Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook, Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel ($30), is like Eat, Pray, Love for those who would have preferred Eat, Eat, Eat.
Her newest book is divided into two sections: “Near” and “Far.” The “Near” portion focuses on recipes inspired by her life in Northern California, while “Far” is divided into five chapters: Morocco, France, India, Italy and Japan.
She says, “Once you’re home from a trip, details tend to fall away. I noticed, long after I’ve forgotten the names of monuments, train stations or boulevards of a city I’ve traveled to, the flavors would stay with me.”
Although Swanson has hit the road with this book, she maintains her ethos of a life bright with vegetarian recipes, global ingredients and nutrient-rich superfoods.
The 120 recipes for inventive dishes like granola with nori are deeply personal, drawn from her journals and matched with a sprinkling of heavy-hitters from the blog (such as this sprout salad). Swanson smartly includes an additional section called “En Route,” with food designed to hold up to the long flights, delays and the inevitable unpredictability of travel, like rice paper wrapped spring rolls and strong ginger snaps for queasiness.
Swanson shared her recipe for baked oatmeal with us, drawn from the Near section of the book. It’s the kind of recipe to both root you in place and give you the nourishment to start planning your next jaunt.
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole Marcona almonds
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine- grain sea salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
- 1 cup kefir or buttermilk
- 1 cup water
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound ripe pluots, quartered and pitted (or other stone fruit)
- A bit of cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 375° with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking dish (or equivalent), then sprinkle with lemon zest.
- In a bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, kefir, water, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.
- Arrange the pluots in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the kefir mixture over the oats.
- Gently give the baking dish a couple of raps on the countertop to make sure the liquid moves through the oats.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve.
- Finish with a bit more maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter, and a thread of cream to bring it all together.