Muesli at the Andaz Hotel (note the fancy raisins)
Every year, my husband and I go on a "stay-cation" for our anniversary. That is to say, we stay here in New York City, but head to a swanky hotel for a night off in each other's company. It's a tradition of ours that I love -- it brings us back to our carefree (sort of) lives pre-child. Included in the evening is of course a dinner out somewhere easy (no thumping music or waitlists) and exceptional. For example, John Dory, where we had a fabulous seafood plateau.
In terms of hotels, this year, we stayed at the super-cool Andaz on Fifth Avenue, and had a beautiful view overlooking the New York Public Library. And of course, when we woke up (LATE!) we had breakfast in bed.
If I believed in heaven, it would include very good room service. I ordered a bowl of muesli because I wanted something soft and comforting. And that's what I got, a bowl full of sweet, soft oats topped with bananas and those exotic seeming stem-on raisins, which were so sweet they tasted like candy.
The muesli was so good, I decided to make my own version at home. I hadn't made muesli in years. Although I eat oatmeal and granola all the time, I just never think about extending my oat-love to muesli. Another motivation was that I really wanted to make some for Daniel , who doesn't eat milk or yogurt. So instead of using the usual dairy to soak the oats, I swapped in coconut milk. With a bit of fresh orange juice and zest for brightness and a grated apple for subtle sweetness, my muesli was off and running.
Here's a trick I learned about grating apples. Just slice big "cheeks" off the core and grate them against a box grater. The flesh will come away from the peel in a cinch, and the peel protects your hand. See?
Finished with a sprinkling of toasted coconut chips, a bit of fresh fruit, and some really well-toasted whole almonds, my muesli was satisfying and almost as pretty as the Andaz's version (I couldn't find the stem-on raisins but honestly I didn't look very hard).
By the way, be sure to add the almonds at the last minute—you want them to retain their crunch.
And Daniel was delighted with his breakfast, even if I didn't serve it to him in bed.
Serves 3 to 4
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup coconut milk (more as needed)
1 orange, juiced and zested to yield about ¼ teaspoon of the zest (about half the orange)
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Pinch of salt
1 apple, grated
½ cup dried cherries or other fruit
½ cup skin-on almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried coconut chips, toasted (optional)
Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)
1. In a medium sized bowl, combine oats, coconut milk, orange juice and zest, honey if using, salt, grated apple, and cherries and stir to combine. If the mixture seems dry, stir in a little more coconut milk. Allow to soften in the refrigerator for at least 1 ½ hours or up to 3 days.
2. Serve muesli with a sprinkling of toasted chopped almonds and coconut, and fresh fruit if you like.