The French do a thing called “cake” that doesn’t resemble Anglo-Saxon cakes, aka gâteaux, at all. These “cakes” are savory, often with ham, bacon, smoked salmon, cheese or something similar.
I wanted to make a healthy, kid-friendly version of French cake in muffin form, for a quick breakfast. The plan was to make a giant bunch and freeze them, and just pop one or two in the microwave.
However, I didn’t find any recipes that aligned with the ingredients on hand. And, it being Sunday, no shops are open (folks in big cities might be able to shop, but around here, it’s out of the question).
So I made up my own recipe based on what I had, plus several decades of experience making carrot cake and zucchini bread. But those have sugar, and I wanted to do savory. Our doctor is big on the Chrono Régime (diet), which is about eating the right things at the right time of the day. One thing she stressed is putting off eating sugar, to avoid having a drop in energy and more sugar cravings later in the morning. Protein and complex carbs are better.
So I tried to come up with some muffins that fit the bill. The process was really n’importe quoi—completely by the seat of the pants. I had whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, eggs, and a bunch of veggies. I had planned to include spinach, and washed it and everything (I buy it at the market from local farmers, and it’s always full of sand and snails), but then I forgot to include it! Guess we’ll be eating spannakopita this week.
This is really easy, because I only make things that are easy. It’s clearly not a strict recipe, because I just made it up, and I am sure that the next time, I’ll have slightly different stuff on hand and will make it slightly differently.
This is how my grandma cooked.
Me: How much flour are you using, Grandma?
Her: Oh, about like this.
Me: How much salt was that?
Her: Oh, you know, a pinch. (She kept her salt in a jade green bowl, and grabbed what she needed with her fingers, not a spoon)
All that counts is the result, and these were good! Tasty and moist. I am inordinately pleased with myself.
If you have suggestions or improvements to the recipe, please share them in the comments!
Veggie breakfast muffins
1 red pepper (they are cheap here, about a quarter of the price of the U.S., so we eat them a lot, plus our kid eats them as if they were candy. Leave it out if you want. Or replace with cut-up sun-dried tomatoes, to keep the muffins colorful)
(I also had prepared broccoli for dinner tonight and I minced the stalk very finely so nobody would notice—just to add vitamins. DON’T TELL ON ME)
I grated the carrots and diced everything else finely.
In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups (140-ish grams) of whole-wheat flour (this happened to be what I had left. I said it was n’importe quoi)
1 1/2 cups (also about 140 g) oatmeal (also what was happened to be left in the box)
2 sachets of baking powder—22 g (I think that’s 5 teaspoons, which seems like a ton!)
1 cup grated cheese (actually I took a big handful of emmental, which is the most typical, least expensive cheese around here. Emmental practically takes up an entire aisle in the supermarket. I really should have measured it, but I thought of that after I’d already stirred it in)
1 tablespoon cumin (you could try other spices or herbs, like basil or oregano or both)
salt (sorry, but I measure like my grandma, putting some in the palm of my hand and deciding it’s enough, not enough and adding, or too much and sprinkling off a bit into the sink)
In a small bowl, combine:
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil (about 15 ml) I used canola, but anything is OK
1 cup yogurt (2 single-serving containers, or 250 g). I used 0% fat, but again, anything is OK
Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Dump in the veggies and mix well. It looks a little thick, but the veggies and yogurt will moisten the result.
I used muffin/cupcake liners; fill them up generously and you’ll get 24.
Bake at 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) for about 20 minutes.
7 thoughts on “Let them eat French cake…for breakfast”
Great idea…and they look delicious!
They ARE delicious!
They look delicious! Love the addition of all the veggies.
I was really worried that they would either be as hard as rocks (because of the whole-wheat flour and oatmeal) or gooey messes (because of all the veggies). But they were just right. I still can’t get over it!
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Interesting ideas about eating certain foods at certain times of day. I love your muffin idea and may try them, but I’m afraid they’d all be gone in one morning at my house. I guess that’s not such a bad thing.
So glad I found your blog since my husband and I plan to move to the Languedoc area next May.
I’d love it if you’d play along with Dreaming of France when you have a chance. I post every Monday. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme
I’d like to try your recipe but the amounts of the ingredients confuse me. Should I follow the American measuring units or the metric ones? It looks like they differ, e.g. 1/2 cup of oil is about 115 ml, 15 ml is just a tablespoon. I don’t think the flour amount in cups and in grams is the same either.
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15 cl is 150 ml. That metric thing.
Use the measures you’re more comfortable with. I have many this a bunch of times (including yesterday!) and it works even if you aren’t very accurate. For example, I have a different amount of vegetables every time because they aren’t a uniform size. I grate the whole vegetables and use what’s there, even if it’s a little short or a little over.