Sunday, July 24, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade

In this summer heat, there are few things more refreshing than cold and icy, lightly sweetened, freshly squeezed lemonade.  And what could be better than lemonade with fresh strawberries?  For the book club dinner last week, I made a pitcher of Strawberry Lemonade.  It went so fast that I forgot to take a picture until we'd already drunk half of it!  

Strawberry Lemonade
  • 6 cups crushed ice
  • 10 lemons (squeeze the juice from 8 of the lemons and thinly slice the other 2 lemons)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
In a glass pitcher, combine the ice, lemon juice, lemon slices, strawberries and sugar.  Fill with cold water and stir until sugar is dissolved. 

Eggs en Cocotte

Eggs en Cocotte is a method of cooking eggs that in French is called "Oeufs en Cocotte".  It simply means baked eggs, eggs that are baked whole in a ramekin with a knob of butter and a dab of cream, sometimes with herbs, grated cheese and chopped vegetables, and served with toast.  It's a little bit of an indulgence, but it's a breakfast dish I've been wanting to make for a while; today was the perfect morning for brunch since I had a stack of magazines waiting to be read after sleeping in a little.

With the rich ingredients, I kept the portions small so that it was not overly heavy; you can also substitute Greek yogurt or low-fat milk for the cream.  Caramelized onions and mushrooms also add another element of flavor, along with the extra sharp white cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of dry aged prosciutto.

Eggs en Cocotte (for two)
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 medium-sized mushrooms, such as cremini, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • pinch ground thyme
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream or Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons diced prosciutto
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsely
  • salt and pepper
 Bring a kettle of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 375 F.  In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onions and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute until soft and nicely browned.

Take the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter and grease the inside of two individual ramekins.  Sprinkle the grated cheese in the buttered ramekins, pressing against the bottom and sides.  Divide the onions and mushrooms between the two ramekins.  Carefully crack the eggs into the ramekins, without breaking the yolks, two per ramekin.  Top the eggs with the cream, milk or yogurt.

Set ramekins inside a baking dish; pour the boiling water into the dish (not into the ramekins) so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until the yolks are set.

While the eggs are baking, saute the prosciutto (no extra butter or oil needed) until browned and crispy; set aside to drain on a paper towel.

Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven; lift the ramekins from the water bath and wipe the bottoms dry.  Set on a plate; top eggs with prosciutto, parsley, and freshly cracked salt and pepper.  Serve with toast.