June 12, 2017

Rhubarb Crisp Oatmeal (Baked Oatmeal with Rhubarb)

Vegan Baked Oatmeal with Rhubarb

Things that have happened since I last posted a year and a half ago:

  1. I reconnected with the love of my life and we started dating long-distance.
  2. We decided to move back to our home state of Michigan, which meant cross-country relocations for both of us (me from NYC and him from Portland).
  3. We got engaged over breakfast pie.

And a million other life-altering things, many of which I'm still in the process of sorting out. But before we get to all that, let's talk more about the wonder that is breakfast pie.

Fruit-based desserts seem to straddle the line between healthful and indulgent. My theory is that the fiber-rich, antioxidant-packed fruit acts like an Instagram filter, lending a nutritious haze to the accompanying sugar and fat. This explains why there are times that a slice of pie seems like a perfectly appropriate breakfast treat. After all, is it really any worse than a giant blueberry muffin? I think not.

In case it's not yet clear, I'm a fan of breakfast pie. So much so, in fact, that I decided the best way to kick off my 33rd birthday was with a slice of freshly-baked pie from Sister Pie, the acclaimed bakery in Detroit. Because what's better than breakfast pie? Birthday breakfast pie. What's even better than that? Engagement birthday breakfast pie. My amazing, knows-me-the-best fiance planned the sweetest surprise proposal including all of my favorite things - carbs, cookbooks, and vintage jewelry. He hid the ring in a hollowed-out cookbook, you guys. And gave it to me while I ate pie for breakfast. On my birthday. I still smile spontaneously every time I think about it, and it's been almost three months. I don't think I'll ever stop. While I'd love to re-live the moment each day by eating pie for breakfast, I can't give in to that level of indulgence. I can, however, translate that indulgence into an actually-healthy breakfast. I present you with Rhubarb Crisp Oatmeal.

Ok, so technically this is just baked oatmeal. BUT! It's baked oatmeal with the deliciousness of fruit pies/crisps rolled in. Gooey, sweet fruit filling? Of course. Crisp, butter-infused top? You betcha. Since it's still rhubarb season here in Michigan, rhubarb was an obvious choice. Especially since I work on a farm where we've been harvesting it twice a week for the last month. I love the silky texture of cooked rhubarb, and its natural tartness keeps the baked oatmeal lively. Brown sugar tames rhubarb's puckery quality and gives the oatmeal a dessert-adjacent hint of sweetness. The oatmeal itself turns into both filling and crust, with a custardy center and toasted, golden top.  It's perfect on its own, but I love it topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The same way I eat a slice of pie.

Rhubarb Crisp Oatmeal
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6-8

1 pound rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (lightly packed), divided
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups nondairy milk
1 tablespoon flax meal
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon nondairy butter or coconut oil, cut into bits
2 tablespoons roasted almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 and grease an 8x11 baking dish with nonstick spray (An 8x8 should also work, but I prefer the higher crust ratio of the larger dish). Add the rhubarb to the baking dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, tossing to coat evenly. Remove about 1/4 cup of the rhubarb mixture and set aside (you'll want a bit of fruit on top of the oatmeal as well). In a bowl, stir together the oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, flax meal, and vanilla until sugar begins to dissolve, about 1 minute (alternatively you can blitz the mixture in a blender). Once the oven is heated, assemble the oatmeal. Cover the rhubarb with an even layer of the oat mixture, then drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Scatter the reserved rhubarb and chopped almonds over the top of the oatmeal, followed by the nondairy butter or coconut oil. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the oatmeal has set and the top is deeply golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing into portions. Serve warm, topped with a dollop of whipped cream if you like (I certainly do).

November 5, 2015


Sometimes the view doesn't have to be clear to be beautiful. 

Hey, remember that time I abandoned my blog for almost a year? Yeah. So that happened. Actually a lot has happened. So much happening has happened that I found myself first lost, then adrift, then on alone on a new island, searching for a way home. That analogy is more literal than you might think.

Since my last post eleven long months ago, my almost-four-year relationship has come to an end, creating an amount of upheaval in my life that caused me to curl up into the fetal position and freak out more times than I care to admit. Breakups of any kind are difficult. But breaking up with someone you've shared a home and a life with for four years feels more like a divorce than a break up. This comes from someone who's experienced both. When your lives have become so deeply interwoven, there is no quick ripping off of the breakup bandaid. Instead it is slowly tugged at for months, exposing the wound again and again. The repetitive tugs - dividing up belongings, moving out, removing names and money from shared accounts - slow the healing process dramatically. So I feel no small sense of pride when I say that Daniel and I came out on the other side of this painful process as true friends. The grief will linger a while for us both before fading away completely. The love and respect we have for each other is going to stick around. And thank god for that.

