Random Recipe: Fontina and Spinach Baked Eggs with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

You know when you have the most amazing meal? It is memorable. They way it tastes, smells, and just hits the spot. Mmm. Sometimes a meal is so so, and other times they just suck. I am not going to tell you the below recipe is amazing. It was very good. These days though how long something takes to make outweighs how amazing something is, as our time is more and more precious. For it taking over 45 minutes, I think you can get more bang for your buck with something a bit different. Having shared all that, I will tell you — the best part is the Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs. The topping made this recipe.

So if you have the time, try this recipe. What I would like to do is take some of the good parts and find a simple and quick way to make something similar. Do you have any ideas?

Fontina and Spinach Baked Eggs with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs [Adapted from How Sweet Eats]

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

3 oz fresh spinach
4 oz fontina cheese, freshly grated
4 large eggs
2 T heavy cream or half and half
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
chopped fresh herbs for topping
2 large pieces of cracked wheat sourdough (toasted)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray.

Place fresh spinach evenly in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle about 1/2 of the grated cheese over the spinach. Place the 4 eggs over top spaced evenly. Sprinkle the salt and pepper, then add the heavy cream — drizzled over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Cook longer if you want the yolks cooked through.

While the dish is baking, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly. Once it starts to brown, remove from heat and keep whisking for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and whisk some more. Add in the panko and fresh herbs and stir until panko is coated.

When the baked eggs are done, remove from the oven and cover with panko mixture. Serve immediately over buttered toast.

The unexpected praise or apology

I can be ornery. I like to do things a certain way, and I have a hard time apologizing. I am not sure how that happened in life, and how I became so stubborn. I actually think it is an artifact of growing up so fast. My mom became sick when I was 12. The next four years were filled with her. Taking care of her, cleaning our house, paying bills, using food stamps to buy groceries, finding my own way to/from school and other events, the list goes on. It was all up to my sister and me to figure out how to take care of my mom and figure out how to navigate our own lives. In my own way, I grew up so fast, and had to figure out things on my own, that I almost designed my own life very early on. Maybe they are/were coping mechanisms, but those critical years (when I should have been out playing and getting into trouble) I was just trying to keep shit together.

A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Notes, not received” made me think about how maybe my childhood hardened me into not being the best at giving praise or approval. I rarely got it myself, so how would I learn to give it out to others? The third and last parts are what specifically stood out to me:

An expected apology rarely makes things better. But an expected apology that never arrives can make things worse.

An expected thank you note rarely satisfies. But an expected thank you that never arrives can make things worse.

On the other hand, the unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything.

It’s easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it’s not expected.

I still have so much to learn. I could definitely be better at work, at home, and with friends/family at unexpected apologies AND praise. We probably all can. We all probably have urges and then decide to not act on them. This is my reminder to try harder, let go more, and say what is on my mind. Hopefully it is a good reminder for you too.

Scared shitless

I have a few phobias. Snakes. Bats. And one I will not go into on the Internet involving personal safety. I freeze when I see a snake and depending on where I am and where it is, I imagine every time that I am going to shit my pants. I have not yet, but there are still many years left for that to happen.

Bats. I have a story from about five years ago involving a bat and my house. I was on a conference call with my boss at the time. I worked from home in Portland and my team worked remotely, with my boss in Boston. I am sitting in my office at my desk, with my old school headset (corded) connected to my BlackBerry when I see a black flying object zoom past my head, just grazing me. I screamed (and I have lungs) and jumped. My headset went one way, my BlackBerry went another, and I ran like hell out of there. I run back and decide to try to shut the door to the closet so that I can lock the sucker in the office.

I freak out some more. Try to call Chris on the phone at work and do not get an answer. I go outside. No one was out and we barely knew our older neighbors. I look down the street and see a landscaper. I run down and ask him if he can help me. Shit. He does not speak English. I flap my arms, know I have the most panicked look on my face, and motion for him to follow me. He does.

