Near and Far Yogurt Bowl

Near and Far Cookbook

Until I read Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook, Near and Farit never occurred to me to sprinkle popped sorghum and rose petals on yogurt. To use dairy as a canvas. To turn breakfast into an offering.

But here I am, using my extra hour of daylight to draw down my best clay bowl. To ladle out the local yogurt I love. Slicing oranges, separating pomegranate seeds, heating an iron skillet to toast grains that, ordinarily, I’d just boil.

Near and Far Yogurt Bowl Up Close

The last months of traveling and teaching and editing a new book have left me feeling like a breathless dervish, to be honest. To relax, I read cookbooks in bed and flag pages that look restorative (bone broths, savory grain bowls) — it’s a very good sleep send-off.

Do I make the recipes? When they haunt me.

So many recipes in Near and Far inspire my veg and dairy-loving side: Salt-Baked Sweet Potato (page 52), Ricotta Breakfast Bowl with Flower Pepper (page 81), Chicory Soup with Creme Fraiche (130), Tartines with Sheep’s Milk Cheese (page 249).

Ricotta Breakfast Bowl

I love when a cookbook hands me a passport to new places. In Near and Far, each chapter begins with a list of pantry items from a place — Morocco, Japan, Italy, France, India. The recipes that follow are loosely inspired by specific moments: a woman eating a dish of dal in a spice market, for example.

Photographs of dishes, of street scenes and tablescapes, set a mood and showcase the talents of writer and photographer Heidi Swanson. If you haven’t visited her blog, 101 Cookbooks, you must. It’s a…digital sanctuary. Does such a thing exist?

Do yogurt and dried rose petals go together?

Now they do.

Book and Recipe by Heidi Swanson

Yogurt Bowl in Near and Far

Yogurt Bowl from Heidi Swanson’s Near & Far

I took a lot of liberties with this recipe, which is why I am giving you the original. Even with my substitutions — pomegranate molasses instead of fresh pomegranate juice, puffed sorghum and buckwheat in place of puffed quinoa cereal, pepitas in place of sunflower seeds, and oranges because I wanted extra acidity — the combination tasted glorious. I especially loved the silk-delicate dried rose petals, which melted into the dairy, and the nutty crunch of the grains. 

2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate juice

A drizzle of honey

A dallop of Greek-style yogurt

A handful of puffed quinoa ceral

A sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds

Whole pomegranate seeds or fresh or dried rose petals (optional)

A bit of bee pollen (optional)

In a bowl, swirl the pomegranate and honey into the yogurt, then sprinkle with nuts and seeds.

Yogurt Bowl with Pomegranate



If you want to try puffed sorghum and toasted buckwheat, which is what I used, it’s very easy. I’ve started tossing tossing them onto salads and soups.

Puffed Sorghum: Heat a dry skillet over medium heat, and when the pan is hot, add your sorghum grains. Cover with a lid and shake the pan often as the grains pop.

Toasted Buckwheat: Add a little oil to a warm skillet. Toss in the buckwheat and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently. They turn wonderfully crunchy in about a minute, and they taste very nutty.Yogurt Bowl on Near and Far

Disclosure: I recently signed up to become a member of Blogging for Books, which provided me a complimentary copy of Near & Far. Ordinarily, I am not a joiner of things, but knew I wanted to review this book, and I was curious to explore the program. So far, so good.

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