Aside from raising four Littles, the most humbling, if not down right humiliating, thing I’ve done in a very long time is participate in French Conversation class at the Alliance Francaise. I’m one month in to these weekly gatherings and let’s just say things are going painfully slow. The good news is I understand everything being said in the class – religion, politics, casual banter. I’m quite impressed with my ability to hang with the conversations. Inevitably, however, the moment occurs when it’s my turn to speak. Oh la la! In my mind I have the perfect French accent and words flow effortlessly in thoughtfully constructed sentences. I really hear them in my brain this way, but something dreadful happens en route from my brain to my mouth. It’s as if my perfectly acquired French gets blended with Pig Latin and comes out heavy on the pork. Really. It’s that bad. So bad, in fact, I’ve concluded that the only true remedy for my ailing French is to immerse myself completely in the language and culture. Preferably in a charming pastoral cottage overflowing with peonies, chickens, and olive trees. So far, my French edification plan has fallen on Husband’s deaf ears.
My kitchen has reflected an eclectic offering of French favorites lately. Apparently the non-stop Learn French podcasts I pipe through the house have not only gone to my head but my stomach as well. Luckily the family views my culinary meanderings a bonus. Especially, oeufs cocotte. These simple eggs baked in individual ramekins will spice up any dulled breakfast routine. We adore eggs at The Schell Cafe. Husband and I eat egg whites almost daily, adding to them left over cooked veggies or something savory from our CSA basket. We also get farm-fresh, organic eggs delivered in our Johnson Backyard Garden CSA basket.
Baked eggs are deliciously cozy and equally perfect as a lazy Saturday brunch or a quick weekday breakfast. Since they require no time at the stove, these eggs have become a welcome addition to our early morning routine. And for a brief moment, while savoring the blended flavors of crunchy toast dipped in warm cheese, eggs and ham, my mind tricks me into believing I’m happily ensconced at a farmhouse kitchen table in Provence. Speaking perfect French, bien sûr.
Oeufs Cocotte (Baked Eggs)
eggs, 1 per person
ham, 1 slice per person
1 TBS Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, chopped
salt & pepper
Butter ramekins. Line each ramekin with a thin slice of ham. Crack egg into ramekin being extra careful not to break the yolk. Sprinkle each ramekin with one tablespoon of freshly grated cheese and green onion slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Egg whites will be set, but yolks still runny.
Remove eggs from oven and serve immediately with toast or warm bread.
À Votre Santé!