Baked Blackberry Oatmeal

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Greetings! I hope you are having a merry holiday. This time is one of my favorites, the in-between time right before New Years Eve. There may be some work involved but it is a time filled with laughter, parties, loved ones and food. This hearty breakfast bake fits in perfectly and brings a smile to your face on these chilly mornings. Resembling a fruit crumble more than oatmeal it is quite a treat! The blackberries are warm and syrupy, bursting with flavor. With a cake like oatmeal mixture in the middle and topped off with sweet crunchy sunflower and pumpkin seeds. YUM, I will start my mornings like this, please.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Bake ~ adapted from Vegetarian Everyday

14 oz fresh or frozen blackberries (thaw if frozen)

2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

a pinch of sea salt

2 large eggs

2 1/4 cups milk of choice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup pure unsweetened honey, agave, or maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil + extra for greasing the pan

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (original recipe uses toasted hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 x 10 baking dish and spread the berries in an even layer on the bottom of the dish and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine the oats, baking powder, ginger and salt. In another bowl add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk until combined. In a smaller bowl mix the honey/maple/agave syrup, 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nuts/seeds (use your fingers to make sure all of the seeds/nuts are well coated). Pour the dry oat mixture evenly over the berries then pour the egg mixture over evenly. Sprinkle the seed mixture on top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the oatmeal is set (no liquid) and the seeds are lightly browned and crunchy. Cool slightly before serving.

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Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake

A Morning Worthy of Cake. Apple Cake.

apple_cake_1I am back! Shall I do a little dance? I think YES. It has been a busy busy past couple of months, the highlight being a romp through the Scottish highlands and Dublin in December. But it is a new year and I can’t wait to start putting more time in here.

This tasty treat is meant for fall, when the leaves are just starting to turn and the first cool breezes make themselves known…but when you have all the ingredients on hand and the exact number of crisp pink lady apples staring at you from the side of the counter…I say go for it. This is the coldest week I’ve experienced yet in New York (I actually NEED one of those face-sweaters..) and this cake is as delicious in the middle of Winter as it is in Fall. Full of warmth and comfort it is meant to be eaten at any time of day, while sitting on the couch, with thirty quilts, a thick pair of woolen socks and a cup of hot tea.

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Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake ~ adapted from Small Plates & Sweet Treats

3 pink lady apple

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp + more honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown rice flour + 1 tbsp

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup millet flour + 1 tbsp

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 heaping tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup packed dark muscovado sugar

1/2 cup whole-milk plain yogurt

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 by 8-inch square cake pan (or an 8 by 3-inch round cake pan) and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Core the apples, quarter them, then cut each piece in half once more. Heat the coconut oil, 2 tbsp of honey and vanilla extract in a large saute pan (any soup or sauce pot will work, you may just need to cook the apples for a bit longer) over medium heat. Add the sliced apples and cook for about 10 minutes or until apples are soft but not mushy. Let cool for a few minutes before handling. Arrange the apples on the bottom of the cake pan as tightly as possible and pour any remaining liquid in the pot over the apples.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl mix the eggs, dark muscovado sugar, honey (I did about 2 tbsp add more for a sweeter cake), olive oil, and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan making sure that it is evenly distributed over the apples. Bake for about 50min-1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before carefully flipping. Allow to cool before serving. Keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days or freeze.

Serve warm by itself or with a speckled vanilla bean ice cream.

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~ Stay Warm! ~

Tri-Color Carrot Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Hot hot hot. And brutally hot. Not to mention humid. August in Manhattan…..Don’t ever come to Manhattan in August, unless you find enjoyment in slowly melting into a puddle. As I live here I can’t escape, my window unit can though. It picked the hottest day last week to say adios, the battery went bonkers and I am writing this to you with an ice-pack on my shoulders and a little black fan at my feet. Apart from the fact that every night I mentally tick another day off the ‘almost fall countdown’ this salad should bring some summer fun to your table. Light, crisp and bursting with flavor it will accompany any simple dinner with grace and be all the rage at a picnic. And did I mention no oven is needed?

Tri-Color Carrot Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Large bunch of carrots (any color will work, I used purple, orange, yellow and white)
chopped spring (green) onion
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tsp white wine vinegar
ground ginger, salt, & pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
splash of ginger juice (optional) 
1 tsp dijon mustard

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off outer carrot skins (purple carrots are orange once peeled). Peel or ribbon enough carrots to fill a medium sized bowl. Do this by holding the thick end of the carrot and carefully make long strips with your vegetable peeler. Add chopped green onions to the bowl and set aside. Whisk all other ingredients together for the asian vinaigrette. Adjust seasonings if needed, I added a bit more vinegar to mine some may like a bit more mustard so customize as you like. You will have extra dressing left over. Toss the ribboned carrots with the vinaigrette right before serving.

Would be wonderful topped with sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds if you can muster the courage to turn on your toaster oven.

A cool and lovely summer side dish.

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