Back in my house, I open the door and basically lock him in the office and then go outside to show him through our sliding glass door how to open the door to let the bat out. It takes a while of back and forth and he eventually does. I am petrified and wonder how the bat got in so I, being so scared shitless, bring the man around the house and upstairs through the different bedrooms to see if he can figure out where it came in. We are not communicating well and I start to realize I have just brought a strange man into my bedroom! I realize I need to thank him and get him the hell out of my house. Hoping there are no more bats where that came from, I finally breathe, and realize I was on the phone with my boss. About 15 minutes have passed and I call him back. He was so worried that he had not heard from me and due to the loud scream followed by the disconnected call, he was in the process of calling my local police to have someone sent out to my house. Wow.

What scares the shit out of you?

Putting pen to paper

Somehow over the years I became a pen and notebook fiend. Well okay a snob of sorts. I am picky about the notebook (spiral versus bound versus so many other options). If I use a spiral notebook it has to have a double spiral. The paper matters too. I do not want thin paper where the ink seeps through. What is printed on the also paper matters. I am not a fan of ruled lines, as it makes me feel I have to keep between the lines and whether it is college or wide, oh that just makes my head spin. Give me mini blocked graph paper or plain any day and let me craft my notes, ideas, and messages as I wish.

Then you have the pen. That matters even more. The pen completely emphasizes how you write. Over time I began to learn that the thinner the tip the better. The thing with pens is usually the thinner the tip, the more design-esque the pen is which means that the tip can easily break. Then I fell in love with Muji. In the US you usually find that a thin tip pen is .5 mm. Muji makes a .38 mm pen. The tips do not break. I cannot leave home without mine. Chris brings me a bundle every time he comes back from Asia. It’s my only ask when he goes away on his trips.

Put the right paper/notebook with the right pen and it is pure zen in and of itself. Somehow the cards all fall into place and I feel I can let the creativity flow (most of the time). When I saw this article titled: “Why You Should Carry a Notebook with You Everywhere” from 99U, it made so much sense. Sure you can document your world digitally, but there is something about putting pen to paper. Whether you are bored in that meeting and brainstorm how to rearrange your living room or you map out how to solve a business problem, having a notebook with you means you probably encapsulate more of your thoughts on a daily basis.

I know I often go back to my notebook at work and find I connect the dots from different ideas. Too many conversations and ideas happen in a given day (and sometimes just within an hour of a day). Putting pen to paper can make all the difference.

Find simple solutions

I am not the best airplane traveler. Chris is a trooper to put up with me. I just get cranky. I think I would have been a good match for traveling in the ’60’s minus having to dress up — or maybe I would even opt for dressing up versus the cattle farm process it feels like now.

We just came back from visiting my niece. Security was horrid. They only had one body scanner open, with two lines feeding the one scanner. Approximately twenty TSA employees for the one scanner (with quite a few standing around). It took forever. It was the slowest security line I think I have been in. Not to mention they were pushing all personal belongings through so that all the people were backed up but you no longer could see your stuff. A TSA agent was picking stuff out of bins because the personal items were so backed up. Frustrating because things were not where you left them. By the time we got to our stuff we were completely frustrated. I mean how long do you want to stand barefoot on the nastiest of floors, hoping you do not get the rub down from TSA?

By the time we got our luggage I could not NOT say something. I did and the guy said: “here our supervisor is right here.” I said something to the effect of: “how can you do this every day and night and still have such a backed up process? Folks are missing their flights because they had to wait so long, and you should never force passengers to be separated from their luggage.” His response was “you could stay with your luggage.” I said: “How? They are pushing us through and you would then never make it through security.” As I rolled my eyes and walked away.

It baffles me. Airport security is not rocket science. It is a fairly repetitive process that should be able to work like clockwork. There were a lot of better choices they could have made. All those TSA folks standing around? Open another line. Have TSA actually provide good customer service for those traveling. We do not have any other choice. Save us all some pain, and ensure that folks make their flight. Seems simple to me.