Abundant Beauty, Rich Experience, Luscious Food: Eggs Baked in Cream on a Spring Morning

To the Virgins, to Make Much of TimeIMG_0911

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
(Robert Herrick)

The speaker in Herrick’s rather light-hearted poem uses the lines to woo young ladies out of their chaste rebuff of hopeful, would-be lovers; however, a serious matter buttress’s the speaker’s words of seduction and truth is truth no matter one’s motive for uttering the words. Spring’s rich beauty, glorious as it may be, lasts but a moment for “this same flower that smiles today / tomorrow will be dying.” The lines of this poem ran through my head yesterday, as I ran trails decorated with spring’s bounty at McAllister Park. The prickly pear cacti are in full bloom right now. Mostly yellow tulip-shaped blossoms, but the occasional prickly pear shines forth its glory with rust-colored tulip-shaped blossoms. IMG_0804

Sometimes these cacti crowd among themselves, sharing the ground with the mesquite, the huisache, and various other common species of trees found growing wild in the South Texas soil. Often, however, the cacti appear in fields thick with wild flowers, their dull sagey-green paddle-arms surrounded by blue, yellow, purple, white, pink, and red blossoms of diverse shapes and sizes. The beauty of these flowered cacti and field flowers is sublime.

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In South Texas, the scents, colors, and fragrance of spring are all the more rich and precious because this gentle season will soon give way to brutal summer season with its triple digit temperatures and a less colorful, but tough, arid kind of beauty of its own. Fortunately, the city of San Antonio has many protected green areas in which spring can reach its natural full bloom unimpeded by planned urban landscaping. One of those areas is McAllister Park, a place of paved trails, as well as unpaved technical trails. Yesterday, after having spent months recovering from a non-running related calf-tear, I ran my first run on unpaved trails since my injury. My joy in returning to trail running was deepened by the presence of the bright colors and the depth of green throughout the park. My pace was slow, partly because I tend to run more slowly on trails than on pavement, partly because my calf-muscle has yet to regain its pre-injury strength, but partly because I stopped to take pictures of the floral scene that will soon disappear, and will stay away until another year has passed.

Phillip and I approached the run without any goals other than completing a certain trail. We had a leisurely run through the dirt, rocks, flowers, and trees. Having begun our run on empty stomachs, we arrived home ready for a nice breakfast. The morning’s activity seemed to call for a rich breakfast, to complement our run in an abundantly beautiful environment. Phillip suggested rosemary Parmesan eggs baked in cream: a luscious dish perfectly suited for our post-run breakfast. Eggs promise renewal of life, just as the wild blooms in a spring field promise renewal of the earth after winter’s barren visit. An even more fitting ingredient for a satisfying spring post-run breakfast is the seasonal Organic Valley Pasture Butter we have in the refrigerator, which is produced only in spring time, from pasturing cows. The eggs and the butter, together with the Promised Land heavy cream (locally produced at Promised Land Dairy in Floresville, TX, from Jersey cows) in our fridge and rosemary from the vast rosemary bush in the garden, created the perfect breakfast.

 What’s more, the dish is naturally gluten-free; I can prepare the creamy baked eggs easily and quickly, without taking the time to substitute and adjust ingredients (sometimes I need to remind myself that many dishes are naturally safe to eat!). I served the eggs with a side of bacon, and pot of fresh coffee. Delicious!

Baked Eggs in Cream

4 tbls heavy cream
2 tsps Organic Valley Pasture Butter, or Kerrigold Butter
4 eggs
3 tbls grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsps finely chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottoms of two ramekin or small glass dishes.

Place 2 tbls of cream in each dish. Place 1 tsp of butter in the cream.

Crack two eggs in each dish, on top of the cream and the butter.

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Sprinkle 1 ½ tbls of grated parmesan cheese over the eggs in each dish. Sprinkle 1 tsp of chopped rosemary over the parmesan cheese in each dish. Add salt and pepper to taste to each dish.

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Place on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan for easier removal from the oven. Place in the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes (or until the eggs reach the desired degree of doneness – some people prefer the yolks softer or runny, others prefer the yolks fully cooked).

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