There are, I think, two kinds of creative people. Those who, when faced with great difficulty or loss, become prolific, harnessing the uncomfortable energy of their pain into a streak of creation and catharsis. But for others, the pain is cold and unyielding, forcing them into an unwelcome hibernation as they await the spring of their grief. In case it's not clear, I'm the latter. As I've navigated my way through this transition, my desire to write was frozen solid. I cooked here and there, and some of those recipes will make their way to the blog eventually. But for almost a year I've found myself unable to come here and publish anything at all. Being uncertain about where your life is going will do that. It's difficult to share when your world feels like one big question mark.

Getting rid of that question mark has been my main focus. I'm a creature of habit. Routines are a comfort to me. Which, as I've mentioned in the past, makes times of dramatic change quite a challenge. But bit by bit, I've started building a new life for myself. I signed a lease and settled into a charming, albeit teeny-tiny, 300-square-foot studio in Brooklyn. I started working as a nanny for a lovely family in Manhattan. And I'm making big plans. Bold plans. Big, bold, life-altering plans. I'm equal parts excited and scared as shit. Which means I'm doing this "grab-life-by-the-balls" thing right, I think.

All of these grand plans will make their way to the blog in time. Some of the grand plans involve the blog itself, in fact. So for those of you who stuck around, thank you. I can't wait to share new recipes with you soon. But for now, I'm just glad to be back, writing words that flow from mind to fingertip to screen.  

December 10, 2014

Holiday Giveaway: Food Rules Print from Holstee

The prize for this Holiday Giveaway is generously provided by Holstee

Photo Credit: Holstee

Am I the only one who can't believe it's already December? Another holiday season has snuck up on me, and before I get too deep into the craziness of my to-do list (decorating the apartment, shopping for gifts, attending holiday parties, baking, cooking, flying home to Michigan…), I just want to say one thing:

Thank you.

Thanks for reading, for commenting, for cooking my recipes in your kitchens. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet. I'm so incredibly grateful to have you here. To show my thanks, I'd like to share a holiday gift with one lucky reader.

This giveaway is made possible by Holstee, a small Brooklyn company whose unique and thoughtful Manifesto went viral a few years back. Holstee's message of mindfulness and community really resonates with me, especially since they believe in approaching food with those same goals in mind. Holstee hosts vegetarian potlucks in Brooklyn and is working to build a global movement of community potlucks, donating $25 to FoodCorps for each and every potluck hosted (Interested in hosting a potluck? Sign up here!). It's not surprising, then, that their Food Rules Collection emphasizes an intentional and community-focused approach to how we eat.

Photo Credit: Holstee

The Food Rules Collection is centered around a vintage poster published by the U.S. Food Administration in 1917, beautifully reproduced by Holstee as a 12x16 letterpress print. Originally intended to familiarize Americans with the guidelines of wartime consumption, the poster displays 6 simple steps of mindful eating that are as relevant today as they were nearly 100 years ago. 

1. Buy it with thought
2. Cook it with care
3. Use less wheat & meat
4. Buy local foods
5. Serve just enough
6. Use what is left

Photo Credit: Holstee

Do these tenants of mindful eating resonate with you? Would you like to display a beautiful print of this thoroughly-modern vintage poster in your own home? I thought you might! Holstee is offering one free 12x16 Food Rules Letterpress Print to a reader of Braisen Woman. Here's how to enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post sharing your thoughts on mindful consumption. For example: Do you approach cooking and eating with the Food Rules in mind? Which rules come naturally to you? Which feel challenging?. Please note that anonymous comments will not qualify for an entry. 

2. Follow the entry instructions in the Rafflecopter window below! You can log in via facebook or email - be sure to use an account whose email you check regularly. Once you've logged in, click the green "I commented!" button to enter the giveaway. 

Each reader who leaves a comment and submits an entry by 11:59PM on Saturday, December 13th, will be entered into the Giveaway. The winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter. I'll notify the winner by email on Sunday, December 14th. 

Happy Holidays!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 19, 2014

Recipe: Plum Poppy Seed Cake

I've been busy lately, as you might have surmised from the pin-drop silence here on the blog. As penance for my blogging absence, I made you a cake. It just felt like the right thing to do. It became a plum cake when I remembered a handful of plums sitting in my fridge, stowaways from an autumn season that is all-too-quickly turning to winter here on the East Coast. Once plums were involved, it only seemed natural that almond extract - a great friend to plums - should be included. This led me to create a cake batter inspired by my one of my favorite breakfast treats: Almond Poppy Seed Muffins. And with that, Plum Poppy Seed Cake was born.

