Dippy Eggs and Soldiers

When we first discovered farm fresh eggs down the street from our Island home back in Washington, my husband suggested it would be THE perfect opportunity to make Dippy Eggs and Soldiers.  Huh?  Flummoxed, I looked at him, scratching my head, and for the next 30 minutes, he recounted stories about who the legendary Soldiers were and why exactly these fine fellas would be joining us for Sunday breakfast.

I still didn’t get it.

But, nevertheless, decided to take his word for it.  We dusted off the egg cups from the drawer of kitchen tchotchkes, in order to prep them for their on-screen debut.  Weekend breakfast is taken rather seriously at our humble abode.  The barometer for success falls into categories of leisurely, lengthy and lip-smacking goodness.  Bracing myself for a spectacular letdown, I began to quietly devise a Plan B in my head.  Brioche French Toast, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Maple Glazed Bacon…

Suddenly, my under-cover menu planning was interrupted.  Breakfast was ready.  The Soldiers had arrived.  So soon?  I swallowed nervously as I was presented with breakfast, perched atop its very own royal throne, looking ever so proud and suitably British.  I’m not sure I ever felt so happy, to be proven so utterly wrong.  Sure, I’ve had soft-boiled eggs in the past, but these tasted distinctly different.  They were Runny, Dippy, Delectable Eggs.  OH BOY.  And the Soldiers!  Those handsome Soldiers!  Lightly buttered, standing at full attention, ready and willing to perform their predestined, exemplary dunking duties.

One dip into this perfectly cooked, gooey, thing of wonder — and, Hallelujah – I get it. I finally get it.

Don’t forget to set your timer when cooking these bad boys.  The three minutes goes by in a blink of an eye.  We used large eggs, so adjust time up/down if using smaller/larger eggs.  I like my eggs super runny, so adjust time accordingly if you prefer yours less so.  Instead of butter, shower Soldiers with grated Parmesan for a little decadence.  Or for a gluten-free option, try roasted asparagus stalks as Soldiers.  The variations are endless.  Report back your favorites.  Happy dipping!

Music Pairing: The Beatles, Love Me Do

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Dear Christmas in Paris,  Why did you have to end?  We were SO good together.  Please write back.  I miss you.  Love, Hopeless in California.

I’ve been reciting this love letter in my head, day and night, ever since we returned home from our trip.  The City of Light is undeniably magical anytime of the year, but during the winter months, it’s especially so.  The city is effervescent, almost buoyant.  It’s chilly, but never too cold.  Just enough of a bite to lend itself nicely to studious and dedicated café hopping.  Crowds are at a minimum, which means one, and only one thing: more pain au chocolat for moi.  We spent Christmas dinner at our favorite neighborhood bistro in Le Marais, and slowly strolled down the snow-dusted street back to our apartment, whilst trying not to think about the hauntingly delicious chocolate mousse we had left behind.  I have no mailing address to send my love letter, so I’ll settle, instead, by reminiscing the Top 10 Reasons to Visit Paris in the Winter, and why I fell hard for it.

1.  Less crowds.  The once unconquerable will now be yours.

2.  No jet-lag.  For the first time ever, I escaped the arduous jet-lag monster.  Walking briskly in chilly Parisian air is the antidote.

3.  Shorter line for macarons at Pierre Herme.  You’ll be surrounded by a rainbow assortment of flavors in this jewelry box of a stop, but trust me…you need only know one.  Mogador.  Soliloquy-worthy good.

4.  More of a chance the chocolate mousse won’t run out at Chez Janou. The mousse is served up in a bowl the size of Texas, which you are encouraged to scoop up with a gargantuan spoon to your heart’s content.  Ou la la.

5.  Availability of flights and lodging. We booked our flights and apartment one week before we left.  Forget the hotels costing beaucoup bucks full of tourists, rent an apartment and live like a true Parisian.

6.  For the passion fruit eclair at Eric Kayser.  Yes, he’s legendary for his breads, but after one bite of his Passion Fruit Eclair, you’ll no longer have any time for baguettes.  His shops are strewn across Paris, but my favorite is the one on Rue Montorgueil.

7.  To buy cookware at E.Dehillerin. You’ll feel like an interloper, but forge on ahead.  It’s one of the most arse backwards, exhausting, incomprehensible purchases you’ll ever make.  It’s miserable and delightful.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.  What I love about E.Dehillerin, is you can have the most checkered past, or you can be The Queen of England — they don’t care.  You’ll be treated with the same degree of incalculable delirium.  Hello 1820.

8.  For the secret shortcut to enter the Louvre. The entrance sits in the passageway leading to Rue de Rivoli.  It’s so stinkin’ sneaky and speedy, you’ll feel like you just got away with heisting Mona Lisa herself — in broad daylight, no less.

9.  To channel Victor Hugo. Wander the rooms where this famed poet, writer and dramatist who penned Les Mis, lived and wrote.  The Maison de Victor Hugo is one of my favorite small, off-the-beaten-path museums.  Plus, l’entrée est gratuite.

10. A chance to hold your husband’s hand, as you stroll through Le Jardin des Tuileries, with the winter sun quietly setting behind the Eiffel Tower…and never letting go.Oh, and a little housekeeping for the new year: I’ve finally joined the masses, so come follow me on twitter!

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With Love