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.