Baked oatmeal and BAMF salmon

Long overdue, but hello! I hosted a pajama brunch + egg coloring on Easter Sunday and it was delightful. Just a few friends lounging around (almost all in pjs and one in a onesie!) until way too late (I changed out of pajamas at 7:42pm that evening, and only because I was meeting a friend for dinner). The tastiest bit, and recipe following:

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, also featured in Whole Living, May 2011

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds or walnut pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1 1/2 cups berries
maple syrup, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil 8-inch square baking dish.

Mix oats, half the nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients–milk, egg, half the oil, and vanilla.

Arrange bananas in single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter one cup of berries, then cover with dry (oat) mixture. Slowly pour wet (milk) mixture over oats. Gently tip dish side to side/tap against work surface to distribute liquid. Top with remaining berries and nuts.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is nicely golden. Let cool slightly. Drizzle with remaining oil and maple syrup.

Now. This past week was one of my best cooking weeks EVER. Scott, a very good friend from my time in Beijing, impromptu visited, and the Kitchen God smiled upon us. The crowning jewel:

Maple-cardamom glazed salmon. No changes made, and it was perfection. I’m calling it BAMF Salmon, because it was the last thing to go into the oven before it (the oven) died. Scott’s response: “So you’re saying that salmon was so badass it killed your oven? Sounds about right.”

For the record, served with roasted asparagus, When Pigs Fly seeded whole grain, goat cheese, and homemade Berryline (!!!) with raspberries and Sheinola for dessert. The next morning: eggs in purgatory on toast with steamed spinach and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough balls (remember, oven is broken!). Worthy of a nearly 8 year reunion, if I may say so myself.

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Arugula smoothies and quinoa pancakes

Yes, it’s so “Sheila” to gravitate towards putting arugula in my smoothies and quinoa in my pancakes, but it worked!

Arugula, pear, walnut, and ginger smoothie
adapted from the NYT

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1/2 large or 1 small orange)
1 large handful arugula
1/2 ripe pear
1 small handful walnuts
1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
3 ice cubes


Now, for this next recipe. Believe it or not, first time making pancakes! I generally don’t really like them, and have decided that I’m okay with leaving the responsibility to someone else. But, I was intrigued by this NYT recipe, and used the excuse of Sasha visiting to attempt a chocolate chip and banana version tonight. Definitely not pretty (my fault for not knowing how to properly temper a cast iron skillet), but they were nicely fluffy and tasted great. We halved the original recipe, which was definitely a good call (we ended up with 12 or so small pancakes, which was more than enough). Sadly one of the uglier photos to grace this blog:

Quinoa pancakes
adapted from the NYT

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 to 1 cup of add-ins (banana slices, chocolate chips, berries, etc.)

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt). In another bowl, beat egg. Whisk in remaining wet ingredients (yogurt, vanilla, oil). Mix dry and wet ingredients. Fold in quinoa and add-ins.

Heat cast iron skillet (or griddle) over medium heat. Brush with oil.  Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto skillet. Cook until bubbles begin to break (3-4 minutes), then flip and cook until nicely browned. Remove from heat. Continue with remaining batter.

Serve hot with agave, maple syrup, and/or almond butter.

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Thai-inspired soba noodle bowl

Had Kaitlin over for leap day dinner, and we made a dish I’d been wanting to try for a long while!

Thai-inspired soba noodle bowl
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

1 package extra firm tofu
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 habanero or 2 Thai chilis, seeds removed and diced fine*
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, outer layers removed, roughly chopped**
4 cloves garlic
1 shallot
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups coconut milk (1 can)
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons almond butter
zest and juice of one lime
salt and pepper
2 cups shiitake mushrooms (I rehydrated dried ones)
1 package soba noodles (around 9 ounces)

1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 carrot, grated
fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

*this was Sheila-spicy, so if you’re normal, might want to dial it back to half a habanero.
**fresh stalks are quite firm.

Press the tofu (sandwich tofu in between chopping boards/plates with heavy books on top, or get an awesome tofu press, aka “tofu torture device”). Preheat oven to 400F. Cut tofu into six blocks, spread them on a roasting pan, drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until edges are browned.

