Category Archives: grains

bulgur and tomato salad

Here is a simple, quick salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This salad straddles the seasons, using the last of the ripe tomatoes before the fall sets in completely and some of the first sweet fall carrots. Bulgur or cracked wheat is perfect for a quick supper because it only needs to be rehydrated with some boiling water. In addition to eating it plain, I stuffed this mixture inside of swiss chard leaves and baked it for 20 minutes under a blanket of smoked mozzarella. As always, you can easily swap out or omit whatever the vegetables, cheese, or herbs, but I like to always include the golden raisins and a couple of handfuls of freshly chopped parsley and basil.

Bulgur and Tomato Salad

adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

1 cup of dried bulgur

2 cup boiling water

1 large sweet onion, diced fine

3-4 small carrots, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 chile pepper, minced

3 tomatoes, diced and peeled, if you chose

1 lemon

herbs: big handful of parsley or basil. Other good choices (in smaller amounts) include mint or oregano

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants

cheese of your choice. I used a light grating of smoked mozzarella, but crumbled feta would be very tasty. Or use diced avocado for vegans.


Rehydrate the bulgur by pouring the boiling water over the dry bulgur. Cover and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium high with a bit of olive oil and start to saute the onion and carrot. When soft, add the garlic and chile pepper and saute for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the juices start to bubble. Pull off the heat and add the zest and juice from the lemon. Stir in the herbs and raisins or currants. Let the mixture cool for a bit and then add the cheese or avocado, if using. Season to taste and enjoy.


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Filed under from the pantry, grains, quick, tomato, vegetables

strawberry oat bars

somehow it is now the beginning of may, the end of architecture school(!), and the middle of strawberry season. i made these over charrette week for some studio mates in need of some quick energy but wanted something a little more wholesome. these bars reminded everyone of granola, but in a good way. i made some quick strawberry-cranberry jam-like filling for these (based on the ingredients i had on hand) but i imagine that the fruit filling can change based on the season. an all cranberry and orange version would be a welcome change from all of the usual holiday cookies. a blackberry with lime filled cookie with good vanilla ice cream could be a great ending for a july evening supper. the original version of these bars come from the ever popular Baked cookbook and were titles “raspberry breakfast bars.” not sure if these would make a the most healthy breakfast, but they do contain fruit and oatmeal, at least.

thinking about berries always reminds me of those pacific northwest summers and buying half flats of delicious mixed berries (boysenberries, marionberries, and loganberries, oh my!) from my favorite farmers market stand and eating them while sitting on the curb until my fingers are stained bright purple. while i can’t wait to move and settle in seattle, houston will always hold a place in my heart. a tribute to the city of live oaks, expansive freeways, and all the tex-mex, viet, and indian food  you could want coming soon.

ps- these would be easy to make vegan by swapping out the butter for either earth balance or coconut oil.

strawberry oat bars

adapted from the baked cookbook, via smitten kitchen with some influences from oh she glows

crust and topping:

1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)

1 1/2 c oatmeal (old fashion rolled oats or quick oats)

1/2 c sucanant or dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

light grating of nutmeg

1/4 c maple syrup (grade b if you can find it)

1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter, chilled and cubed

fruit filling

1 pound strawberries, hulled if fresh. i used frozen strawberries and they worked well.(i also used a handful of frozen cranberries because i was sort on strawberries)

3 tbsp to 1/4 c brown sugar, depending on sweetness of berries

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

1 tbsp of cornstarch or arrowroot starch

preheat the oven to 350. grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

for the crust and topping:

combine flour, oatmeal, sucanant or brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. cut in the cold butter until loose crumbs form. stir in the maple syrup.* i may have also stirred in a tiny splash of milk at this stage also, but dont quite remember. if the dough looks too dry, add it. if not ignore this.

reserve about 1.5 cups of this mixture. press the rest of it into the greased pan. bake about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

meanwhile, make the filling:

in a small saucepan, heat together the berries, zest, and sugar. cook until the berries begin to break down. stir together the cornstarch or arrowroot starch and the lemon juice and stir it into the berry mixture. bring to a boil and stir until thick. remov from heat and cool. you could also stir in a tbsp of butter here if you want a richer filling.

once the crust is baked, pour on the filling. sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle with some sesame seeds or crushed nuts, if desired. bake 35-40 minutes, rotating every 15 minutes until the filling is bubbly on the edges. cool and slice into bars.

