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Many apologies for sparse updates. Working and reading (which are the same thing, these days) and just generally being in New York City have left me with little time or energy to cook. Or at least, to cook interesting things.

But! It’s the Fourth of July, tra la, and I’m home for a bit. So instead of making something mundane and expected for breakfast, I made…oatmeal. Which, okay, is kind of mundane and very expected of me. But this is baked oatmeal, which means it’s delicious enough to be almost like a coffee cake, but healthy enough that you can eat a quarter of the pan.

The recipe included melted butter, which means that I used browned butter. If you’ve never browned butter before, it basically just means cooking it in a saucepan until it gets all toasty and chestnut-colored and gets this wonderful caramelized flavor to it. You will not regret the extra time it takes. Besides, your oven takes a while to preheat. I know.

Blueberries are great because, well, they taste awesome when baked, but you could use any fruit you feel like, really. Bananas would be tasty, as would raspberries or (if you’re not me) some toasted walnuts or almonds. Go crazy! It’s breakfast!

Brown Butter Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Joy the Baker
serves 4
 

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Splash vanilla extract
  • Roughly 1/2 cup of blueberries, or to taste

Preheat your oven to 350º and butter your choice of 8x8, 9x9, or pie tin. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook it, watching carefully to prevent burning, until it is a mahogany color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold in using a rubber spatula. Mix in blueberries gently and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until oatmeal no longer jiggles and smells wonderful. Serve with more berries, milk, and/or yogurt.

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Sometimes you just gotta make pancakes. Even when it’s 90 degrees outside at 8:30 AM.

Okay, so perhaps I’m crazy. But I’m about to leave for summer, there’s nothing but ingredients in the apartment, and we had buttermilk and bananas. So…this happened. I was winging it on the recipe a little, and they ended up needing almost twice as much liquid as I anticipated, but I blame the fact that I halved a recipe without halving the egg (because how do you halve an egg?) and added flax seed, which soaks up a good deal of liquid and gets jelly-y.

But yes, even on hot days, banana pancakes are what you want. The bananas get all melty and caramelized and almost marshmallow-y in texture, and the pancake-y part isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Way better than that boring old yogurt-and-granola nonsense. 

Banana Pancakes for Two
serves…duh

  • 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 banana, sliced medium-thin

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat egg, buttermilk, and oil together in a separate bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until just combined and no dry streaks remain (lumpy batter = fluffy pancakes. Trust me!).

When griddle/skillet is hot, add a touch of oil or butter to prevent sticking and dollop batter on in 1/4 cup doses (pancakes will be a bit thicker than regular pancakes). Press banana slices into the top. Cook until golden brown on the underside and bubbles have appeared on top, 2-4 minutes. Flip and cook until brown on both sides and cooked through. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a day and can be frozen for longer.

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Let me describe to you my morning yesterday: I sat on my sunroom couch, surrounded by the oh-God-finally-Spring sunshine, and ate a scone with my coffee and yogurt. Way more Martha Stewart than I actually am. My hair was dripping wet, my coffee was way too watery, and I was already sticky from the humidity.

But the scone! My roommates’ cupcake-making frenzy of last Friday had left us with practically a cow’s worth of heavy cream, and the only thing I could think of was breakfast pastries. Since a load of sugar first thing in the morning will put me right back to sleep (even with coffee) I decided to go the savory route. Which means cheese.

Cheese scones are great. If you’ve never had one, you’re missing out. A sharp cheddar combined with some chopped scallions is a flavor pairing that’s well-suited to a muffin or a biscuit, so I figured a scone would be the next logical step. I used whole-wheat flour because, well, I am a hippie, and I used flaxseed and water instead of an egg (but only because I was saving an egg for a future lunch, and they came out a bit crumbly as a result. You, I think, should opt for the egg).

The best part is the convenience factor. Put them on a baking sheet, freeze them until they’re hard, and zip ‘em up in a baggie for frozen storage. Every morning, I can now get up, preheat the toaster oven, and have a warm and melty scone 25 minutes later, without making my kitchen swelter. Eat your heart out, Martha.

Cheese and Scallion Scones
makes 6 big or 8 medium scones
adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

  • 2 cups whole wheat or AP flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, cubed and cold
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 lb. sharp cheddar, cubed or grated
  • 1 bunch scallions, rinsed and chopped

Preheat oven to 400º (unless freezing for later). Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until it resembles a very coarse meal and the butter chunks are about the size of a pea. 

In a separate bowl, whip the eggs together and add the cream. Fold into the dry mixture until almost incorporated, then add the cheese and scallions. Mix until everything comes together and no dry streaks remain (you may need to add a splash more cream if working with whole wheat flour; it’s dryer by nature).

Dump the dough onto a floured counter and pat it into a circle. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges, and bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 25 minutes or until just lightly browned. If you’re flash-freezing, arrange scones on an unlined, ungreased sheet, and freeze until solid and no longer sticky, about an hour. Store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before baking, then bake as above.

