Let’s stay on the breakfast tip, shall we?
So fine, there’s nothing magical about the first meal of the day. Eating shortly after you wake up won’t transform you into a lean, mean, fat reducing grilling machine; I’d also argue that breakfast foods aren’t inherently any better or worse than what we eat during the rest of the day, and that the fetishization of breakfast is one of the more irritating methods by which boring people commonly attempt to make themselves seem more interesting. (Hello, my name is Hillary, and I simply must learn to form an opinion.)
That said: I’m also one of those people who is tends to be starving the very second they wake up, and pretty much the only reliable way to fill me up until lunch (which I like to eat as soon as it’s socially acceptable, at the stroke of noon) is with a plate of eggs.
A cute little ramekin of eggs — spiked with half and half, a few simple spices, and a thick carpet of cheese — also works. Even when the recipe itself is one of the less successful ones I’ve made from Nonnie’s cookbook so far.
2 eggs per person
Grated Swiss, cheddar, or jack cheese [I used cheddar, because duh]
Half and half
Salt and pepper
Grease a shallow baking dish with softened butter (or use individual ramekins). [I went with the latter option because I am only one woman, and I just couldn’t justify eating a giant baking dish of eggs all by my lonesome. At least, not on a weekday morning. Going the former route, though, would be a great way to make a big dish for a brunch crowd without having to cook individual portions to order.]
Grate enough cheese to cover bottom of baking dish. Break eggs carefully over cheese. Add salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon half and half per egg. Place in pre-heated 350 oven and bake 10 minutes, or until whites are not watery.
The verdict: Those directions? Yeah, they’re total bunk. I was hoping to end up with a little dish of eggs that had the consistency you’ll find in shakshuka—delicately cooked-through whites, warm but runny yolks begging to be sopped up with a piece of toast. But here’s what I was left with when I placed the ramekin above into a 350° oven for 10 minutes:
350 just doesn’t seem hot enough to get the job done — so I decided to pump up the heat to 450, keeping the eggs in the oven as the temperature rose. Then I kept them in there a little longer, just to be sure they were done (which, in retrospect, was a mistake). I ended up with a dish boasting an attractively burnished and bubbly top…
… but whites that were somehow still not completely set, all surrounding yolks that looked like this.
It’s fair, then, to call this recipe one of this blog’s rare abject failures. (Sup, eggplant caviar?) However! I will say that a hot ramekin + just-uncooked whites +a few vigorous stirs = a ramekin filled with delightfully cheesy scrambled eggs, which also go well with a piece of toast (which is covered in homemade ramp pesto, because yes, I am that person).
Instead of taking 20 minutes to make scrambled eggs, next time, I’d follow someone else’s instructions — pumping the temp up (maybe splitting the difference and settling on 400) and taking the eggs out after somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.
I might also consider adding some bacon and/or sautéed greens directly to the ramekin… because, you know what, maybe I’m not such a breakfast grinch after all.