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Filed under fruit, grains, sweets, Uncategorized

my morning oats

if you come over for breakfast, most days (like 5/7) i will be stirring a pot of oatmeal.  i would much rather have a huge breakfast and smaller lunches and dinners and i find that oatmeal really holds me over until lunch.  for breakfasts i will usually be craving something hot, sweet, and creamy which is just the way these oats turn out.  obviously there are infinite ways to top, mix, and swirl into a plain bowl of oatmeal, the bowl here is something that i make typically every morning.  i can’t think of anything more delicious or nutritious!  if i go more than 3 days without my morning oats, i have a serious craving.

in regards to the type of oatmeal, i typically use rolled oats (not quick or instant) on most days, steel cut oats on long weekends, and ground steel cut oats (also known as scottish oats) when i remember to grind them.

for some delicious variations, look here.

some easy ways to mix it up:

stir in a big spoonful of pureed pumpkin for festive fall oats

vary the fruit topping (i really like berries in the summer, pear slices in the fall, and bananas year round)

adding crunch with granola or crispy cereal of your choice

crumbling part of a scone or muffin on top

pouring the hot (but cooled slightly) oats into a nearly finished nut butter jar for oats in a jar!  very portable and easy for travel.


everyday, anyday banana oatmeal

adapted from kath eats

this serves one hungry girl, increase or decrease if needed

1/2 c rolled oats (i do find that quaker oats make a creamier bowl but i usually use what is in the whole foods bulk bin)

1/2-3/4 c water (depending on if you like oats more liquid-y or not)

1/2 c milk (soy, almond, cow all work fine)

1/2 a banana sliced thinly (or sometimes i use a whole small banana)

1/2- 1 tbsp of ground flax or chia seeds (optional but add some extra protein, fiber, omega 3’s and make for a fluffier bowl)

pinch salt

spinkle of cinnamon, splash of vanilla

toppings and mix ins of your choice (in this case, the rest of the banana, shredded coconut, dried blueberries, sunflower seeds, and almond butter)

in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, bring the liquids up to a boil and add the oats, banana, salt, flax or chia, and cinnamon.  when it starts bubbling, stir very vigorously and sort of smush up the banana.  lower the heat a bit and keep stirring regularly until the liquid is all absorbed.  if the oats look a bit raw still, add some more liquid until the mixture is creamy and at your desired consistency.  the active cooking time is something like 8 minutes, from the moment you turn on the stove. stir in the vanilla (if using) at the end.  transfer to your favorite bowl and top with whatever you desire.



Filed under breakfast, grains

compare contrast: quinoa salad and bread pudding

last week i made two items for my two different roommates.  one requested vegetables and grains, the other requested bread pudding.  the quinoa salad is something that can be varied endlessly with different vegetables and different dressings and different grains.  i like to use quinoa because it is a complete protein and has a pleasant nutty flavor that pairs well with lots of other vegetables and tastes good hot and cold.  i used a mix of cooked and raw vegetables for a mix of textures and a lemon and parsley dressing for a bright accent.  quinoa also pairs well with a creamy dressing made with tahini or other nut butter or yogurt or buttermilk.

the bread pudding i intentionally made not so sweet.  challah bread is my bread of choice for bread pudding because it is already a rich sweet bread.  i sliced the loaf the night before and laid it out to dry out overnight so the bread could soak up the custard easily.  chocolate was specifically NOT requested so i rounded out the flavors with raisins, pecans, and walnuts and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla.  i based the ratio off of this recipe, but adjusted due to the huge loaf of challah and did not have brandy to soak the raisins.  the result was a very tender, not too sweet bread pudding with a crust that you wanted to keep picking off every time you walked past the kitchen.

grain salad

this is barely a recipe and can be adapted for any grain and whatever vegetable you have on hand.  toss the following together:

1 cup grain of your choice, cooked

1 can of chickpeas, kidney beans, etc (i think black lentils would would very nicely)

assortment of vegetables, diced, cooked or raw (i used kale (cooked), carrots (raw), teardrop tomatoes (halved and raw), and zucchini (diced and sauteed with garlic)

dressing of your choice (i made a simple lemon, sherry vinegar and mustard vinaigrette)

chopped herbs (i used parsley and basil)

seasonings to taste


Filed under grains, legumes, quick, sweets, tomato, Uncategorized, vegetables

rice pudding

the weather this week in san francisco is pretty dreary.  i wanted to make something that could simmer away on the stove and fill the kitchen with a warm, rich smell.  rice pudding!  i love custards and this one you can eat for breakfast.  i tweaked by general recipe a bit to use up some leftover coconut milk and added a cinnamon stick, ground cardamom, and chopped pieces of candied ginger.  if you toast some shredded coconut or chopped nuts to use as a garnish, it would add another dimension to the dish, but i was content just eat it warm from the pot.

coconut rice pudding

i didn’t really measure out anything for this, but it is pretty difficult to mess up.  the proportion of liquid to rice can also differ depending on how loose you like your rice pudding.  also, in the end, there was more soy milk than coconut milk, but you could still smell and taste it and it added a good amount of richness to the pudding.

