Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking the white trash out of the egg casserole -- and the personality as well

I had big plans for my mom’s white trash egg casserole. HUGE plans. Plans so big that my muffin tin couldn’t even contain them. (Literally – but more on that later.)

I was going to give my favorite Easter brunch recipe an extreme makeover – reducing the size for better presentation, replacing the herb stuffing cubes with real bread croutons, subbing in goat cheese for the cheddar, and nixing the ham in favor of tender roasted asparagus and shiitake mushrooms.

It was going to be something really special. Heads would turn, the audience at home would cry over the shocking transformation, and I would eat a delicious lunch.

Or so I thought.

As it turns out, whole wheat bread that has been cubed and toasted in the oven to form croutons is not an adequate replacement for Mrs. Cubbison’s herb seasoned cube stuffing. The chunks of bread rehydrate when baked with the eggs and milk, forming an undesirable whole wheat bread crust that eradicates the souffle-like texture of the original recipe.

The tender fresh roasted vegetables I was so excited to delicately sprinkle over the top of each mini egg casserole made me sorely miss the salty chunks of processed ham in my mom’s version. My fancy goat cheese from Whole Foods lacked the ooey gooey texture of the molton Tillamook cheddar cheese. And the muffin tins were not large enough for their gourmet contents. Mid-way through the baking process, the egg and milk mixture began oozing over the top, requiring me to do quick plastic surgery to save the integrity of my somewhat disastrous lunch.

While the resulting mini un-white trash casseroles looked good, they lacked the personality of the original. My extreme makeover proved to be completely unwarranted and unnecessary – like I’d gone and given the Mona Lisa a few swipes of blush and mascara.

Though rough around the edges, my mom’s egg casserole is an atypical beauty – the girl next door, the brunette in a room full of blondes, Jan on the "Brady Brunch" – and all the better because of it. It doesn’t need any enhancements; it just needs someone to recognize its inner beauty – cube stuffing, cheddar cheese, processed ham and all.


Kitten with a Whisk said...

I too have learned that there is no "improving" to some of my mom's dishes. Like my mother's chicken cordon bleu casserole which uses american cheese and shake n bake on the chicken, take away those to elements and it lacks that special flair.

cyberHag said...

Grew up with a similar cheesy casserole, called souffle in my fam. And still devoured at every holiday. Mom is always right! lol

Anna A. said...

Well all be darned, these lil muffins look mighty cute if you ask me. But I guess you can't mess with le classques du white trash.

Esi said...

Sorry these weren't everything you hoped and dreamed they would be.

Nicole said...

oh no! sorry your re-vamp didn't work out! they sure do look good though! :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Woops! Back to the drawing board!

Jenn said...

Aww...sorry it didn't work out. There's always a next time. I guess for now you can stuck to the tried and true recipe.

Bianca said...

I'm sorry gal! You took a risk & went for it though which is good! Funny how I happened upon this post today cuz I had a quiche for dinner! Also it just reminded me that I shoulda asked my mom more things about her recipes before she passed cuz there's one thing I still haven't been able to replicate!

Ashley said...

msg : chinese food

cubbinson's cube stuffing : white trash casserole


RG said...

looks great, I applaud and admire your creativity and efforts....but really? a brunette in a room full of blondes? Blonde doesn't always equal beautiful, brunette doesn't always equal ugly.

Diana said...

Rae - Hah, shake n bake and american cheese = classic! Sometimes mom knows best. :)

CyberHag - I think the nostalgia factor has a lot to do with it too. Everything tastes better when its attached to a memory.

Anna - Aren't they cute?! I think that's why I felt compelled to post about them -- even if they were a fail!

Esi - Tear, tear. Thank you for your condolences.

Nicole - Thanks!

Chrystal & Amir - You betcha! I think next time I'm nixing the bread altogether!

Jenn - There's a reason they call them "tried and true" recipes, I guess. Though a little improvisation never hurt anyone... ;)

Bianca - My mom's recipes are probably my favorites to make. So many memories steeped into each one.

Ashley - :)

RG - Oh yes, I am very aware that brunettes can be the showstoppers. I was just kidding around. ;)

Kung Food Panda said...

I love the fact you added shitake mushroom in this. This looks better than any quiche I've had!

RG said...

Thanks Diana, I love your posts, your writing style, and your reviews. I am eager to try the original recipe for the casserole now!

Diana said...

Danny - I can't get enough of shiitake mushrooms lately! Been wanting to add them to EVERYTHING! But not oatmeal. Definitely not oatmeal. ;)

RG - Thank you so much for the kind words - I so appreciate it! If you do try the original recipe for the egg casserole, please let me know how it turns out.