A view of my breakfast for you this morning. One of my predictions/hopes when I started planning to quit my day job and do art full-time was that I would have more time to do other things I love: like cooking. Well, this weekend that hope began to come true, as I embarked on one of my first edible escapades on Sunday afternoon. After ripping out half of the recipes in the October and November Gourmet magazines, I decided I would make some muesli and yogurt for my breakfast this week.
If you’re unfamiliar with muesli, it’s a type of breakfast cereal, kind of in the same vein as granola. I’ve made granola before, and the main difference I can see is that muesli is looser—no clumps from gooey honey mixtures. In fact, I thought it was easier to make than granola for that very reason.
I got my recipe from page 123 of the October 2009 Gourmet, called Kajsa Alger’s Muesli from Kajsa’s menu at her restaurant Street. The recipe doesn’t seem to be online, but here’s a quick version:
2 cups rolled oats and 1.5 cups puffed millet as the grains, 1 cup raw almonds chopped, 1 cup raw sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup flaxseeds as the seed component. You just mix all of the above together with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp cinnamon. Then you add 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Then you toast it for about 20 minutes, until golden brown (on two foil covered and lightly oiled cookie pans) at 350 degrees F. The recipe says to add 1 cup dried currants and 1 cup chopped pitted dates as the fruit after toasting, but you can see by the picture above that I deviated from that—I left the fruit out (I’ve had problems in the past with rock hard dried fruit in granola—I think the grains suck the moisture out of it), and I just added some raisins before eating.
Muesli is one of those things, like granola, where you can really put anything that you like in it. So I plan to experiment, but the above recipe is pretty yummy!
The other component of my breakfast is homemade yogurt. I went through a cheese-making phase a few years ago at which time I found Fankhauser’s Cheese Page. One of my first dairy-related escapades back then was homemade yogurt, which was quite fun and pretty easy. So, I’ve embarked on a little food science fun again as you’ll see from the four mason jars of yogurt above. The process is so simple—you take some milk and add a little yogurt to it (introducing the yogurt bacteria), and then the bacteria works away to make all of the milk into yogurt. The only challenge is getting the milk to the right temperature, but you will be well rewarded when you open your mason jars at the end and see that you have turned water into wine (or milk into yogurt). And imagine—a whole gallon of yogurt essentially for the price of a gallon of milk!
There’s also a great recipe on Fankhauser’s page for Labneh, a Lebanese soft cheese made from yogurt. It’s so simple—you just drain the liquid off the yogurt and voila, it’s cheese! So if you make all of that yogurt and then wonder, “what am I going to do with so much yogurt?” you can make a great soft cheese. Last time I made it, I mixed the labneh with some garlic and spices and made it into a great cheese spread.
Happy experimenting! More good eats to come, I promise!