3/4 cup rice (i used short grain brown rice since that is what i had on hand.  this would be much more traditional and creamy if you used a short grain whit rice like aborio rice or use jasmine or basmati rice for more tropicalness)

up to 1 can of coconut milk (light is fine)

3+ cups milk of your choice (i used soy) you can also replace some of the milk with water

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp ground cardamom

your desired amount of chopped candied ginger

about 3 tbsp agave syrup (or maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar)  i dont like mine too sweet and wanted to use some unrefined sweetners

1/4 tsp salt

combine the rice, salt and the milk in a pot over medium heat and simmer.  once the milk starts to be absorbed, add everything else.  lower the heat a bit and simmer until the rice is tender.  keep an eye on the pot and add more liquid if it starts to dry out.  the pudding with set up in the fridge so add more liquid than you think you need if you want a loose pudding.  serve warm or cold for dessert or for breakfast.

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it is so much cheaper to make your own granola than to buy it from the store and, if you are like me, usually have all of the ingredients on hand.  one batch usually lasts about one week so it is a nice weekend activity.  i find that store bought granola is usually a bit too sweet and really high in calories.  you can put pretty much any dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. to tailor it to your liking.  in order to counteract the sweetness, i like to use a olive oil and good amount of salt.  instead of or in addition to rolled oats, you can also use flakes of other grains like barley, wheat, etc.

coconut cinnamon almond granola

adapted from a variety of sources such as kath eats and through years of experimenting

2 1/4 cups rolled oats or other flaked grain

up to 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds (i like almonds and walnuts or pumpkin and sunflower seeds or pistachios!)

up to 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup ground flax (optional)

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp brown sugar

1-2 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon (i think ground cardamom would be very good)

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 tbsp olive oil or canola oil or coconut oil

a really large pinch of kosher salt

dried fruits of your choice (i like dried cranberries with this)

preheat oven to 300 degrees.  in a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients except for the dried fruits.  in a small pan, over low heat, combine the honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil.  when the mixture thins out, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla.  drizzle this mixture over the grains and stir until everything is coated.  spread this out on a large greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes.  stir/turn the granola and bake for a couple more minutes.  stir and again and bake for a couple more minutes or until it is golden brown.  let the granola cool on the cookie sheet with out stirring or mixing.  this lets the granola become more clumpy.  when cool, break it up a little bit and add the dried fruit.

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Filed under breakfast, from the pantry, grains, quick

pumpkin pancakes

in the spirit of using up my groceries before i return home for the holidays, i decided to make some pancakes for a sunday morning breakfast.  one of my favorite fall/winter flavors is pumpkin so i always stock up on pumpkin puree whenever i am grocery shopping.  besides using it in pie, i add it to my morning oatmeal, into yogurt, and as a quick soup base.  these pancakes are not as fluffy due to the whole wheat flour, but i think the grainyness and nuttiness that the whole wheat adds compliments the flavors pretty well.  i add several pancakes with some greek yogurt, a sliced comice pear, a smear of almond butter, warm maple syrup (grade b!), and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  nomnomnom.

pumpkin pancakes

adapted from martha

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c all purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (must be fresh!)

pinch of ground ginger or cloves, if you wish

1/2 cup or so milk (i used soy)

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 tbsp canola oil or melted and cooled butter

1 tsp vanilla

optional- chopped toasted almonds or chocolate chips

whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, eggs, canola oil or butter, and vanilla.  gently combine the two mixtures, stirring a little as possible; some lumps are ok.  heat your griddle or cast iron skillet over medium highish heat until a droplet of water dances and grease with a bit of butter.  pour pancakes to your desired size and sprinkle with nuts or chocolate chips.  the pancakes are to flip when the edges look dry and there are bubbles on the top.  serve with your desired toppings and nom.

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Filed under from the pantry, grains, quick, sweets