I live in the suburbiest of suburbia. Green lawns, swimming pools, sprinklers. People walk in my neighborhood – all the time – but they’re walking their dogs or taking a walk, rather than walking to something.
But even in the suburbiest of suburbia, we have our little neighborhood attractions. An elementary school is in walking distance. So is the local branch of the library, and a small park. But best of all, we have a cafe. And not just any cafe. The kind of cafe you wish were in your neighborhood. The kind that makes amazing lattes, and has a menu of interesting salads and sandwiches, cute kitchen items for sale, jars of homemade caramels by the cash register, art by local artists, and the most mouthwatering bakery case you ever will see. Buttermilk pretzel rolls. Honey lavender scones. Kale and Gruyere croissants. Tomato Tartines. Salted caramel sticky buns.
Is it any wonder that we’re in there for breakfast nearly every weekend?
When my favorite little neighborhood cafe put out a cookbook, I of course bought it instantly. And the first recipe I made (and continued to make, again and again) was for this egg terrine. It sounds terribly fussy, but it just requires a little assembly and baking, and then it can be sliced and served warm, at room temperature or even cold. I frequently make this on a Sunday afternoon, and take slices for breakfast all week. It’s one of the few breakfast dishes I’ve found that is a) delicious b) portable and c) high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
This is a wonderful way to get some vegetables into your breakfast routine, too. I usually make it with the combination I’ve laid out here, and I’ve made several changes to the original Little Flower recipe – but the recipe is wonderfully versatile – you can put in whatever dibs and dabs of leftover cooked vegetables you have. A small handful of roasted broccoli? Why not? Some glazed carrots? Sure! Spinach and feta cheese? Delicious. This is infinitely adaptable – so make it with whatever vegetables you love. You could even throw in some bacon, if that floats your boat. It’s a great make-ahead breakfast, as I mentioned above, and it’s fantastic for brunch - both casual and fancy.
I will admit though, that apart from this recipe, I haven’t done too much cooking from the cookbook. After all, the cafe (and their buttermilk pretzel rolls) are only a short walk away. Perks of living in suburbia, I guess.
- Butter for pan greasing
- 12 eggs
- 15-20 spears Roasted asparagus (recipe below)
- 1¼ cup grated gruyere cheese
- Several stems fresh tarragon
- ½ cup Roasted tomatoes (recipe below)
- 8-10 slices Roasted Onions (recipe below)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lavishly butter a loaf pan. Heat a kettle of water to boiling and set aside.
- In a small bowl, crack 4 eggs and whisk together gently. Pour the beaten eggs into the buttered loaf pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus, lengthwise in the loaf pan. Sprinkle ½ cup cheese and several fresh tarragon leaves over the asparagus.
- Crack and beat 4 more eggs. Pour them over the asparagus and cheese in the loaf pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes over the eggs, sprinkle ½ cup cheese over the tomatoes, and sprinkle a few more leaves of tarragon.
- Crack and whisk the remaining 4 eggs. Pour over the tomatoes in the loaf pan. Arrange the onion slices over the eggs, and sprinkle the last ¼ cup cheese over the onions. Cover the loaf pan tightly with aluminum foil.
- Place the loaf pan into a larger baking pan, and fill larger pan with boiling water until it comes to about ½ way up the loaf pan.
- Bake for 1 hour, remove foil lid, and bake for additional 10 minutes, until the top is golden. Serve warm or cold.
- 2 pints of yellow or red cherry tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- fresh thyme leaves
- drizzle olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, toss the tomatoes onto the baking sheet, drizzle with oil, thyme, and salt and pepper, add garlic, and toss with your hands.
- Bake until the tomatoes are collapsing and the juice has mostly evaporated – about 20-30 minutes. Cool
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus, peel the onion and slice into ¼ inch rings.
- Line a baking sheet with foil; arrange the asparagus and the onions, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast 10-15 minutes, or until the asparagus are starting to tenderize and the onions starting to brown.