Under the counter where the coffee things sit in my kitchen, third drawer down on the left, is a waffle iron. We bought it on a whim years ago when Sean and his parents were talking about the waffle ice cream sandwiches at the CNE

Due to that association, whenever I make waffles instead of the usual French toast or pancakes, it feels like a festive thing. The waffles here however, are celebratory on their own, since they're from Heidi Swanson's very soon-to-be-released cookbook, Near and Far. (Cue the confetti canons and cheers.)

Heidi Swanson's Whole Wheat Waffles with roasted peaches and mapled blueberries | by Tara O'Brady

Heidi is known for getting details right. It comes as no surprise then that this new book is an extraordinary object, smartly designed and impressive to hold. The raised cover, reminiscent of tin ceilings and anaglypta, is slightly velveted. Its pattern is elaborated upon in the endpapers, and the creamy off-white echoed in the matte pages between them. Every inch is considered.

It is a book with clear, learned perspective. Divided into categories—recipes her inspired by her home, then those she likes for journeys, and finally recipes from the around the world—while reading Near and Far it is impossible to ignore a prevailing, longing wanderlust. Through Heidi's evocative photographs and passages, and her characteristic care in choosing just the right ingredients, you are transported to her kitchen and table, even when that kitchen is in Rabat, New Delhi, or Tokyo, rather than her native San Francisco. There is a distinct sense of real, rooted places, and an intimacy in the shared experience. 

Often it is a matter of alchemy in developing recipes; a combination of time, surroundings, outlook, and trend all contribute to a sort of collected whole. Heidi once said certain things "are simply in the air." In Near and Far, you're in that atmosphere with her. 

 (For some more on Heidi's cooking philosophy—vegetarian, with an emphasis on whole foods—here's what I wrote about her last book, Super Natural Every Day.)

The breadth of this latest collection is all-embracing, and I've an eye on some to become new-to-me favourites—tempeh with shoyu butter, Lillet shrub, and farro salad (with this lip-smackingly piquant olive dressing) are all in the running. Then recently, Heidi told me her nephew Jack is a fan of the whole wheat waffles in the book. That was all the endorsement needed.

These waffles, like so many of Heidi's recipes, are familiar, but somehow that little bit better than you recalled. Lacily, crackly-crusted as you expect, but the centre has a set-custard quality, vaguely eggy and slightly elastic, so there's chew to back up the initial crunch. In my mind, that's not just the mark of a good waffle, but a superlative one. 

Utterly fitting, considering where they came from. Tonight, with the leftovers, there'll be ice cream. Hooray, that.

And, once more, Heidi, well done. xo


"These are the waffles I make most often—big, and Belgian-style. A combination of flours and rolled oats is lighted up with a bit of rice flour or organic cornstarch. It is a blend that conspires with lots of buttermilk to give the waffles a nice, moist interior and a crisp, golden crust."

— from Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press, 2015). 

Makes 16 Belgian-style waffles


  • 1 cup | 4.5 oz | 120 g whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups | 9 oz | 225 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup | 1.75 oz | 50 g rolled oats or 1/2 cup | 1.5 oz | 40 g wheat germ
  • 4 oz | 110 g organic cornstarch or rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 cups | 1 L buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup | 4 oz | 115 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs, separated


Preheat the oven to 225°F | 110°C. Combine the flours, oats, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg yolks. In a third bowl, using an egg beater or an electric mixer, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks.

Heat the waffle maker, and when it is ready, add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture just starts to come together. Dollop the egg whites across the top of the batter and fold until uniform, using a few strokes as possible. 

Use a scoop to ladle the batter into your waffle iron and cook until deeply golden and crisp. Transfer to the warm oven while you make the remaining waffles—the dry heat of the oven helps them set a bit. Any leftover batter will keep for a day or so, refrigerated.


  • I used the wheat germ suggestion rather than rolled oats.
  • I served the waffles with Five Spice Roasted Peaches, mapled blueberries, and sweet labneh. I prepared the peaches as written, then stirred some wild blueberries through the leftover maple-vanilla syrup while the peaches roasted. I made the labneh from my cookbook, with orange zest, brown sugar, and vanilla (p. 229). The sprinkles are a bit of bee pollen. 
  • This recipe does make quite a lot of waffles; my waffle iron isn't super deep, so I think the yield was about 18. I froze the extras on a sheet pan, then transferred them to a freezer bag. They toasted up beautifully when needed. If preferred, the recipe halves neatly. 
13 CommentsPost a comment

I wrote about Sara Forte's last book, her first book, right after my grandmother passed away. That sounds a morbid opening, but I don't mean it to be. In truth, the association offers its own kind of comfort. Sara's food is very much a means of taking good care of yourself, and a means to do so for those you love. My association of welcome and Sara is indelible, and I think that may be the same for a lot of you, too. 

Sara's new book with photography by her husband Hugh, Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon, is just memorable as that first, and once again arrived at a time when my grandmother was on my mind. 

Sara Forte's Baked Eggs with Barely Creamed Greens and Mustardy Bread | Tara O'Brady

With my own book coming out in 12 days (12 days!!) the reality has settled in. It has landed on my shoulders not as weight, but as something else, like the static shocks you get from rubbing your feet on the carpet. It feels like a current buzzing between my shoulder blades.

And, with each day closer, I wonder more and more often about what my grandmother would think of the book. 

