Summer Love: Much Ado About Muffins

By Esther Boateng

My love-hate relationship with eggs is unique. Overall, I enjoy eating them for their nutritional benefits, but I don’t get overly excited at the prospect of eating a plain egg. However, if you put a plate of egg muffins in front of me that look like mini cakes, ah, that’s a different story; my heart skips a beat, and I go weak at the knees.

It might have something to do with the quality of ingredients. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with duck eggs from our local farmer’s market. Maybe this has inspired a burst of creativity in the kitchen, taking me away from the humdrum scrambled eggs I usually prepare as a quick lunch fix.

Duck eggs differ from regular chicken eggs in several ways: they’re usually bigger, with a larger yolk-to-white ratio; they contain less water and more fat; and they are rich in flavor, which makes them ideal for baking. The type of cheese you choose makes a difference in the taste of your egg muffins; anything with a ­bold-tasting bold flavor is probably a wise choice. Lately, I’ve been buying wonderful smoky cheddar from my local grocery store, which heightens the flavor profile, just like the potent blend of veggie powders I include in this recipe.

In my opinion, eggs can taste quite bland on their own. This is not the time to be timid with seasoning; rather, be bold and scatter generously, unless you're using Dr. Cowan’s Garden Turmeric Powder or Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt, in which case, a little goes a long way. Approach this dish as if you are making a ratatouille, minus tomatoes, and you will be well on your way to making a simple but tasty meal.

A general rule of thumb in cooking is taste as you go. A good time to taste your food is after the onions, garlic and other vegetables have been sautéed and sufficiently seasoned, and before the egg mixture goes into the ratatouille-like mixture. If you are using a small amount of bone broth, stock, or bouillon, proceed with caution.

Bouillon is another name for dehydrated stock or broth that is later rehydrated for use. I once made the mistake of adding a mushroom flavor bouillon to a recipe, and forgot to taste at regular intervals. I continued to add the regular amount of salt I normally use when I cook. The meal was almost unpalatable; it was far too salty. Commercially produced bouillon has a notoriously high salt content. Other alternatives include homemade bone broth or Better Bone Broth, if time is short.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can include as many or as few chopped veggies as you like. I’m not a huge fan of chopping, and given the choice, I prefer to skip it. A variety of veggie powders, plus bacon or pancetta, is my preferred set of ingredients. I get all the benefits of a nutritious meal, minus loads of chopping. However, there are times when I welcome this task.

This recipe pairs well with a warm potato salad or a Mediterranean salad. I love any dish made with potatoes. There’s no escape from chopping duties when it comes to making either of these side dishes. If I fancy a change from using regular potatoes, I might use sunchokes; it’s more nutritious to keep the skin on rather than remove it, and it also reduces preparation time.

The individual portion sizes of egg muffins are great for grab ‘n go moments like picnics, or for snacking while watching Team USA Olympic highlights; they are certainly healthier than a bowl of chips and a bucket of Buffalo wings.   



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