It's tempting to write about these oat cakes. To crow about how substantial and belly-filling they are. To hail the sweetness of the maple and the crunch of the walnuts and the cakes' sheer, delicious, grain-filled heft.
But what I really long to talk about isn't the cakes so much as their creator.
First, though, consider the following:
I'm no stranger to being snubbed. None of us is, right? And sometimes, someone who really has no reason to look down on you will make you feel small or unworthy. I generally don't have time for crap like this, but it still hurts when it happens, as I imagine it does for you, too.
And then sometimes, other people, people whom you might expect to snub you because they've enjoyed great success and earned widespread admiration, people who seem to have it all together, will embrace you without a single ounce of snootiness. These people quietly kick stones out of your way as you forge your own path. They take the time to share what they know, to give a boost, to lend a hand.
And you may wonder: why does this first person turn her back, while this other person lights your way?
You may have been reading a lot about Heidi Swanson's gorgeous new recipe collection, Super Natural Every Day (Ten Speed, 2011).
I'm no different from the countless others who are genuinely enthralled by this understated, serene cookbook, a cookbook filled with uniquely conceived and beautifully photographed all-natural recipes. It's a book that's gauzy and light, that tiptoes, and it's all the more effective for its quiet power.
What you may not know is that Heidi Swanson, its author, has every reason to be a first class diva, and yet she's not.
And I want to thank her. Because although she may not realize it, when we met, she lit a paper bag luminaria for me, set it down gently, and made my own path a little easier to see. She has helped me and inspired me, with kindness, warmth, and personal and professional gestures both large and small.
So. Now it's my turn. In the spirit of paying it forward, I'd like to introduce you to a few of the people I spent time with at Camp Blogaway this weekend. These are people you may not know, and that's precisely the point. Folks like Shefaly Ravula and her sister Amee Meghani, folks like Andrew Wilder and Dr. Jean Layton, folks like Jeanne Fratello, Amanda Opaluch, Stacy Spensley, Julie Grice, Kim Burnell, Sara O'Donnell, Kelly Anderson, Bree Hester, Patti Londre, Nancy Eisman, and Gina Girardot Melton. There are many more, of course, and I hope those I didn't mention forgive me. I simply can't mention them all, and some I've left off because I've featured them here before.
My suggestion to you? Make an oat cake, consider adding Heidi's beautiful book to your collection, then sit back, click around, and take a moment to discover someone new.
Then, when you're full-up, light the way for someone else, online or off.
That's just how you do it.
Recipe for Oat Cakes
oats, flax seeds, walnuts
Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
[csr notes: This recipe jumped out at me as soon as I saw it. What I didn't expect was the hearty texture, one without the wimpiness of a standard muffin or the dryness of a classic scone. Instead, they're sweet and heavy, filling and satisying.]
3 cups / 10.5 oz / 300 g rolled oats
2 cups / 8 oz / 225 g spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g flax seeds
3/4 cup / 3 oz / 85 g chopped walnuts, lightly toasted (see page 219)
1/3 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g extra-virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup / 3 oz / 85 g unsalted butter
3/4 cup / 180 ml maple syrup
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g natural cane sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup, and sugar and slowly melt together. Stir just until the butter melts and sugar has dissolved, but don’t let the mixture get too hot. You don’t want it to cook the eggs on contact in the next step.
Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs, and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough. Spoon the dough into the muffin cups, nearly filling them.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
makes 12 oat cakes