Thursday, July 24, 2008


Last night, after work, I scooted downtown to the local used bookseller. She bought back five of the seven books I had in my tote. She was tickled with three of them; she knew she'd move them quickly. I felt glad to help. I felt thankful that this is the little town I live in.


I rounded the corner from the bookstore to the food co-op. I needed some spices, and the co-op is by far the best deal in town for spices. I was also looking for tomato paste in a tube, and thought they might have some.

The co-op had their fresh produce and dairy shipment the day before. There were local eggs for sale that had been gathered just two days earlier. I picked some up; I knew exactly what I would make with them.

As I was checking out, the young lady at the register asked if I wanted a bag. I said no, just place the eggs on top of the books in my tote so I don't squish them. Then I thought I'd see if she wanted the books. Turns out she needed one of the books for a fall class and was exited about the other one, too. "You don't want any money for these?" she asked. I assured her I was delighted to see her take them. Again, I felt thankful that this is my home.


I arrived home and pulled one of the two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child off the cookbook bookshelf. I'd checked these out from the university library a few weeks ago. They are the original editions, one orange and one blue. I am still working up the nerve to attempt to make Julia's french bread recipe. But last night I wanted to dive into Oeufs en Cocotte. Julia Powell** claimed they were divine and could cure a hangover. That was all the convincing I needed: this was a recipe I just had to learn to master.

In fact, I've been obsessed with making this recipe for a couple of weeks. I even went and purchase a set of four porcelain ramekins, specifically for this recipe. (Apparently, I am not as innocent in the Clutter Situation as I'd like to believe.) And I didn't want to make it until I had super fresh eggs, either.

Julie Powell didn't lie. These eggs baked in a ramekin with heavy cream are divine. Really. Outrageously yummy. I am positive the super fresh, local eggs made a difference.
I made my first recipe from Julia Child. I was high from my accomplishment ALL NIGHT. I was happy to be home.


After I'd washed up my dishes, I settled in with my laptop and reallocated my retirement funds. I heeded the advice of my recent dream. I am not longer investing like an 85-year-old.


It was a very, very good evening.


Oeufs en Cocotte (Baked Eggs in Ramekins) From the Art of Mastering French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
[This is from memory - so forgive me if I leave anything out! Also - this is so easy. It was a great selection for my first Julia Child Conquest.]

Preheat the oven to 375ºF

For each serving, you will need the following:

1 ramekin or small Pyrex bowl
1 or 2 eggs
1/2 tsp butter, divided
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare:

With a bit of the butter, butter the ramekin.

Place ramekin in a larger baking dish filled 3/4 inch high with simmering water. (You may need to keep the baking dish over medium heat to keep the water warm enough. I did.) Pour one tablespoon of heavy cream into the ramekin. When the cream is hot, gently drop one fresh egg into the ramekin, taking care not to break the yolk or splash the cream out. Cover with the remaining tablespoon of cream and remaining dot of butter.

Insert the ramekin and baking dish with water into the hot oven (make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven). Cook 7 - 10 minutes or until the egg is just set but still a bit jiggly.* (I had a hard time figuring this out. The cream moves around the top! At 7,200 feet, I had to bake them for nine and a half minutes.)

Remove from the oven and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and rejoice in the creamy goodness.

* According to MtAFC, you can under cook the eggs a bit, remove them form the oven and leave them in the hot water for up to 15 minutes before serving.


My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a fantastic read. I was able to get to know Julie rather quickly. Reading about her journey as she travels through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child was a wonderful literary turn.

I whole-heartedly recommend this to one and all! It is an especially delightful read if you love to cook (or are just now falling in love with culinary pleasures).


  1. This post made me feel happy and peaceful, just reading it. I'm glad you had such a great evening.

  2. Oh how I love the used bookstore. Awhile back a friend gave me a book and told me it's a pay it forward book. In the front of the book was a list of names/cities - all the people who had read the book before me. When I was done, I entered my name and city and passed it along to someone else. I loved being part of that!

  3. LoriD - You should look into I think you'd love it!

  4. Wow. Sounds like a really great day; almost fictiously good. I love that you gave the other books away to the food coop lady. That makes me smile.

  5. waaaaaant those eggs now. yummm.

  6. Don't you just LOVE good days like this? They're kind of mythical, really, and the fact that you can focus on all the good is what makes the day just so darn great. I need to do more of this. And also make that recipe. EGGS? AND CREAM? Oh for the love of dairy.

  7. I think I want to move into your town. I'm feeling very Barbara Kingsolver as of late...

  8. I've always wanted to try recipes from the Mastering French Cooking books. This one sounds super easy and a like a good place to start!


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