Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oeufs en Cocotte

So I just finished reading Julie and Julia. One of the recipes that Julie really likes making from Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking is Oeufs en Cocotte (Eggs in Casserole). Although this is not a traditional version, it will not kill you as quickly as Julia Child's heavy butter cream and bacon versions.

The day before yesterday my mom asked me what to do with Swiss Chard. I realized I couldn't come up with anything better than salad greens, steam or saute. I knew I could do better than that.
This is a twist on an old French classic.

What you will need:
(This makes 2 servings for 10 oz ramekins)
9 small Tomatoes
1 cup Onion chopped
1 1/2 cup Swiss Chard chopped
2 cloves Garlic
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Oregano
Fresh Basil
1/2 cup Jalapeno Havarti Cheese chopped
1 Tbs Sour Cream
2 Eggs separated
Olive Oil

I guess Daisy wants to help :)

To get started heat your oven to 350. Spread the tomatoes out on a cookie sheet that is lined with foil. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes or until they have shriveled. Once they are done you can set them aside to cool but leave the oven set to 350. You will use 4 tomatoes for each dish and be sure to have an extra for you to eat on it's own, they are so yummy!
While the tomatoes are baking, chop up 1 cup of onion and put it in a frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of balsamic and turn to medium low heat. Let the onion cook down until translucent, about 7 minutes.
Wash the chard and dry with a cloth. Trim off the stems and then chop into roughly 1 inch pieces.You should have about 1 1/2 cups of tightly pressed chard. When the onions are cooked down add the chard and let it wilt for about 2 minutes stirring frequently.
Dice the 2 cloves of garlic and a small handful of fresh thyme, oregano and basil. Add these to the chard and onion for an additional minute. Then remove from heat and scoop it all into a bowl so it can cool.
Shred or chop 1/2 cup of cheese. I used Jalapeno Havarti because I had it on hand, but you can use what ever kind of cheese you like, I think Gruyere is the traditional cheese for this dish. Once the chard and onion is cooled, add the cheese to the mix.
Add 1 tablespoon of sour cream if you have it, but you could also use cream or half-and-half or omit all together.
Now we need to separate the eggs. Let the egg whites drop into the chard mix and carefully place the yolks in a small bowl making sure the yolks don't break. Mix the whites into the chard and add a bit of salt and pepper.
Place a little pat of butter in the bottom of each of the ramekins and put them in the oven until the  butter melts.
Put one tomato on the bottom of each dish, then divide the chard mix evenly between the dishes. Top with 3 tomatoes on each. Very carefully place a yolk on top of each dish and finish it off with a little more pepper. Put them in the oven for 10-20 depending on how you like your eggs.
When you take them out of the oven let them cool for a minute and then top it off  with fresh thyme and basil.
This would go nicely with some fresh baguette too!

I think this is traditionally a breakfast dish, but it would also make a nice light lunch or the main course of a dinner. Thank you Julia Child and Julie Powell for the inspiration, as cliche as that is. And thanks mom for provoking me to think outside the box with Swiss Chard. Does anyone have any creative ways to make Swiss Chard?
Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Place to Call Home (I know this is not really an edible post, but you can eat the Nasturtiums)

I have been talking with many of you about my recent move from San Jose to Half Moon Bay and I thought I should share our new place with all of you lovely people. Although San Jose is nice and SUNNY and wonderful in many ways, most importantly the awesome people who live there, I am really enjoying living on the coast as  well. It is really comforting to be back in a place with trees and dirt and creeks and all of those good earthy things. I have started to really enjoy gardening and have quickly filled up our little patio with potted plants of this and that. We live in a little studio apartment/ in-law unit/ cottage above Jesse's parents' garage. It is rather small, but it is fun because it kind of feels like we live in a fort, you know? where you arrange the couch cushions and pillows on the floor so one "room" is the kitchen and one is the bedroom? It's kind of like that. Well, I guess I'll let you see for yourself. 

This little kitty in the picture above is Oliver. He showed up at their house around the same time we moved in and so we've bonded. He acts like a dog and has a huge ego.
Here is a view of our little place seen from the front of the garage. See the little window flower box? I was so excited about that! Kind of a pain to water though. Then around to the back to the stairs leading up to our door and our little patio.

That's Wally checking out what's going on. I had a lot of fun with the flowers on the steps.

Jesse's old work boots re-purposed as fantasticly funky flower pots. Also a tea pot, shells, a dog shaped basket, and an old purse with a busted strap.

       These are my new seedlings (below), courtesy of Erin, I'm pretty sure these are going to grow into radishes but only time will tell. There is another tub around here somewhere with smaller seedlings that are just popping up that will turn into mint, or basil, or mustard greens, or strawberries ( I couldn't remember which seeds where which).

Here are the wonderful Nasturtiums, they grow like weeds, are gorgeous to look at, and taste great on salad. Yes they are growing in a very tiny falling apart barbecue. I just couldn't let it get trashed, I liked the burnt red  paint too much. I'm hoping the vines will keep snaking up the grill until it is a enormous monster nasturtium plant! I'm trying to tempt it.

I'm in love with this wood crate. It is a dairy delivery crate from 1947. Since I do not really have a need to deliver dairy, I decided to fill it with snapdragons, succulents, nasturtiums, and strawberries. 
Look at these curious cuties! Stella, Wally, and Oliver, a wonderful welcome home party.

Here's a view of the studio from up on the hill, and now we are going to go inside.
Let's just call it an "open floor plan".

So here is the "bedroom". This quilt was made by my Nana with love. On the right is an old painting of mine. It is smaller than most of my pieces and was able to fit in this little wedge of wall. Check out that ceiling, never thought I'd hit my head on the ceiling reading in bed. The height of this "wall" measures about three feet, thank god we are short.

This is looking out towards the driveway. I decided to make curtains for all of the windows, I figured be pretty straight forward for a girl that doesn't sew. It was kind of fun actually. 
Oh and the spider plant on the right was a gift from the lovely Mary at by BFA show.

Although the studio is compact, the kitchen is actually very spacious. 

The curtains in the kitchen have little owls on them. Jesse made the little magnetic bottle cap board. And the photo in the frame is by the talented Tim Walker
Oliver investigating.

One upside to having an Easy-Bake-Oven sized oven, it heats up really fast!
Between the kitchen and the bathroom is our multipurpose bookshelf / tea and dish shelf and a home for all of my monster art books.

In front of the bookshelf is the dining area and back in the wedge of the wall and ceiling is my little desk area and another bookshelf. Then in front of my desk is our little living room.

Just off the living room is our bathroom. More homemade curtains. Not much else to say, it's a bathroom.

On the other end of the living room is Jesse's  desk area. Jesse made the little popsicle house that you can see on the right when he was in second grade.  And Wally is patiently waiting to go back outside.

So now you've seen our little home, so friends, give me a call and come visit us!