Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brunch Braised Eggs

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Happy Daylight Savings Day if you live in the US in one of those cities that enjoy torturing inhabitants’ internal clocks with bi-yearly time changes. I am embracing bags under the eyes today to push through the pain. Remember to go to your computer maker's homepage and download the necessary plug in to update your operating system.

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All that being said… brunch!

Here in NYC, yesterday blessed us with a hint of Spring. I took a short walk outside to enjoy the mild weather and even went so far as to open a window to let a refreshing breeze pass through (read: to cool the kitchen). Spring weather in NYC reminds me of brunch. Seemingly every New Yorkers' favorite weekend pastime when the weather finally reaches mild temperatures, outdoor seating emerges to take the place. Sidewalks are no longer crowded with bushy jackets but chairs overflowing with revelers of their leisurely 2pm brunching hour.

In the suburbs and many other cities, I seem to recall brunch falling around 10 or 11 am. For whatever reason, in New York City, the later you are able to make it to brunch the more it says “I don’t care, I am spending today drinking bloody marys.” For whatever reason, if your time is being spent brunching, your waste of a day is perfectly justified (it also says, “that’s right, I was at the secret after hours location until 6am, pssshhhh.”). One will often find brunch menus extend well past 4pm, overlapping with those early bird dinner specials.

In honor of brunch, my slightly early awakening this morning and the change of the season, I present this decadent dish. Soon it will be too warm to enjoy such a luxury— When a hot breakfast is about as appealing as that industrial air conditioner’s exhaust hitting your face on a 90 degree day in what seems to be 100% humidity and the soles of your shoes are melting and the buildings around you create a fabulously effective canyon for retaining heat and you become increasingly bitter at those who were smart enough (or simply have the means and schedule) to flee the City for the duration of the summer and bask in the cool waves of the ocean. No bitterness, I have my bucket garden to tend to.

On the other hand, this recipe may allow you to forget the beach and the heat of the summer and bask in the rich joys of winter.

Serving Size= 2. Active time= about 8 minutes. Cook time= about 10 minutes.
* 1-2 tablespoons butter
* 1 bunch spinach, washed well and drained
* ½ cup heavy cream or milk
* 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
* 1 tablespoon parmesan
* 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
* salt/ pepper
* 2 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 400F. In a large sauce pan on medium high heat, melt the butter. Once bubbling, add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt, about 3 minutes. Stir to bring wilted leaves to the top and complete wilting.
2) Add cream, ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper. Bring just to a simmer, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add cognac and return to simmer. Taste the broth and add more salt/ pepper if needed.
3) Divide the spinach and cream mixture between two oven safe bowls, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the cream-cognac mixture. Crack an egg over the top and add the remaining cream-cognac sauce.
4) Place the bowls on a cookie sheet for easy removal. Bake for 10 minutes, or until whites just set for runny yolks, longer for firmer yolks.
5) Serve warm with buttery toasted bread.

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