Monday, June 3, 2013

Olive Parmesan Cocktail Muffins #MuffinMonday

This weekend we celebrated the achievements of our elder daughter, the beautiful and talented Victoria.  But her graduation from Rhode Island School of Design was tinged with sadness for our family because, as we flew north for the weekend, we lost one of our patriarchs.  If you have been reading for a while, you’ve heard about my wonderful mother-in-law and how she has cared for her ailing husband, through increasing infirmity throughout this last year.  As she held that sweet, caring man in the wee hours of Friday morning, he passed peacefully from this world and was freed.

We had just been up to their home for a quick overnight after arriving in from Dubai, and before leaving for Providence.  As I usually do, I cooked dinner (this time with help from my own dear mother) and my mother-in-law invited her friends for drinks and a meal.  It’s my way of giving her a break and repaying the many kindnesses and constant support her closest friends provide when we are away.  I made these little olive Parmesan muffins for appetizers.  Bob ate one as part of his evening meal that night.  We didn’t expect that when we left the next day, we would never see him again.  After all, this time, we would only be gone three days.  But the ache of missing is there and real.

A couple of years ago, I wrote Bob a letter, which my sister printed for me and gave to him on the occasion of the joint celebration of his birthday and Fathers’ Day, thanking him for the part he played in raising my husband to be the wonderful father and husband he is.  When he married their mother, Bob took on day-to-day responsibility for three more young boys, in addition to his two.  Together, he and Heather had one more.  The stories of “yours, mine and our” holidays with six boys were rollicking and joyous, but I am sure they required a logistical mastermind and a firm hand and an enormous sense of humor.  I am more grateful than ever today that I wrote down the words and that Bob read them and knew of my gratitude.  It is a debt I can never repay, no matter how many meals I cook or muffins I bake.

2 cups or 250g all purpose flour
1 cup, grated, or 90g Parmesan cheese (plus a little extra for after baking, optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and liberally grease your two 12-cup mini muffin pans.

Grate your Parmesan, if not already grated, and cut the olives into three or four slices each.

Set aside 24 middle slices for decoration, making sure you have red and green represented in each slice.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, salt, baking powder and Parmesan.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk your eggs, milk and oil.

Fold your liquids into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Fold in the sliced olives.

Divide the batter between the prepared cups in the muffin pan.

Top each with a reserved olive slice.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are lovely and golden.

Sprinkle on a little more Parmesan, if desired.  More cheese always equals better.

Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.

These are fabulous warm and go great with a glass of wine or whatever cocktail you are serving.

If there is anything my father-in-law enjoyed, it was a good meal.  Bob didn’t talk much in his later years because, after surviving cancer of the larynx 30 years ago, he spoke with esophageal speech, using swallowed air and his stomach muscles to create sound.  As he aged, and his muscle tone declined, he was less able to muster the strength required.  But Bob was lavish with his smiles and his  “thumbs up” whenever he was pleased.  The twinkle in his eyes said more than words ever could anyway.  He was one of my most generous supporters and, except for onions, he ate everything I made with relish and two thumbs up.

On 20 June, he would have been 85.  Happy almost Fathers' Day and almost Birthday, Robert Martin Lane.  You were one of the good guys and you are deeply missed.


  1. I'm deeply sorry for your entire family's loss. I must admit, I shed a tear because my dad adopted me and the love for a man who takes you in as their own whether they adopt you or not cannot be expressed in mere words. It takes a man with a huge heart to do that and I'm grateful to find 3 who were lucky just like me. And the recipe was great - I pinned it because I loved your idea about making them appetizers and I want to do that too!

  2. So sorry to hear your sad news. The love and respect you have for your father-in-law shines through and I'm sure will sustain you and your family in the days and weeks to come.

  3. G'day! Am sorry for your loss too!
    My dad would have been 87 on 13 July too!
    Your dad will always be around you every day!
    And you WILL feel his presence in an unusual way!
    Love the idea of your olive muffins...GREAT for entertaining!
    Cheers! Joanne
    What's On The List

  4. You are so right, Nancy! I actually wrote the letter first in December of 2006 but it took me several years to hand it over. We travel home at least once a year so I had plenty of opportunities. Isn't that terrible? I could see he was declining though and that's when I emailed it to my sister and asked her to print it and give it to him a couple of summers back. Why do we wait?

  5. Thanks All is good as I am happy, like you, I had the GREATEST dad in the world that continues to smile down from the heavens at me!
    All is good as he is no longer suffering and is where he belongs...with loved ones surrounded around uniquely :)

  6. Oh my goodness, Stacy. Amazing what can transpire in 24 hours. How blessed was Mr. Lane to have your kindness and baking in his life =) And your story of the letter to Mr. Lane is a great reminder to express our love always...Your olive cocktail muffins like all your food looks amazing =)

  7. Thank you, Kim. We are all so proud of her!

  8. What a great idea, and wonderful post! I am keeping this recipe and intend to take it for a ride, sooner than later! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks, Dan! Feel free to kick the tires and honk the horn. :)
    Muffins are adaptable creatures.


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