find some inner peace.

Oh, sweet daughter, we are only just beginning, you and I. Even in the darkest of nights you are a bright star to me. {you’ll never know how much I love you. please don’t take my sunshine away}
nutty wild rice salad | the vanilla bean blog
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Hello. Just popping in to bring you a simple salad, a humble lunch. Winter fruit and spring greens join hands and walk together, merging seasons in my mind and belly. My heart longs for spring, but there is still beauty in white-washed horizons and tree branches glistening with snow.
‘In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’ – Albert Camus

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Salad. I never cared for salad growing up, but I also never had fresh lettuce straight from the garden. It always came triple washed in plastic bags, with hard shredded carrots and a sprinkling of croutons.

Now, In the summer, we can’t get enough of it – all that delicious, beautiful lettuce, spinach and mixed greens gracing every grocery store and farmer’s market. We had several heads of lettuce in our CSA box this week, and I decided to get creative.

I am in love with this combination – peaches, caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. A little sugar sweetens things nicely, and the warm fruit pairs so well with the lettuce. Ah, summertime. I love tasting the earth in those green leaves, the sky and wind in those fuzzy peaches.

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