In 1973 we bought a copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog, and we still have it. The 60’s and 70’s were the two decades most associated with the back-to-the-land culture, and though we never moved to a subsistence farm in the middle of nowhere, we had friends who tried it. We bought the catalog mainly because it was an important resource for anyone interested in doing things the old-fashioned way.
If you wanted to build a log cabin, learn how to raise goats or to make your own sandals, there were leads to the animals, tools, books and people who could help you. There were cookbooks listed as well. One of my favorites was Gourmet Cooking for Free, which included recipes for delicacies that people often discard, like beaver tail and moose nose. I searched Amazon and discovered that the book is now available in a Kindle edition in case you are looking for a recipe to turn that woodchuck in the back yard into a tasty stew.
While I was not looking for exotic meats, I stopped in at the Whole Earth Grocery shortly after I began working at the RiverTown Newspaper Group in River Falls, Wisconsin. I think that subconsciously I expected to find it staffed with people near my age who once dreamed of homesteading in Alaska. Instead, I found college students dedicated to the proposition that everyone should eat locally-sourced organic foods. That’s how I became acquainted with Erynn, manager of the store.
She liked the idea that I bought lots of yeast and baked most of our bread and that I, like her, felt that home-cooked foods were tastier and better for a person than most of the frozen and canned choices in the major supermarkets. We exchanged a few recipes. Here is one that I finally made. It’s a winner.
1 T cold water
1 tsp. olive oil
8-10 sausage links cut into pieces or 1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped red and/or green peppers
1 small onion (about 2 inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
Clean and chop the onion and peppers into an eighth to quarter-inch dice and set them aside in a small bowl. If you are using sausage links, cut them into thin rounds.
Cook the meat in a skillet over moderate heat until it is no longer pink and just beginning to brown. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces as it cooks if you are using bulk sausage. Set the meat aside in a mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350º and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Put the chopped pepper and onion into the pan and cook for about three minutes until the vegetables are tender but still crisp. Remove the pan from the heat and put the vegetables into the bowl with the meat. Grate the cheese and add it to the bowl. Mix everything together.
Heat the pan and coat it with a teaspoon of olive oil over moderate heat. Beat the eggs until they are lemon colored with one-eighth teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of water. Lightly scramble the eggs over low heat until they are cooked but not dry.
Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, garlic powder and an eighth teaspoon of salt into a sifter and add the flour mixture by thirds to the meat and vegetables. Mix the ingredients to the consistency of meatloaf. Fold the eggs into the meat mixture until the eggs are uniformly combined.
Form balls about three inches in diameter and slightly flatten them to make thick patties. Place them two inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for eighteen to twenty minutes until they are lightly browned.
Depending on how big you make them, you will have eight to ten Egg Bites. Enjoy!
Erynn noted that you can substitute bacon cut in small pieces and lightly cooked for the sausage and implied that you could use other varieties of Cheddar cheese. She also specified organic flour, but I must confess to using Hudson Cream Flour. It is not certified organic, but it is an exceptional product made from hard winter wheat in Stafford County, Kansas. It is not carried by stores in the Upper Midwest, but you can order it from the mill. Just search for Hudson Cream Flour.
You can freeze Egg Bites and microwave the number you need in just a couple of minutes. They are perfect for mornings when you are running late or when you have houseguests and would rather enjoy a cup of coffee and visit with them instead of cooking breakfast.
Erynn made a very good point as she concluded her email to me. “Ohh— remember to keep your ingredients as local and organic as possible!! It’s good karma and the taste is superior!”