Oeufs en Cocotte and a New Start

by Michael on January 3, 2012 · 49 comments

It was time for a change. It had been coming for a long time now. The only thing holding me back these last few months was time and patience and technical know-how. I plugged in pieces here and there and asked for help everywhere else.  There will still be some developments and visual changes in the near future but this is my new place now. For good.  New address, permanent switch. It was a long time coming but I’m finally home.  And it feels good.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone who answered questions along the way and specifically to La Fuji Mama  for help with designing my header. Thank you so much!

Thanks for dropping by and having a look around.

 I’m looking forward to the year ahead. There are big things in store. All thanks to you.

…Happy new year!

 A new year, new start. It ended just days ago but it seems distant now. Never to be forgotten but stored away tight. There will be time to remember, just not on this occasion.  There’s life waiting to be lived. So that’s what we did.  My wife and I enjoyed the first day of the the new year doing things we don’t normally get to do.  We caught up on some much needed sleep, spent time by each other’s side while reading and writing and, after a couple of quick trips to the kitchen, we enjoyed some afternoon time together eating food. Comfort food. Healthy food. Off to a good start.

 Time is important. It disappears like gypsies. We take moments for granted, assume things will repeat themselves and everything will always be good. It doesn’t. It’s not. Some days are a struggle. Other days come too easy.  We make mistakes and carry on. We live, always learning. The first chance we have after the dust settles on the fireworks that end the year, we sit down and talk. Reflect and list goals. Always looking to improve. On the past year, on ourselves.  We sit around the table with paper tightly clamped in our hands and we name the things we want to accomplish. No resolutions, just goals.

When I was young I lived for the chance to make resolutions. But they lasted as long as it took the ink to dry on my standard issue paper pad. Most years. They weren’t substantial. Enough. It was more a list of things I didn’t want to do or moments I didn’t want to relive. I had to think bigger. It took years to think that way, almost until the time I met W.  So out went the resolutions, they hold you back. And it thankfully erased all those empty resolutations of years past.

 The first day of the new year growing up was usually spent around the dining room table enjoying brunch. The morning usually starts later than most and because of that breakfast gives way to brunch, with plenty of good eats and tea and coffee and juice. We would pass the food around the table and load up our plates with eggs and cheese and meat  and potatoes. We would talk about the night that was and the agenda for the following year. Be healthy. Eat better. Every year.

Every year I vow to be healthier than the one that passed. We both do. Eat better, be healthier. And it’s not as complicated a goal as it sounds. It’s about time management and planning. Two things we always seem to be fighting because of lack of time. We’re busier than ever before and we are afforded less family time. Home time. So we take shortcuts and cheat. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s bloody harmful. Yes, even in moderation. So this year I hope to be including some friendlier meals for you, health-wise and heart-wise.  For you, but also for us.

And it’s already started. We woke up late on the first and spent some time together before our hunger called to us. I escaped to the kitchen to make these baked eggs. It’s probably the easiest breakfast you could ever make. I chopped up some fresh rosemary and sauteed some pancetta  before chopping them up and that was pretty well it. Easy. I added them with some single cream, parmesan and eggs to make this wonderful breakfast. That and some juice and it felt like I was back home as a kid all over again.

One thing happened along the way though. It wasn’t planned. It never is. And it was fairly scary. I added some toast soldiers to the oven on a baking sheet and, faster than you could blink or forget about them, they caught on fire. Within seconds those small individual fires had enveloped into one large fire. I turned off the stove. Kept the door shut. And I called 911. We grabbed our dog and went outside to wait for the firemen.

I was calm but anxious. My wife was more worried than I was, but I tried to keep her calm. I was pretty sure that if I didn’t open the door the fire would eventually be suffocated. But I wanted to be sure. And safe. Lucky for us the fire station is about two blocks away so the big, shiny red machine started down our street within a couple of minutes. Three men more prepared than I stepped into the house and went straight for the kitchen. It was already out. Thankfully. He grabbed the pan and the now completely burnt toast and threw it out back of the house.

I was right, thankfully. It doens’t always happen that way. The lack of oxygen killed the flames. I gave my wife a much needed hug and we came back inside and opened up the windows to let some of the smoke escape. We sat down and checked the Internet for things to do in case of an emergency. All kinds. Grease fire, electrical fire, etc.  It helps. Even if it just triggers something in your mind when something bad starts to happen. ( At the bottom of this post you’ll see a very important thirty second  video on what to do in case of a stove top fire. Watch it. You might already know but it could save your life.)

