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Archive for the ‘eggs’ Category

I love brunch. There, I said it.

What’s there not to like? Its a change to eat out on the weekends, normally with friends, have a hearty meal that always follows the same guidelines no matter where you go (pancakes if you want them, eggs in various ways with stuff inside, and other such things), it’s a great way to nurse a hangover, it doesn’t make you feel bad for not waking up before noon, and you can have breakfasty food for what really is lunch.

But sometimes going out for brunch seems like too much work. I just want to laze about at home in my pajamas. My friends don’t seem to be awake anyway. And none of our usual brunch places sounds appetizing. On some of those days coffee is about all I can manage, in others I feel like having real food is worth cooking and waiting for it to be done.

Oeufs en cocotte

Oeufs en cocotte

Lately I’m also having an obsession with baked eggs. They’re always good, no matter what they’re baked with. And if done properly, they go up to amazing. Runny yolks without the crispy whites – I know, blasphemy. What can I say, I never liked the Spanish style fried eggs. No need to have a side of potatoes. And the something else that goes in there is always good, be it spinach, ham, cheese, or – bacon. If you put bacon in there it just can’t be bad.

If we go out for brunch and there’s some kind of baked egg concoction on the menu, I’m likely to order it. Sadly, most places overcook the eggs to the point where the yolks are not runny any more. yes, I know that in a busy kitchen it’s hard to pay attention to the doneness of the eggs, but come on! Cafe Presse makes them pretty well, Smith and Oddfellows have nicer something elses, but overdo the eggs. But hey, if I’m going to be picky, I can always make them at home, right?

They’re actually pretty easy to make, but you’ve got to pay attention.

  1. Butter the container you’re going to bake them in.
  2. Put 1 Tbsp of cream.
  3. Add the other. In this case it’s bacon. Spinach works well. Ham and cheese (something tangy, like gruyere) is a classic. If you have nothing, it’s okay too.
  4. Put the eggs on top. Don’t forget a little bit of salt and pepper.
  5. Bake at 350 F in a bain Marie – in a baking pan halfway full with boiling water.

How long – how do you like your eggs? I like the whites to be barely cooked; in my oven that takes about 15 minutes.

Maneuvering the water bath contraption can be annoying. So experiment. Try a small cast iron skillet if you want. Try a higher heat, or under the broiler. Just watch the eggs and pull them out when you think they’re done. Don’t worry, as long as they’re not raw, even if you overcook them the taste will be good – and you’ll learn not to overcook them the next time.

Last weekend I was feeling fancy, and had some asparagus sitting in the fridge and no visible meals where I would use them. So they bacame part of our eggy brunch. My favorite way to make asparagus is to roast them at 400 F lightly coated with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for 20 minutes. And so I did.

Roasted asparagus with lemon beurre blanc sauce

Roasted asparagus with lemon beurre blanc sauce

Since I was feeling fancy this particular Saturday, I decided to make a sauce. Lemon beurre blanc, to be exact. It’s a buttery sauce which includes lemon, white wine, and shallots (though the shallots are strained out at the end). I’m not going to give a recipe for it … it was bad.

Though I’ll admit it was my fault. At the last moment I decided to half the amount of butter (trust me, it was a lot of butter) without halving anything else. It was like sucking on a lemon and washing it down with a shot of butter. The asparagus themselves were good, though. And to make matters even worse, not even the photos came out all that well! I messed up the whites balance, and my very impatient post processing couldn’t fix it. And I’d rather not say what i think the sauce looks like in the above photo. Did I mention that the asparagus were fine once you got rid of the sauce?

Breakfast at our place is hardly even a meal. Grab some coffee if you’re not running late, maybe toast if you actually have time to spare. No frills, no trying to eat together. Watching the clock because we have to dash out of the door soon. There is great pleasure in making a real meal out of it, that’s for sure.

Brunch chez nous

Brunch chez nous

If you’re a bruncher like us, don’t give it up when you have no-one to go out with, or getting out of your pajamas seems like too much work.

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Yum!

Yum!

Scrambled eggs with zucchini.

Slice one or two zucchinis as thin as you possibly can (hint: a mandolin works well, or a grater with big horizontal grating holes – just make sure you don’t grate or slice your fingers, I don’t think the blood would complement the rest of the ingredients). Sautee in a little bit of oil till tender. It will take a while. I also added some garlic paste, so I guess a finely chopped up clove should do the trick.

While that is cooking, pop into a 400 F oven a tray with asparagus drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper – shaken all around so that they are completely covered by the liquids.

Once the zucchini is done, turn off the heat from under that skillet. We’re going to wait for the asparagus to be just about done before adding the eggs so that everything can be served together and warm. But you can beat up the eggs meanwhile if you want to.

The asparagus will be done when they are done. Which is to say, play it by eye. They should at the very least have turned golden on the tops, or brown but not black yet. When that happens, turn the heat back on and add the eggs (2 or 1 per person, depends on how hungry you are) and scramble all around till done.

If you’re a cheesaholic like me, serve with a slice of Manchego cheese.

I couldn’t resist taking and posting this photo as it turned so pretty. And the eggs! Oh the eggs! Just look at them! Changed “brand” of eggs to buy and I think I finally found what I wanted: much more flavourful, intensely colored yolks, differently colored on the outside, not chemically washed.

And there was even dessert that night! Estamos que lo tiramos, seƱora.

Refreshingly fruity

Refreshingly fruity

Strawberries, fresh orange juice, little bit of sugar. It’s always good. The strawberries were not very ripe (duh) but a nice end to the meal.

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