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Having visitors is wonderful. Company, in general, is wonderful, and when your best friend finally comes to see you in your college domain after three years AND becoming a carnivore, it makes you want to cook up a storm.
But more on meat later. Breakfast comes first, as always. Making food for one day after day gets lonesome and dull pretty fast, and there’s nothing like another mouth to feed to inspire you to wake up early and make banana-infused baked goods on a weekend morning. Besides, Shannon and I are both inordinately fond of our morning routines (though she’s a little fonder of copious amounts of coffee than I am), and nobody doesn’t like banana bread (except for certain people who shall not be named). Unfortunately, I lacked the foresight to replenish my supply of whole wheat flour before her visit, and being loath to use boring old AP, I swapped in some spelt flour I had left over from an impulse bulk-bin purchase on one of my precious few Whole Foods trips.The resulting bread is crumbly (as spelt tends to be) and yeah, kind of healthy. But the advantage of using overripe bananas is that they make everything moist and sweet and so you end up not minding so much. The recipe is adapted from my go-to banana muffin recipe, which I stole at some point from Mark Bittman’s website (I think), but I really use it as more of a template than anything else. It’s magnet-ed to my fridge for any time I feel like making something special but not so sugary that I go into a coma after eating it. I know baking is where you aren’t supposed to get too creative, lest things go terribly awry chemically, but this bread came out tasty and gave us some much needed sustenance for two mornings and one late-night snack. Make it when you have friends in town and make sure there’s lots of coffee.
Crumbly Spelt Banana Breadmakes 1 loaf 
1 cup spelt (or whole wheat) flour
1 cup wheat bran
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 very ripe mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/4-1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey or molassesPreheat oven to 375º. Grease a loaf pan (or, really, muffin tins. This is, after all, adapted from a muffin recipe). Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together wet ingredients, using just 1/4 cup of the milk to start. Fold the wet into the dry; if it looks too dry still, add remaining milk as needed. Pour batter into loaf pan, bake for about 40-45 minutes for loaf or 20 minutes for muffins, until long thing object stuck into the middle comes out clean.

Having visitors is wonderful. Company, in general, is wonderful, and when your best friend finally comes to see you in your college domain after three years AND becoming a carnivore, it makes you want to cook up a storm.

But more on meat later. Breakfast comes first, as always. Making food for one day after day gets lonesome and dull pretty fast, and there’s nothing like another mouth to feed to inspire you to wake up early and make banana-infused baked goods on a weekend morning. Besides, Shannon and I are both inordinately fond of our morning routines (though she’s a little fonder of copious amounts of coffee than I am), and nobody doesn’t like banana bread (except for certain people who shall not be named). Unfortunately, I lacked the foresight to replenish my supply of whole wheat flour before her visit, and being loath to use boring old AP, I swapped in some spelt flour I had left over from an impulse bulk-bin purchase on one of my precious few Whole Foods trips.

The resulting bread is crumbly (as spelt tends to be) and yeah, kind of healthy. But the advantage of using overripe bananas is that they make everything moist and sweet and so you end up not minding so much. The recipe is adapted from my go-to banana muffin recipe, which I stole at some point from Mark Bittman’s website (I think), but I really use it as more of a template than anything else. It’s magnet-ed to my fridge for any time I feel like making something special but not so sugary that I go into a coma after eating it. I know baking is where you aren’t supposed to get too creative, lest things go terribly awry chemically, but this bread came out tasty and gave us some much needed sustenance for two mornings and one late-night snack. Make it when you have friends in town and make sure there’s lots of coffee.

Crumbly Spelt Banana Bread
makes 1 loaf 

  • 1 cup spelt (or whole wheat) flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4-1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey or molasses

    Preheat oven to 375º. Grease a loaf pan (or, really, muffin tins. This is, after all, adapted from a muffin recipe). Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together wet ingredients, using just 1/4 cup of the milk to start. Fold the wet into the dry; if it looks too dry still, add remaining milk as needed. Pour batter into loaf pan, bake for about 40-45 minutes for loaf or 20 minutes for muffins, until long thing object stuck into the middle comes out clean.
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It’s mid almost late May and still cold and rainy. It’s also totally unfair. This past Sunday I couldn’t even be bothered to leave my apartment, and spent long hours on my sunroom porch playing The Sims 2 and wishing for sunshine.
The upside (is there one?) is that my normal breakfast of oatmeal fits right in. Eating hot oatmeal on a warm day (with a cup of hot caffeinated whatever) can make you break a sweat, and no one likes you rolling in to class or work with perspiration dotting your brow. But I digress! The point is, a bowl of oats with fruit (and flaxseed if you’re a crazy hippie like yours truly) is a great breakfast. And it’s healthy! Nutritionists love yelling at people to eat oats. So there.
Since this kind of weather makes you want to stay in bed as long as possible, I recommend making steel-cut oats using the super-secret overnight method. Steel-cut oats look like little bitty brown grains, because they’re chopped up with, surprise, steel instead of being squashed out with steam like your standard Quaker flakes. They take longer to cook, but if you make a big batch this way you can stick ‘em in the fridge and reheat them all week. Delicious! And enough to sustain you until the goddamn weather gets better!
Overnight Steel-Cut Oatsserves 4
1 cup steel-cut oats (buy them in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and they’re super-cheap!)
1 tbsp butter
3 cups waterStart this the night before you want your oats, unless you’re some kind of nighttime breakfast weirdo. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oats, and stir so that they are all fully coated. Toast for about 3 minutes, or until they smell nutty but not burnt (NB. if you’re allergic to nuts, like me, don’t panic! They only smell nutty!) Add the 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover, and back away slowly. Go to sleep. The next morning, wake up, turn the heat on to medium, and heat ‘til warmed through. Add in whatever fancy toppings you like (cinnamon and vanilla extract are awesome, as is a splash of milk) and scoop yourself out a bowl. The leftovers will keep (and reheat nicely) for about a week.

