My Uncle Barry died last week. He was ninety two, lived independently up until his final weeks, and his family was with him when he breathed his last breath. He helped raise me, and I am very close to his children. As sad as I am to have lost him, the fact that he lived so long and well is a comfort. An intensely creative man―he was known to make spray paint machines out of old vacuum cleaners, and carousels with moving parts out of scrap wood―he left behind a wealth of love and kindness, not to mention three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
My own father died forty years ago this month. He was a few months shy of his fiftieth birthday. I was ten. The trajectory of his life was clearly different than my uncle’s. He died in his prime after suffering a long battle with cancer. But here’s the thing—I never missed him. Don’t get me wrong. I would do anything to have even one more moment with him. Feel one more of his hugs. Laugh with him. There’s no question that he would do the same. He craved a bit more time with my mother, sisters, and me. The reason I never missed him is because I carry the strength of his love and our connection with me, and it continues to grow. My father was such a cheerful and generous man that the love he poured into me, the bond he and I shared, has never weakened. Rather, it’s strengthened over my lifetime. I see him in my husband, who shares my father’s zest for family. I see him in my son who shares some of my father’s features―his skin tone, his eyes, and his sense of humor. I see him in my daughter who inherited his optimism. And I see him in myself, every day. He taught me to love.
Saturdays were a special a day for my father and me. We’d get up early and slip out of the house quietly so as not to wake my mother and teenaged sisters. We headed to synagogue together after breakfast at the local diner. I know it’s incongruent, but I learned to love eggs and bacon at those meals before we headed to prayers. Rye toast with melted butter. Hash browns. Hot coffee. We’d both order the same thing and I still love that meal today.
These Bacon and Cheese Muffins remind me of those breakfasts long ago with my father. Crispy bacon is wrapped in a batter filled with maple syrup, assorted cheeses, finely chopped onions and herbs. With the mixture of savory and sweet, these muffins are equally good for breakfast or dinner.
They ain’t kosher, but like my breakfasts with my father long ago, they're filled with love and joy.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Bacon and Cheese Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup rye flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 1 ½ cups mixed grated cheeses (parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, cheddar)
- 8 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped finely
- pea shoots or microgreens, for garnish (optional)
- Position a rack near the top of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Line two 12-cup muffin pans with 18 paper liners, spacing the evenly between the two pans.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, honey, and maple syrup together. Incorporate the eggs, slowly, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Greek yogurt and milk. Beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, rye flour, baking soda, sea salt and Herbes de Provence. Add to the bowl of the mixer and mix until just combined. Add the cheese, bacon and red onion. Mix again until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 18 muffin cups.
- Place in the oven and baked until golden, about 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly. Remove from muffin tins.
- Serve warm garnished with pea shoots or microgreens.
- This recipe is closely adapted from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan.
- These muffins are best eaten warm, the day they are made. If not using right away, freeze in an airtight container and reheat just before serving.
- For a vegetarian muffin, substitute chopped sundried tomatoes or roasted red peppers for the bacon.
- For breakfast, serve alongside a simple omelet or scrambled eggs. For lunch or dinner, serve with Roasted Carrot and Potato Soup with Kale Salad.