A couple of weeks ago, I was in the cheese section of the grocery story. I didn’t notice the little animal pictures above each type of cheese, so I was picking up this wedge and that, scanning for information, on the hunt for a good, hard goat cheese.
After a few minutes, a woman with a store name-tag appeared at my side and pointed out the animals—silhouettes of cows, sheep, goats, then, as if reading my mind, picked up a wedge and said, “This one is good…not too goaty.”
I’ve been eating goat cheeses for years, but have never tasted goat meat, so I wouldn’t recognize any flavor as goaty…or not. On the other hand, I have eaten sheep’s milk cheeses that reeked of lamb chops, shanks, untreated wool, and that left me feeling as though I’d bathed in their essences.
But back to that particular cheese. I bought it, used it in an omelet, and found it acceptable. Not goaty at all…whatever that is.
I do like goats. A former neighbor brought one home from the zoo nursery where he worked, and I have fond memories of its budding horns and amber eyes, feeding it with a bottle, and watching its little tail wag like crazy when I scratched its head. It didn’t have any kind of distinctive odor. It was just delightful, relishing the nourishment, the human contact, and I was sorry to see it go back to the zoo.
Sometimes, when the grass is tall and bright, I fantasize about having a goat, letting it gnaw happily on my overgrown lawn, admiring its horns, scratching its head, and waiting for its tail to wag. I imagine myself planting daisies for it…that is, if goats like daisies, and peering into the neighbors’ windows to see if they’re looking out and saying, “There’s a goat in that garden, eating daisies….”
…which has nothing to do with muffins, of course. They’re in the title because I needed something sweet, starchy, and breakfast-y to go with the ungoaty goat cheese omelet, and since I had an assortment of lovely apples on hand, I used them. The muffins are gluten free, and the recipe is below.
Gluten Free Apple Muffins
Two medium apples, any variety, peeled and grated, or chopped in food processor (do not strain and discard liquid). Note: I suppose you could substitute apple sauce for this, but I haven’t the foggiest idea how much to recommend. If anyone tries it, I’d love to know what works.
Two extra large eggs
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola, but any bland oil will do.)
1/3 cup dark raisins
1 cup gluten free flour mix*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 400º. Grease 10 muffin cups or use 10 liners. Beat eggs in bowl, add grated apples (including liquid), brown sugar, oil, and raisins. Blend well. Mix dry ingredients, sift into into egg/apple mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. If batter is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water (or apple juice, or milk, or coconut milk, whatever seems appealing). The batter should be moist, but substantial, not runny. Spoon into muffin cups until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool on rack.
Slather with butter, honey, or your favorite ungoaty, softened chèvre.
Gluten Free Flour Mix (Bette Hagman’s formula)
2 cups rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
(Suggested Reading: “Unicorn in the Garden” by James Thurber)