It’s mid almost late May and still cold and rainy. It’s also totally unfair. This past Sunday I couldn’t even be bothered to leave my apartment, and spent long hours on my sunroom porch playing The Sims 2 and wishing for sunshine.

The upside (is there one?) is that my normal breakfast of oatmeal fits right in. Eating hot oatmeal on a warm day (with a cup of hot caffeinated whatever) can make you break a sweat, and no one likes you rolling in to class or work with perspiration dotting your brow. But I digress! The point is, a bowl of oats with fruit (and flaxseed if you’re a crazy hippie like yours truly) is a great breakfast. And it’s healthy! Nutritionists love yelling at people to eat oats. So there.

Since this kind of weather makes you want to stay in bed as long as possible, I recommend making steel-cut oats using the super-secret overnight method. Steel-cut oats look like little bitty brown grains, because they’re chopped up with, surprise, steel instead of being squashed out with steam like your standard Quaker flakes. They take longer to cook, but if you make a big batch this way you can stick ‘em in the fridge and reheat them all week. Delicious! And enough to sustain you until the goddamn weather gets better!

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats
serves 4

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats (buy them in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and they’re super-cheap!)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups water

    Start this the night before you want your oats, unless you’re some kind of nighttime breakfast weirdo. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oats, and stir so that they are all fully coated. Toast for about 3 minutes, or until they smell nutty but not burnt (NB. if you’re allergic to nuts, like me, don’t panic! They only smell nutty!) Add the 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover, and back away slowly. Go to sleep. The next morning, wake up, turn the heat on to medium, and heat ‘til warmed through. Add in whatever fancy toppings you like (cinnamon and vanilla extract are awesome, as is a splash of milk) and scoop yourself out a bowl. The leftovers will keep (and reheat nicely) for about a week.
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Let’s start with breakfast.
Makes enough sense, right? And I do love breakfast. The moment I knew I wasn’t adopted was when my dad once told me he goes to sleep thinking about what he can have for breakfast the next day. I’m the same. If it comes down to being late for class or eating something first, I will always be the one sliding into the lecture hall 15 minutes after the lecture starts with a travel mug in my hand.
My dad likes cereal in the mornings, and I do too, but boxes get expensive and sometimes I just want vegetables. Besides, in the never-ending Quest for More Protein, you could do worse than eggs. I eat two because one is hardly enough, and when I cozy them up on a bed of sauteed spinach and cornmeal mush, it’s a fairly warm and savory start to an unfairly cold May morning.
Eggs in a Bowlserves 1
Prepare a bowl of cormeal mush/polenta, grits, or even oatmeal if you’re feeling adventurous. While it cooks, heat 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil or butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté a good handful of spinach until it wilts. Push the spinach to one side and crack in two eggs, cooking until the whites are set. Grate a bit of parmesan into the cereal, then transfer to a bowl and top with spinach and eggs. Eat it with a spoon, I dare you!

Let’s start with breakfast.

Makes enough sense, right? And I do love breakfast. The moment I knew I wasn’t adopted was when my dad once told me he goes to sleep thinking about what he can have for breakfast the next day. I’m the same. If it comes down to being late for class or eating something first, I will always be the one sliding into the lecture hall 15 minutes after the lecture starts with a travel mug in my hand.

My dad likes cereal in the mornings, and I do too, but boxes get expensive and sometimes I just want vegetables. Besides, in the never-ending Quest for More Protein, you could do worse than eggs. I eat two because one is hardly enough, and when I cozy them up on a bed of sauteed spinach and cornmeal mush, it’s a fairly warm and savory start to an unfairly cold May morning.

Eggs in a Bowl
serves 1

Prepare a bowl of cormeal mush/polenta, grits, or even oatmeal if you’re feeling adventurous. While it cooks, heat 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil or butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté a good handful of spinach until it wilts. Push the spinach to one side and crack in two eggs, cooking until the whites are set. Grate a bit of parmesan into the cereal, then transfer to a bowl and top with spinach and eggs. Eat it with a spoon, I dare you!