Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life in Flux...but Better with a Good Sunday Brunch

Oeufs en Cocotte

     Are we always in a state of flux?  Perhaps.  We are now entering Week 4 of a kitchen renovation and I am definitely feeling the "flux".  This isn't a huge renovation cabinets and countertops.  The only new appliances were to be a new cooktop and microwave.  Cabinets are installed and we are now waiting for the countertops, which seem to be taking forever.  I have no cooktop but I have learned how to cook using the burner on our outside grill.  Then last Sunday, the refrigerator died a horrible death and rather than try to bring it back to life...I added yet another payment to Lowe's.  When it rains, it pours.

Honestly, having this is saving me at the moment!

     Friday, Dear Husband arrived home from a two week trip to Asia.  While we had talked twice everyday, we had missed talking to him on Thursday.  By the time he arrived on Friday, he was exhausted...and sick.  He lasted fifteen minutes before going to bed once we arrived home.  We saw him for thirty minutes on Saturday as he spent most of the day in bed.  This morning, he was hovering over me, to ask where he should go on a Sunday morning if he needed to see a doctor.  Ninety minutes later, he arrived back home with his antibiotics.  He did manage to last through my "Welcome Home Brunch" but is back in bed now...maybe to rise for the Steeler game.

     So, we are in real flux this weekend.  I have felt the real need not only to write but to cook.  So, I am doing both today.  As I cooked breakfast this morning, I felt a calm come over me.  I was welcoming an old friend that I had not seen for a while.  As I type these words, I feel the same.  I will never be the writer I want to be but given my introvert ways, it is my way of being an extrovert.

     I first made this dish several years ago.  While in Belgium, we lived an hour away from the Le Creuset factory in France.  Once a year, they opened the factory doors for one weekend only and slashed their prices on everything.  You had to go with the mindset, "You get what you get."  You could not be hung up on color schemes or certain pieces.  Early one Sunday morning, me and two of my friends headed down the Autoroute to culinary heaven.  And this particular year, my color, blue, was everywhere.  I walked away with pots, soup bowls, and these little cocottes.  I had no idea what to make in them but they were so damn cute.  "I just had to have them!"  So, I left the sale spending about 200 Euros and had about 700 Euros worth of Le Creuset.  That, my friends, is money well spent.  We topped off our shopping spree with a delightful Sunday lunch...nothing better than shopping with friends.  It is a memory I will not forget.

My filling is leeks, shallots and bacon.  What will yours be?
Now, what do you make in those cute little mini cocottes?  They are perfect for this wonderful Sunday brunch recipe.  Actually, you can make them anytime of the week.  In fact, I make enough of the filling to last all week and then just pop them in the oven so Dear Daughter can have protein on school days.  You can use whatever filling you is one of those perfect recipes...make it what you want.

Crack the egg into the center of the pot.

Add a bit of cream and seasoning
Top with cheese

Place in the oven - either on a pan or in a water bath

Oeufs en Cocotte - Shirred Eggs

1 leek, thinly sliced
1 shallot, diced
1T butter
3 slices of bacon, diced
Salt and Pepper
Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet, cook the bacon until nearly crispy.  Add the leeks and shallots and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add about 2T heavy cream and cook down until thick.

In ramekins or cocottes, lightly butter the bottom and sides.  Place a spoonful of the leek mixture in the bottom of each.  Make a slight indention the middle.  Crack one egg into each ramekin/cocotte.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle a bit more cream and top with shredded Gruyere.  I topped mine off with some chopped chives.  Place the tops back on and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes based on how you like the egg.

You can also cook this in a water bath - it tends to take a bit longer but it also allows you to control the runny-ness of the egg.

What is so great about this recipe is that you can assemble ahead of time and then pop them in the oven.  I serve them with a small green salad and toast.


Yep, he is sick and both are not happy about having a picture taken!