Swiss Muesli

“Busy” is one of my least favorite words. It’s exaggerated and overused, an excuse for flakiness or laziness, and a way to make us seem more prestigeous. I try not to get swept up in the whole “I’m so busy” thing, firmly believing that I will make time for the things that are most important to me.

That said, with classes and work and the rest of life, I certainly have to be smarter about how I use my time lately. I do a lot of mental calculations to determine if it’s better to go out with friends or go home and do the pile of laundry that is oozing out of my closet like some horror movie villain. I allow myself a few meals out a week, because cooking is just not always happening. I have, on occasion, prioritized sleep over running and socializing over sleep. But so far, things aren’t too bad. I’m surviving, and I’m mostly happy.

One of my favorite time-saving techniques is batch cooking. I’ll hit my kitchen on a Sunday or a Monday and make a big pot of something to eat all week. This saves time, and helps ensure I’m eating right most, if not all of the time. Lately, in addition to lunches I’ve also been making breakfasts. At first, it was just plain old overnight oats, but then I remembered the muesli I had at Swiss Bakers a few months ago. The muesli there is insanely good… like so good that there is no way it’s good for me (hint, it contains whipped cream!).  I started to wonder if I could make a muesli at home that would taste almost as good, but also be better for me. A bit of experimenting led to a basic recipe that tastes like it’s a lot worse for you than it actually is.

My favorite part about muesli is that it can be altered to your tastes, or whatever’s handy in the kitchen. It takes about 15 minutes to make a batch, which makes about five, one-cup servings. Essentially, breakfasts/ snacks for a week.


Swiss Muesli
1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk, but use any milk you like)
1 cup non-fat yogurt
2 cups rolled oats
3 apples, grated or shredded (peel if you want; I don’t)
1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (or another nut/seed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons honey (or agave or other sweetener)

Other optional adds: wheat bran, ground flax, chia seeds, spices, seeds, nut butters

Comine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight in refrigerator. Store in closed jars. Serves five to six.


Chive blossom vinegar

Memorial Day has passed, I’ve switched from red wine to gin, and started getting pedicures again. Technically, I suppose, it’s summer, though the rain and chilly temps this week have me feeling otherwise.

We did have a brief glimpse of what summer is supposed to look like, a few fleeting days where I could wear sundresses and sandals and revel in the feeling of the sun on my skin. After work Friday, a few colleagues and I gathered on my office terrace to celebrate the end of the academic year, and soak in the feeling of summer. While I generally don’t say much about work, I will say this: we have one of the best views in Harvard Square.


A few of my craftier colleagues banded together this year and started a garden on the office terrace, hauling pots of herbs and vegetables up to the 10th floor of my building. I’ve contributed nothing but smiles to their efforts (my thumbs tend toward brown), but they’ve still let me partake in the fruits of their labor- lovely bunches of kale, mint, and thyme. When I went out to harvest them last week, I noticed that the scallion plant was also blossoming, and I knew at once how I could repay my colleagues’ kindness: with chive blossom vinegar.

chiveChives blossoms often get overlooked for their sturdier, flavorful stems. But these seemingly dainty flowers impart a lovely flavor to cheese spreads and salads, and a bottle of infused vinegar makes a pretty and delicious gift.

It’s also dead simple. Snip the flowers just below the bud. Wash, put in a mason jar, and cover with vinegar (I used apple cider, but white will do just fine). Shake to combine, wait about a week, and voila… chive blossom vinegar.

chive3The vinegar is great in salad dressings or marinades. Add a few teaspoons (or Tablespoons) to sautéed greens like kale or collards. A touch in an aioli would be superb. Mix with soy sauce and sesame oil to make a dip for dumplings. Drizzle with olive oil on an avocado toast. Get it?

Chive2Ok, then. Go make some!


So, we had a bit of snow here in Boston.


It’s sort of amazing to me that with all the technological advances of the 21st century, things still come to a screeching halt for Mother Nature. Of course, thanks to some of those technological advances, Tuesday was a sort of work day anyway. In addition to job stuff, I spent a couple of hours shoveling. That was real work. I’m glad I train for life.

I hunkered down with some friends Monday night. There was wine and stories. A guitar singalong. Sledding down streets. The usual urban adventures.


Times like this lend themselves well to slow cooked meals that stick to the ribs, so I made a fabada right before the storm hit. A fabada is a Spanish bean stew filled with pork parts. Traditionally, a pig trotter and ear are thrown in, but I wasn’t about to make a special trip to the grocery store before #snowmageddon, so I used what was on hand: pancetta, pork loin, chorizo, and pork belly. Pancetta was the only non-traditional ingredient, but it worked.

This is a meal best cooked overnight and then allowed to sit for a day, as the beans soak up more flavor as time goes on. But if time is short you can always eat it right away; it’s still pretty delicious straight out of the oven.

(serves 6)

1 lb white or navy beans
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
6 cups chicken stock
1 lb chorizo sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 lbs pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz pancetta
8 oz pork belly, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tb paprika
salt to taste
balsamic vinegar/glaze (optional)

Combine beans, onion, garlic, and stock in a large dutch oven and bring to a boil over high-heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for an hour. Heat oven to 250. Add meats, paprika, and salt to the beans and put the pot in the oven (if you need more liquid, add water to cover the beans). Cook six to eight hours, until beans are tender. Remove from oven and let cool. If you can wait a day to eat it, do. Serve drizzled with a bit of balsamic, or balsamic glaze.