In a food processor, combine the chiles, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, ginger, and 1/4 cup water. Puree until smooth.

In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add lemongrass puree and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Stir in coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, almond butter, lime zest, and a cup of water. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, cook the soba noodles (4 minutes in boiling water should do it), and steam the kale.

Add mushrooms and lime juice to sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for a few minutes, then mix noodles and sauce. Assemble the noodle bowls: kale, noodles, tofu, carrots, cilantro.

Massive props to Dani for suggesting the addition of kale and carrots, saving us from a big bowl of brown. Also, coconut water was a perfect accompaniment ūüôā

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Warm lentil salad with goat cheese

I’ve made the original NYT version of this a couple of times, and adjusted a bit today to incorporate some of an opened bottle of white from Valentine’s Day. Came out great!

Warm lentil salad with goat cheese
adapted from The NYT

1 pound black or French lentils
1 medium onion, halved and peeled
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
handful of arugula or parsley, minced
4 ounces goat cheese, cut into half moons

For the dressing:
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cooking liquid from lentils
salt and pepper to taste

Put the lentils, onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf in a large pot. Add enough water to cover lentils by 1.5 inches. Bring to a boil, add salt, then let simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender by intact. Drain lentils. Discard onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Return cooking liquid to pot and bring to a boil, reducing to 1/4 cup. Place lentils in a baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss with lentils. Mix in arugula and top with goat cheese. Heat through for 15 minutes, then serve.

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My latest favorite. The original recipe says it serves two, so I portion half of it away for later…but then I just end up eating it after I finish the first bowl. Somehow, this combination just works.

adapted from food52

1/2 cup steel-cut oats
2 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon sweet white miso paste
2 teaspoons honey
1 handful walnut halves and pieces

Bring oats and water to a boil in a small pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Once the mixture has cooled a bit, spoon 1/4 cup of oats into a small bowl. Mix in miso to bowl. Integrate mixture back into pot. Leave overnight.

In the morning, re-heat the misoatmeal, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired consistency (I like my oats quite thick, so this takes 20 or so minutes for me).  Incorporate walnuts and honey, and serve.

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Braised fennel with Meyer lemon

My piano teacher said this was her all-time favorite fennel recipe, and it’s now mine too! I ¬†ended up not having syrupy sauce (okay, I wasn’t paying attention and burned it…twice), and used sheep’s milk gouda to accompany the fennel. Still delicious.

Braised fennel with Meyer lemon
adapted from The NYT 

2 fennel bulbs, chopped in 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon fennel fronds
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
grated rind and juice of one Meyer lemon
sliced gouda

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, arrange fennel in a single layer and cook, until browned (~3 minutes). Flip over and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining fennel (add more oil to the pan if needed). Season with salt and pepper.

Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add broth, lemon rind, juice, and fennel. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, until tender (~10 minutes).

Transfer fennel to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Mix in fronds and top with cheese.

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Dinner party success

Briefly rewinding, so I can document this meal!

When home for Thanksgiving, I had promised a family friend (who is an amazing chef, we’ve done many Thanksgiving dinners at her house) that I’d have her over for dinner. She came over in early January, and I made seven things (with some additional dessert, we served 8 things total). I was nervous, but things came out well.

Many thanks to my mom for helping me hand grate two butternut squash, and to said family friend for arriving early and helping prep, essentially completely making the salad :). Photos and, as available, links to recipes follow…

Prep photo: pretty potatoes!

Porcini mushroom soup

Grapefruit, avocado, and pomegranate seed salad (from Eating Well magazine)

Harvest tart, minus olives (duh), plus goat cheese. I’ve been wanting to make this since it was published earlier this fall!

Lentils and carrots with mint¬†(I wouldn’t have tried this if it wasn’t for a recommendation by a well-trusted source. Unexpectedly delightful!)

Garlicky greens (nbd, and an ugly photo, but always tasty and so good for you)

Brown rice pudding, seasoned with saffron and cardamom (mostly inactive, actually very reminiscent of biko!)

And of course, my pumpkin pie (set properly this time!)

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