A new year, new start. Each year comes and goes but this one seems different. Feels different. I told my wife this will be the best one yet.  I have a feeling.  It got off to a bad start but it’s behind us now. Only big things ahead. Better things. 2012.

From my kitchen to yours,

Michael

 

Baked Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter, for greasing
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, grated
  • 6 slices pancetta,
  • 4 bsp. single cream (18%)
  • salt & pepper to taste

 Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.  Set aside 4 x 1/2 cup ramekins, lightly greased with butter. Then, start a kettle and bring to a boil and have a small roasting pan available.
  2. While the oven is preheating, saute the pancetta over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side, until slightly browned. Remove, and pat with paper towel and then chop. Reserve.
  3. Add 1/2 tbsp. of single cream to the bottom of each ramekin along with the nutmeg and half the rosemary.
  4. Carefully crack the eggs into a bowl before transferring to the ramekins. Transfer two eggs to each ramekin and season with salt & pepper. Add the other 1/2 tbsp. of cream around the edges of each ramekin and top with the remaining rosemary.  Add the grated Parmesan over top.
  5. Place the ramekins in the roasting pan and add enough of the boiling water so it comes up a third of the way up the ramekins.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the white of the eggs are just cooked.
  7. Serves 4.

 

P.S. Here’s the video. Watch it. Pass it on.

What Would You Do?

 

 

Leave a Comment

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food January 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

As we get older, I think resolutions are less important than goals… we should strive to be better people, to challenge ourselves, to want to embrace all that life has to offer. And I think the new look of your site, Mike, is a wonderful way to start the year!

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Michael January 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks Brian. I agree completely. Happy New Year!

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Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul January 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Happy New year Mike! First off, I love the new site. Congratulations! Secondly, whoa! what a start to the new year…glad it all worked out in the end. Here’s to a great 2012!

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Michael January 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thanks Peter! I agree. Happy 2012!

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J.B. January 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Michael:
Thoroughly your photography, your recipes and your ethereal writing! It would be interesting to have you devote some blog time to how you cook – for (2) two? Loved the baked egg recipe, (Oeufs en Cocotte), but you and your wife strike me as being quite young; no way you could have eaten that whole recipe for four (4) as posted, (unless you and your wife have hearty appetites or you are feeding a photography crew) . I am interested in having you reveal your thoughts and strategies for “Cooking for Two,” which is something I’m quite interested in. Happy 2012.
JB

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Michael January 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Thanks JB. All appreciated. We aren’t as young as you must think and we also share food with neighbours or just eat it ourselves. I’ll definitely keep it in mind. Happy 2012.

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J.B. January 2, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Whoops should proof-read my stuff! I thoroughly enjoy your photography…. is what I meant to say.

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Rosie @ Sweetapolita January 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Wow, Mike, that sounds like an adventure for certain, but beautifully written, as always. I love, love your new site, and I think it sets the stage for a fabulous year filled with your lovely tales & tastes. Congratulations, and I wish all the best to you and Wendy in 2012!

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SMITH BITES January 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

soooooo CONGRATS on the new digs – you look MAH-VUH-LESS!!! second, am really, really glad the fire was not as serious as it could have been and third, am completely with you about not using the word ‘resolution’! i have found that resolutions make me feel like i’m a failure whereas having a ‘goal’ gives me hope, is a marker to shoot for and even when i’m not fully successful, i find i’m further ahead than if i didn’t try at all. so here’s the a fresh new year full of health, happiness and the love of friends and family!

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Michael January 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Debra! Glad you agree. There’s definitely nothing but hope with goals and for a great 2012!

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Isabelle @ Crumb January 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

Congrats on the makeover, Mike. I love the new digs! Best wishes to you and your wife for the new year… it sounds like you started it off with a bang. :)

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Annalise January 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

Love the new look!! Wishing you the best for 2012!

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Karen @ superfinefeline January 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

Thank you for sharing this post. It’s awesome and a much needed wake-up call as I ponder setting resolutions that I know I have trouble keeping. The site looks absolutely awesome! Love the photography, the writing and the recipe. Happy New Year to your wife & you. The best is yet to be!

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naomi January 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I’m so glad to hear you and your wife are okay. Good instincts on your part about keeping the oven door closed.

The year can only get better, right? Happy New Year to you and your lovely wife and family. I’m looking forward to reading another year of your writing, drooling over your food and staring at your beautiful photographs.

The oeuf en cocotte look stunning in taste and photography.

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Michael January 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Thanks Naomi! Happy new year to you and your family as well!