Plum Poppy Seed Cake is a cross between Almond Poppy Seed Muffins and a Fruit Buckle (an old-fashioned cake with fruit baked into the top). The cake is tender but wholesome, thanks to a winning combination of coconut oil and whole wheat flour. Poppy seeds add a welcome crunch, and almond extract (backed up by the coconut oil) infuses the cake with a heady fragrance and rich flavor. Slices of plums are the cake's crowning glory, forming dimples of jewel-pink fruit as the cake rises up around them.

Much like my Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake, this cake is an "anytime cake" - a just-sweet-enough treat that can be served for breakfast, as a light dessert, or alongside a cup of tea or coffee when your afternoon could use a pick-me-up. I mean, come on. Cake you're allowed to eat whenever you'd like? SOLD.

Plum Poppy Seed Cake
serves 8-10

4 medium plums
1 cup plain non-dairy milk (soymilk recommended)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray. Halve the plums and remove their pits, then slice into 1/2-inch thick wedges and set aside. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, add the milk and vinegar, stir, and set aside to sour for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soured milk, coconut oil, applesauce, 1/2 cup sugar, and almond extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir until a smooth batter forms.

Pour batter into greased pan and smooth out top with a spatula. Arrange the sliced plums on top of cake in whatever pattern you'd like, then sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Transfer skillet to oven and bake cake for 38-42 minutes, or until the center tests clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once cake has cooled, run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the springform portion. Run a knife under the bottom of the cake to loosen it before carefully transferring to a plate for serving.

September 8, 2014

Recipe: Kimchi Noodle Soup

As a long-time nanny, I'm used to battling several rounds of colds each year. It's inevitable when you spend much of your time in the various germ-ridden hangouts of the toddler set - the children's corner of the library with books touched by a million little hands; the playground whose sandboxes may as well be over-sized petri dishes. It was an occupational hazard far-outweighed by the general awesomeness of my job.

My life in New York is presently child-free, so I was unpleasantly surprised when I started feeling under the weather last Sunday. Within 24 hours, both Daniel and I had been attacked by some kind of hideous cold/flu hybrid, a virus so evil I am convinced it was birthed in the depths of hell. The only slightly more likely source? Some unwashed crevice of New York (I'm thinking the subway was involved). Of course, knowing where this beast of a cold came from won't make me feel better. What will make me feel better? Kimchi Noodle Soup.

Think of Kimchi Noodle Soup as turbo-charged Chicken Noodle Soup… minus the chicken. Kimchi's spice and ferment-y funk permeate the broth with a sinus-clearing blast of heat that's as effective as it is delicious. Kimchi Noodle Soup will punch your cold in the face and then laugh at it. Each spoonful is a pleasant little fire that wafts into your sinuses, locates the congestion, and SMOKES IT OUT.

Honestly, I'd love this soup even if it didn't have cold-punching powers. It's an exceptionally full-flavored and umami-rich soup, simple to make and satisfying to eat. It's also a great introduction to kimchi for the uninitiated, since its pungency is mellowed by the broth and balanced with a bit of sweetness from carrots, shallots, and a splash of mirin (sweet rice wine). To sum it up: Have a cold? Make this soup. Perfectly healthy? MAKE THIS SOUP.

Kimchi Noodle Soup
Serves 4

Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish/condiment of fermented cabbage and various other vegetables. When shopping for vegan kimchi, you'll want to avoid brands that include fish sauce in the ingredient list. My favorite vegan kimchi brands are Mother In Law's Vegan Napa Cabbage Kimchi and Britt's Pickles Market Kimchi.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large carrots, chopped
2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1 heaping cup vegan napa cabbage kimchi, drained and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons kimchi liquid
2 tablespoons mirin
4 cups vegetable broth (I use 4 cups water plus 2 teaspoons "No Chicken" Better Than Bouillon paste)
2 cups water
4 ounces eggless wide ribbon noodles*
Salt, to taste

*Eggless Wide Ribbon Noodles are an egg-free version of classic Egg Noodles, and can be found in many supermarkets. Alternatively, rotini or fusilli pasta will work well.

Bring a large pot over medium heat and saute carrots and shallots in oil for 5 minutes, then add chopped kimchi and saute 5 minutes more. Add mirin and 2 tablespoons kimchi liquid and cook for a couple minutes before adding broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil, then add pasta. Partially cover, reduce heat to maintain a low boil (around medium), and cook until noodles are done and carrots are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Season as needed with salt and serve steaming hot. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a few days, though the texture of the noodles is best the day the soup is made (the noodles continue to soak up the broth during their time in the fridge). When reheating, you might want to add a bit of extra water to offset the broth absorbed by the noodles.