Gigi had a tendency to grant praise partnered with just enough criticism that the compliment didn't go to your head. While it may have come across as feisty, or perhaps sharp of her to say so, the critique kept things in perspective. And, there was the added value of that.

Once, upon reading an article I'd written, she told it was very good, but maybe too serious. It would benefit from a joke. Preferably a dirty one.

Sara Forte's Baked Eggs with Barely Creamed Greens and Mustardy Bread | Photo by Tara O'Brady

In my view, Sara's book, and her work in general, offers both deliciousness and perspective in balance. Interwoven with her inventive combinations of texture and taste is subtle encouragement and simple advice on making sensible, responsible choices for our health and environment. Beauty and flavour are not sacrificed in her commitment to whole food and eating healthfully, but rather highlighted by it, as she creates meals without anything to get in the way of the natural gorgeousness of her ingredients.

The book is centred around what Sara calls "bowl food", an inherently soul-satisfying concept. That style of serving, with everything nudged up close in a vessel with nothing overwrought in its presentation or eating, is actually my favourite sort of meal. I like how you can gather up whatever components in your ideal proportion and how, often, it's a one-utensil, no-cutting-required kind of ease of mealtime. (Especially helpful for when you're feeding kids, or particularly tired adults. Or particularly tired adults attempting to feed children.)

Sara fills her bowls with all manner of grains, pulses, and vegetables, with lean proteins included now and again. She has morning to night sorted, including dessert. One day for lunch I made her Baked Eggs with Barely Creamed Greens and Mustardy Bread — it was supposed to be bread "crumbs" but I have an affection for a fatty-fat chunk of bread, so made rustic croutons instead. Some were small about a half-inch or so, others big, for double-dunking into the egg. The mustard on those toasty cubes is a winner, along with their bit of salt. The vinegar and assertive seasoning splits the richness of the cream, yolk, and cheese in the bowl. I used kale for my greens and they were perfectly silky but not obscenely rich. I've made her ribboned salad with maple-glazed tofu, am making her leek and pea soup for a friend today, and have plans for her soaked oats and Eton mess once the local berries arrive. (Please tell me that spring is coming. Today it's freezing rain. Again.) 

Bowl and Spoon is the perfect companion to Sara's first book, and very much the extension of what she started there. It's Sara through-and-through, which may be all I need to say.


Before we get to the recipe, a bit of housekeeping. First off, thank you to those of you who have preordered my book! For a moment there it was at #1 on two categories on Amazon, and I almost fell out of my chair. Seriously. You guys are too great. It has been such a treat to see folks cooking from the preorder recipe bundle, and I hope you're loving the brownies. (Please tag me when you share images or thoughts — @taraobrady on all social media — or use the tag #sevenspoonscookbook, if you can! I don't want to miss any.)

That said, the two recipes exclusive to the bundle (there are also five recipes from the book, including flaky biscuits!), are just that — only available with preorders. So if the one bowl, crackly-topped, gluten free brownies or garlicy, herby, chickpea yogurt soup are recipes you'd like, that's the way to get them. (The link to claim your recipe pack are on the sidebar.)

There's more! Penguin Random House of Canada has posted their own preview, with not only except of some of the book's text, but also my Bee Stung Fried Chicken with Korean gochujang honey to finish, and my method for Avocado Toast. Take a look, here. 

Also, I've started adding events to the News + Events section on the top bar. There will be more there soon!

Finally, for I truly appreciate all the feedback on what sort of information you'd hope to see in regards to writing a book, and how the opportunity came about for me. I'm working on the posts, and so keep any such suggestions coming! Until then, Heidi shared the most beautiful look at her proposal process, and it is truly inspiring. 

That's it for now. I want to pop in once more before the book comes out, so I'll see you then.



"This started as a Bon Appétit recipe that got repurposed for the blog, and now has made its way into bowl format for this book. I am always looking for everyday breakfast that can be put together relatively quickly, especially with eggs. I bake these in small shallow baking dishes, but a large ramekin or cast-iron pan works great as well. I assume two eggs per person and serve it with fruit and toast for dipping in the yolks.

The French, who more beautifully call baked eggs oafs en cocotte, often use a bain-marie for ideal egg texture, but I find the following approach just as suitable. "

— From Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon by Sara Forte (Ten Speed Press, 2015)

Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh torn bread, in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or a mix), stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 9 cups chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 8 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyère
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish
  • Chopped freshly parsley, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400°F and set a rack in the upper third. Wipe the insides of four gratin dishes or large ramekins with butter and set on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together the coarse ground mustard, 1 tablespoon of the Dijon mustard, the olive oil, and salt. Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Spread the on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crispy. Set the bread crumbs aside, but leave the oven on.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add just enough water to cover the bottom; add the greens. Toss until wilted down, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and press out the excess liquid. You should have about 2 heaping cups greens. Wipe out the skillet and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent, about 1 minutes. Add the greens, the remaining tablespoon of Dijon mustard, the cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until warmed through and just thickened, about 3 minutes.

Divide the greens between the prepared dishes and bake on the sheet in the upper third of the oven for 8 minutes. Remove sheet and carefully break two eggs onto the greens in each dish. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of pepper and a few tablespoons of the Gruyère and bake for 6 minutes, until the whites are just cooked but the yolks still runny. Let them sit for a minute to settle. Garnish with the bread crumbs, thyme, and parsley. 



  • The well-prepared cook I am, I was out of parsley and thyme, so had to leave them off. I added dried chile flakes for some extra colour and because I have an addiction to spice with eggs and cheese.