It's a rare thing for me to eat a substantial breakfast. I'm a coffee & smoothie devotee -- it's the one constant in my day, sort of like the one perfume I've been wearing for years without thinking.
But a few weeks ago, I crashed and became sick -- for culprits, look to stress, spring germs, erratic sleep, inconsistent weather, too many projects. On the first morning that I woke up feeling better, I was starving. I wanted to eat something relatively healthy but nourishing, settling. I wanted it to have fruit, too--vitamins, hydration. And if beautiful edible flowers were somehow involved in the situation, I wasn't about to object.
Then I remembered that I used to eat a ton of muesli in college. Muesli is basically a high-energy combination of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit soaked in a liquid, which might be anything from water or fruit juice to cream or milk. The basic formula allows for infinite variations and unbounded creativity. Any ingredient in your cupboard will work, as will any liquids you have in the fridge. And in the summer, it's a wonderful, no-cook option.
If you've seen recipes for "overnight oats," it's basically the same concept except that there's something about the term "overnight oats" that grosses me out.
As delicious as the muesli is on its own, it's incomplete without the sherry vinegar-roasted strawberries. A traditional muesli recipe would also include a fresh grated apple, added before serving. I replaced the apple with roasted strawberries for color and a brighter flavor. I could eat the strawberries alone -- they're complex, tangy, sweet but not cloying. Ever since I worked on this romesco recipe, I've been obsessed with sherry vinegar--an infatuation that has led me into far too many specialty shops in search for the perfect sherry flavor. It's less sweet than balsamic but just as, if not more, complex. And it syncs beautifully with fruit.
This recipe requires a few minutes of preparation the night before and about a half an hour of hands-off roasting in the morning, which makes it the easiest recipe I've ever posted, I think. It's perfect for a spring brunch or a special weekend breakfast. And it's the sort of recipe that encourages rest and relaxation. With that goal in mind, I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing and healthy week.
Vanilla Date Pistachio Muesli
1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
1-2 dates, Medjool pitted and chopped
3/4 cup almond milk (or other milk)
1/2 vanilla bean
toppings: Sherry Roasted Strawberries (recipe below), pistachios, edible flowers (entirely optional), milk or yoghurt, maple syrup or honey
In a small bowl, combine the oats, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, pistachios, dates. To use half a vanilla bean, cut a bean in half crosswise. Reserve one half for future use. Split the remaining half lengthwise with a sharp paring knife and scrape the seeds into the oat mixture. Add a pinch of sea salt and almond milk. Stir.
Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add more almond milk or some yoghurt if the muesli looks too dry. Top with roasted strawberries, more pistachios, edible flowers (if using), and maple syrup or honey, to taste. Serve.
Note: Add 1 or 2 dates, depending on how sweet you like it.
Sherry Roasted Strawberries
Adapted from Joy The Baker
1 lb. strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Hull and slice the strawberries in half or quarters, if the strawberries are large. Whisk together the maple syrup, sherry vinegar, coconut oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Toss the mixture with the strawberries until the strawberries are evenly coated. Spread the strawberries out on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the strawberries are cooked and a syrup forms. Keep an eye on the berries and remove from the oven before the syrup begins to burn. Transfer the strawberries and syrup to a dish and allow to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Note: The strawberries can be stored the fridge overnight but for best texture, though, use immediately. Also, coconut oil solidifies at cooler temperatures and the strawberries will adopt a white sheen. To regain a red color, reheat before serving.