I lived the first four years of my life in Germany. My memories of Germany are few and fuzzy—and limited to a child’s perspective: running to tell my mom about the flock of sheep crossing the road; eating fresh brötchen from the bakery; playing dolls with my sisters and being bullied by our older brother. There’s also the memory of breakfast. While I don’t remember what we actually ate for breakfast, I do remember my mom saying that some German people like to eat their oatmeal with orange juice. Orange juice?! With oatmeal? What’s wrong with the old standby—milk? I’ve puzzled over the odd combination of orange juice and oats for years.
Fast forward to last Tuesday. Tired of my usual eggs and toast or cereal for breakfast, I dreamed of Muesli, a welcome change in my usual breakfast routine. Yes, muesli would break my breakfast boredom: it’s not processed, it’s full of fruit, whole grains and calcium-rich yogurt and it’s tasty. When I dug up a muesli recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook, I was surprised to find that the oats and dried fruit are soaked overnight in orange juice. Ah ha! So this is how the Germans eat their oats with orange juice! I followed the muesli recipe and soaked my oats in orange juice. Oddly enough, I really loved the bright flavor the citrus imparted to the oats. And since you mix in yogurt at the end, it doesn’t feel like you’re just eating oats with orange juice.
I’ve included two muesli recipes below. The first is my simplified version of The Gourmet Cookbook’s muesli recipe and the second is the actual Gourmet recipe. I used whatever dried and fresh fruit we had on hand, so feel free to adapt the recipe according to what you have in your cupboards.
A’s Simple Muesli for Two
Mix together and soak overnight:
¼ cup rolled oats (or mixture of barley, rye, wheat and oats)
¼ cup steel-cut oats
½ cup orange juice (or enough to cover the oats)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 dates, chopped
In the morning, add:
½ apple, grated
½ banana, grated
½ cup yogurt, or to taste
1 tablespoon almonds, chopped
The Gourmet Cookbook’s Birchermuesli
3 navel oranges
1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
? cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
? cup raisins
2 firm but ripe pears
2 firm but ripe bananas
½ cup (3 oz) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
½ cup (3 oz) sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups plain yogurt
Finely grate zest from lemon and 1 orange. Squeeze juice from lemon and all oranges. Stir together oats, zests, and juices in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in apricots and raisins. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours.
Coarsely grate apples, pears and bananas on large holes of a box grater, turning apples and pears as you go to avoid cored. Stir in muesli, along with hazelnuts, almonds and yogurt. Serve with honey for drizzling.
From The Gourmet Cookbook (p 626).