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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Olive and Artichoke Savory Quiche Muffins

These savory quiche-style muffins are bursting with Mediterranean flavors, handy enough to serve at a buffet or grab on the go, and packed with a powerful dose of hunger-fighting protein. That protein, along with a good dose of calcium, comes thanks to a secret ingredient: cottage cheese. The taster reviews on this little recipe are through the roof, and it is being fast-tracked to a "SG Best of 2008" list. Because what's not to love? All that taste and goodness, and they are easy as sin to make. I whipped up a batch in under ten minutes of prep time.

Of course, time isn't the only thing we're economizing on these days. The economy, the economy. It's everywhere. It's driving me crazy, but I can't seem to escape it. It has even invaded my fridge. When I open my fridge now (quickly to save energy), everything lurking in there weighs on me heavily, demanding I make good use of all the food and not let anything go to waste. Well a little while ago the hubby and I bought a huge Sam's Club vat of cottage cheese. And there it was, expiration date impending, and cups of it remained to taunt me. What to do with it?

Olive and Artichoke Savory Quiche Muffins,
ready to be served.
So I hopped on the fabulous food blog search engine and looked for options to use cottage cheese...lots of cottage cheese. I thought I might find a few crazy versions of cheesecake, but no. What I found were lots and lots of tempting references to cottage cheese muffins. This proliferation in the blogosphere seems to have originated with the Sun-dried Tomato Cottage Cheese Muffin Recipe on 101cookbooks, who got it from Rose Elliot's cookbook Vegetarian Supercook. Riffed on by Kalyn's Kitchen who has produced Mushroom and Feta, Bacon and Green Onion, and Ham and Cheddar varieties.

Kalyn loves these muffins because they are great for the low-carb South Beach Diet. While I keep my eye on carbs, I discovered that I could nearly halve the fat per serving if I cut out the almonds and used flour instead, so that is the modification I have presented here. It required a little tinkering with the measurements to achieve the right final texture. I'm pleased to report that these muffins have a delightful almost airy texture akin to a more solid soufflé but without all the angst and threat of deflation.

The source of fresh goodness: my herb garden.
Recently transported from (summer) fire escape to (winter) kitchen shelf.

I was reserved about sharing these with the darling husband, because he doesn't like "eggy" dishes. And "doesn't like" is putting it too lightly. But one bite of these warm little breakfast quiche muffins, bursting with Mediterranean flavor, and he was hunting around for more. The exact quote was "Oh Wow. Those are good. [chew, chew] Sheesh, those are really good. [chew, chew] Are there more?" Ten minutes and one muffin later, "These are F*ing rockstar. You can make these whenever you want."

Olive and Artichoke Savory Muffins

Based on a recipe from

Serves 12

1 cup plain cottage cheese (low-fat is ok; either large or small curd ok)
3/4 cup good quality sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup green and kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup hot marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
6 olives, halved
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano
1/2 Tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon fresh, chopped rosemary
2 Tablespoon water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 dashes cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Use a silicone muffin pan, or grease and flour a muffin tin. These things stick like crazy to traditional paper muffin liners, so be prepared for some intricate peeling work if that is what you use. Foil liners may fare better, but I can’t be sure as I haven’t tested it.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the grated cheddar cheese and the six halved olives. Mix the remaining ingredients all together in a bowl. (Note: the size of the cottage cheese curd will not affect the smoothness of the finished product. I used regular fat, large curd and they turned out very smooth).


Divide mixture evenly into 12 muffin wells (each well should be about 3/4 full). Top with the reserved shredded cheddar cheese, press an olive half into the top of each, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center is set, risen, and golden brown. Serve as warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional content is per serving (1 muffin).


Adrienne said...

I LOVE these muffins. I blogged about them here:
and now I can't wait to try olive and artichoke. Sounds amazing!

Pirouette said...

Sounds like you're in the same place I am with trying to make good food on budget. It's hard and a bit of torture when you're craving halibut but have to make chicken. :)

Darius T. Williams said...

You could totally count me in for this one - this looks great!


veron said...

Oh my don't you just love how they turned out. Perfect! I know I will be daydreaming about these at breakfast tomorrow.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

Update: I made these again for a bacon party we hosted. Because we had so much heavy bacon, I just made a plain herbed version without the artichoke/olives (but with increased herbs) and they met with rave reviews. I doubled the recipe to make 24 with no problems at all, although I found I needed to add a bit more water. Use your judgment when adding the water: use a min of the 2 Tbsp recommended here, and up to 3.5 ish.

Hope you all enjoy them! No need to daydream. In 15 minutes they can be yours!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I'm all for savory muffins and cakes, and this sounds like a winning recipe.

Kevin said...

Those savoury muffins look really good!

Deelish Dish said...

Oh my gosh I HAVE to try these! I'm drooling right now...seriously. They sound amazing.

Anonymous said...

These look truly amazing!

Argus Lou said...

Hi. I tried these with a foil-lined muffin pan as well as muffin paper cups - both were just as sticky. Perhaps I should've greased the foil with butter, you think?

Delicious for when you can't deal with sweet stuff. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Huge hit in my house, I'm sure I'll be making these a lot for various occasions. I sprayed the muffin pan w/olive oil and they could not have been easier to get out.

The Monkeyhippy said...

These look amazing. Anyone know how well they freeze? Seems like the perfect grab-and-go breakfast but I live alone and I'm not sure I'd want them every single day.

Erin said...

Glad to hear these are such a hit! we love them here too. Nice to have something that is tasty, healthy AND easy to take on the go.

As for the freezing question, I confess I don't know. But it is a great question. I'm moving soon, so I won't have the chance to experiment for a bit. But if you find out, please let us know. On the other hand, you could always bring them into work and be a big hit with coworkers.

Anonymous said...

When I'm making these just for my husband, I use canned black olives. Also, hot artichokes are difficult to find in my area so I've been using hot banana peppers (chopped) which he loves.

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