Sunday, March 16, 2014

Simple Homemade Muesli

Muesli is one of my favorite breakfast even since I was a little kid. I remembered when I was a teenage, my father and I used to go to a Germany Sunday brunch in Hong Kong once a month. My father loved sausages, the different kinds of cured meat and ham. That was a big treat for him. My father raised me as a meat eater, I turned to the cheeses, yogurt, the bread and sweets and I would always have a large bowl of muesli with fruit.
"Donʻt we have that at home?" my father would say.
"Yes, but itʻs different when they fix it" I would answer.
It was the same question and same answer every month for years.

Years later, I finally found out what was the difference. I learned to prepare muesli the right way from my Taiko Sansei Marco Lienhard.  Marco was from Switzerland and he was a member of the famous Ondekoza and lived in Japan for 14 or 15 years. He is one of the best Shakuhachi, Fur and Taiko master. He performs and teaches around the world. I am very honored to be the opportunity to study with him.

I was a taiko drummer before being a hula dancer. I "retired" from playing due to some injuries and joint issues. I missed my drums and most of all, I miss taking lessons from Marco. Marco is also a gourmet. We always ended up talking about food!! Sometimes I do wonder whether I miss the lessons or I really miss the food, the fun talk and the eating :). Of course it is the drums, Marco...

So.. here is the big step that was missing from my childhood muesli: let the cereal soak overnight...
My breakfast was usually prepared by our amah or Dad in the morning when I was growing up.
They treated the muesli just as any cereal - pour it in a bowl and pour milk over it and during the winter month, our amah would cook it like oatmeal. She would also sweeten it with sugar.

Marco showed me the right way by soaking muesli overnight with seasonal fruit. The flavor and the sweetness of the fruit infused the porridge. You can make it overnight. You have an instant breakfast in the morning. I would cook it for 2 min in the microwave in the winter and I have hearty hot breakfast.

The recipe for the muesli mix here is not traditional. I modified this a bit with ingredients ready available in the store. Traditional it should have rye flakes and barley flakes in the mix. I also added in ground flax seeds. This is a very simple recipe that you can easily alter for your taste or season:
1 - the Bran - I am using wheat bran here, you can use oat bran
2 - Farina - you can use wheat germ if you want
3 - Dried fruit - I change the fruit quite a bit. Raisin is sort of my "base". I would have chopped dates if I want a more traditional taste. Cut up apricot is great during the summer and I love cranberry in the winter. I am a blueberry mode lately.
4 - Nuts - almond is always my "go-to" nuts. You can use any combination you want. I mix in some pecan at times. Walnut is great. I also like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in the Fall.
5 - Milk - there are so many choices now. I am making a non-dairy version. I am using soy. Almond milk, coconut milk (non-dairy alternative, not the canned) are great options too. You can also go with milk. If you making Bircher Muesli - it is with yogurt and some milk.

This is my classic combo. In the winter month: this is what I would have:
Dried fruit  - raisin, cranberry.

Nut - chopped pecan, pumpkin seeds
Fresh fruit: Chopped apple and I always have banana.  

Have fun experimenting!

Home Made Muesli
The dry mix:
2 Cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat bran or oat bran
2 Tbsp Grounded flax seeds
1/4 cup farina or wheat germ
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almond - lightly chopped into smaller pieces.
Directions:
Spread 1/2 cup of the wheat bran on tin foil on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven. This will bring out the nutty flavor in the grain.
Toast the grain for about 5-10 till itʻs lightly golden.
Place the oat meal in a large bowl. Add in farina
Grounded flex seed
 Toasted wheat bran. The tin foil make it easy to add the toasted bran
 Almond or nuts of your choice
Dried blueberries
 1/4 cup of raisins
Mix well.
Store in an airtight jar.  Make 4 cups.

Making breakfast:
You can keep the porridge in the fridge up to 48 hours. It is best prepared overnight and I found it taste even better the 2nd day: This make about 3 serving for me.

1 Cup of Muesli mix
1 cup of fresh fruit of your choice
1 cup of milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
Additional fresh fruit as topping.
Directions:
Use a plastic or glass container with a tight cover.
Mix the muesli with the fresh fruit
Pour in the milk.
Mix well, cover the porridge and let it sit in the fridge overnight, up to 48 hours.
In the morning: 
Stir the porridge, if it is too thick, add more milk to your taste.
At this point you can transfer the amount you want to a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat for 1.5-2 mins to have a hot breakfast, or this can be served cold.
Top with additional fresh fruit of your choice.

Enjoy
Aloha!







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