Monday, April 20, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

I was five years old when I performed my first cooking demonstration. It was back in New York at the old Clockville courthouse, which doubled as our voting hall. I practiced for weeks under the tutelage of my parents ("don't say 'you,'" "make eye contact," "smile") until it was flawless, by 5 year old standards anyway.

The big day finally came. When my name was called, I got up, stuck out my chin and did was I was trained to do. I placed my recipe poster on the stand, taped a tiny paper receptacle to the table, methodically organized my ingredients and launched into my presentation. I spoke of my family in Switzerland and how we just loved eating Muesli for breakfast. Time whizzed by and before I knew it, it was over. I thought it went swimmingly. Pleased as punch, I glided into my rehearsed closing, "Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes my demonstration. Are there any questions?" A hand shot up. It belonged to my Dad. "Uh, yes. Now what do you do with the oatmeal," he asked? My professionalism went out the window as I dramatically slapped my head and yelled, "Oh no!" Apparently I forgot to add the main ingredient.

Don't worry, it didn't scar me for life. I received a blue ribbon that night and was determined to do it better next year when I was six.

As far as breakfasts go, I'm not a huge fan of mainstream fare and tend to prefer savory things like soup, sprouted grain toast with avocado and salt or last night's leftovers. Then a few months ago I wrote an article all about the benefits of soaking grains, which naturally conjured up images of my beloved Swiss muesli. I've been on a serious kick ever since.

Strawberry Muesli
Bircher Muesli is most often prepared with shredded apple but feel free to use whichever fruit is in season.

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3+ cup milk
Splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sliced strawberries (or 1/2 a grated apple)
3/4 cup plain kefir or plain yogurt
1 tablespoon moist date pieces (or dried fruit of choice)
Chopped nuts (I like roasted pecans or crushed hazelnuts)

Place rolled oats in a small bowl. Add milk to cover and a splash of lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight. 

In the morning, add sliced strawberries, kefir/yogurt and dried fruit. Mix well and sprinkle with nuts.


Alli Roberts said...

This is awesome! I was just looking for a recipe like this. I'm originally from Australia and grew up eating the same type of thing from breakfast. It's great, you say muesli here and people have no idea what your talking about. Thanks!

Foodie and the Fiancé said...

I love the story along with the recipe - so cute!