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argone January 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

yum yum, I love “oeufs cocotte” … always a treat for me and my family !

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Joyti January 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I loved baked eggs, so creamy and rich. Lovely photographs and layout, too.
What a scary accident. Good to know that you, your wife, and dog were all safe.

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Paula- bell'alimento January 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Congratulations on your new home! It suits you. And whew what a close call! Glad y’all are alright – now time to move onto those bigger & better things ; ) Happy New Year!

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anh@anhsfoodblog.com January 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm

So happy to discover this blog.
Your photos are beautiful, and your words are even more amazing!

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Michael January 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Anh! I’m happy you found it too. Thank you kindly!

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Karen January 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Mike, the new site looks great and the first post is very well said. Congratulations on it all and happy new year!

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Michael January 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Thank you Karen! Happy new year!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen January 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Well that’s quite a start to the new year! lol Hoping that 2012 only gets better from here. Loving the new look of the site by the way!

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deborah d. January 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right..
> Oprah Winfrey<

I like this approach.
::soft smile:::

thank you for the video…it made an impact.

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Kristen January 4, 2012 at 8:49 am

What a scary morning for you! So glad it turned out ok.
Happy new year and love your new look :)

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Alyx January 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

I absolutely adore your blog! I came across it on foodgawker, and I’m glad I did! My yearly goal is always to become healthier as well, and this year I am actually doing it too! Glad to see that you and your wife will also be embarking on a healthful journey!

I’m sure that fire was scary, but it’s great the way you handled it, and that it didn’t grow larger!

I will most definitely be subscribing to your blog. Keep up the great posts!

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Michael January 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

Thank you Alyx! Happy new year to you. THanks for subscribing!

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Lana January 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Beautiful words as usual. Gorgeous photos, as usual. I love the new feel of your site, a bit moody, thought-provoking, light, but romantic. Here is to another successful year ahead, even though it started out with a jolt for you! Cheers!

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Steph @Lick My Spoon January 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Happy New Year, Mike!
I love the look of the new site — well done and welcome home indeed :)
Can’t wait to see what delicious things you have in store for us in 2012!
PS Glad everyone was ok and no damage done from the fire!
-s-

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Michele January 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I love your design and photography! Makes me hungry!

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Michael January 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

Thank you Michelle!

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beti January 5, 2012 at 2:34 am

it looks so simple but at the same time delicious, the few ingredients it has makes it even more appeling

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Lisa [With Style and Grace] January 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

LOVE the new look!! Happy new year my friend and excited to see what’s to come in 2012, Cheers!

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Michael January 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Thanks Lisa. So appreciated. happy 2012 to you too!

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marla January 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

What a story…I went from loving up the beauty of your new look to thinking about fire! I almost did the same in my oven last night with that chicken I was roasting.
Love the baked eggs, a BIG happy New year to you and your wife.
Congrats on all of your hard work in 2011 & lets have great health & success in 2012. You are always an inspiration to me.
Now I need to watch that important video :)
xo

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Lauren January 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Love the new site!! {And love Fuji Mama!}

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Móna Wise January 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I love your new site. So, is the pancetta in the mix with the rosemary too?
We make coddled eggs in a similar fashion with a smoked Irish rasher of bacon and
some chives. I love this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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Michael January 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thank you Mona! Yes, the pancetta is right in there along with the rosemary. enjoy!

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Stay-At-Home-Chef January 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

These eggs are a great start to a new year. I agree completely about goals vs. resolutions. Resolutions seem overly grand and short lived whereas goals are more of a lifestyle choice. Wishing you much happiness for 2012.

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Patty January 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Once again, a wonderful post. I look forward to them daily. You inspire so many people with me being just one of them. Thank you for the wonderful writing and the delicious recipes.
Patty

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Meeta January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Resolutions are pre-programmed to fail as soon as they are spoken. I do not believe in them and set goals that I like to follow. I hope you and W. had a great start to the new year and I really look forward to coming here and reading, drooling and smiling with you through your posts in 2012. All the very best Mike!

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najwa kronfel January 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

First time in your blog and I love it! your photography is beautiful!

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Michael January 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Thanks! Glad you dropped in.

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Carolyn January 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

The new site looks great, Mike!

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Michael January 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thank you Carolyn!

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Free Zumba Online January 26, 2012 at 2:37 am

This is my sixth time to your blog, I love it every time!

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Robin Schott August 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm

This looks so wonderful, I saved this to my allrecipes.com personal profile, but of course credited where it came from.. thanks for sharing..

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