While I love the changing leaves, crisp mornings and new clothing opportunities (new coats! new boots! new scarves! new sweaters! I could go on forever…) that fall brings, I have to admit that I have been a bit reluctant to embrace the changing seasons this year. The incredibly cold memories of last year’s winter have me so nervous of what could be coming this year that I have found myself blocking out the beginnings of my favorite season. Now that I have finally come to my senses and switched out some of my closet, I am ready to start eating candy corn by the bag and decorating my tiny apartment with as many small gourds and miniature pumpkins as I can find. But first—what better way to ease yourself into a colder season than by enjoying a leisurely and cozy breakfast in bed? British artist Tracey Emin has amassed considerable fame during her relatively short career (Emin, had her first solo gallery show in 1993, at the age of 30), and is perhaps most well known for her 1998 work, My Bed, which was one of the shortlisted works for the 1999 Turner Prize (Steve McQueen won instead, for his film entry). Emin’s highly personal style comes through in this work, which is
comprised of her dirty, unmade bed, littered with empty liquor bottles, worn
underwear, cigarettes and stained sheets. While shocking for some, this work followed her tent completed in 1995, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995, which was appliqued with the names of literally everyone she had ever shared a bed with in a platonic or romantic sense.
Knowing Emin’s work, My Bed is not really so appalling. Instead, it is a very raw glimpse into Emin’s life at the time, specifically her depression following a breakup, and the subsequent days spent in bed. The reception of this work was mixed—while some critics questioned her authenticity, many applauded her honesty and confessional style, which I believe is the true point behind this work. Sure, seeing someone else’s filthy bed is not usually the most delightful thing, but Emin’s frankness about the state of her life is refreshing. In an age when people are so focused on their public perception, and ensuring that they present themselves in the most positive light possible –realistic or not—Emin’s significantly more raw and honest approach is something in which viewers can relate to a bit (maybe not all aspects), but in the sense that no one’s life is perfect every single moment of the day.
That’s not to say that your breakfast can’t be perfect, especially this weekend, when temperatures in the city will drop to a more fall-like mid-60s / mid-50s, and all you want to do is stay in bed all day and relax. So, do yourself a favor and make these savory muffins, to be enjoyed while you are curled up in (your freshly laundered and neatly-made, of course) bed, preferably also with a mug of coffee. I must warn you that there is a fair amount of prep that needs to be done, but you can take care of most of it the night before, making them perfect for a leisurely breakfast or brunch. Now get to prepping and relaxing—tomorrow’s breakfast in bed isn’t going to make itself! Happy Fall!
Follow Me Foodie has a wonderful post on this where she goes through countless eggs trying to get this recipe just right. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!
Breakfast in Bed Muffins
Extra-Soft Boiled Eggs:
pinch of salt
6 large eggs
a bowl filled with at least 2 cups of ice cubes
50 grams Parmesan, grated
50 grams white cheddar, grated
50 grams Gruyere, grated
1 cup bacon, diced (turkey bacon works too!)
½ cup finely diced shallots
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (may replace 1 c. with whole wheat flour)
salt of salt
ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ c. buttermilk, warmed
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup finely sliced green onion
Even though you really only need 6 soft-boiled eggs to make 6 muffins, for novice soft-boiled egg peelers such as myself, I greatly encourage you to go ahead and boil a whole dozen at first (you may not need them, or you may need more, but it is always great to be prepared). Fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil.
While the water heats, let your eggs come to room temperature, so that there is not such a significant temperature difference between the eggs and hot water. Use this time to get an ice bath ready (to be kept in the freezer until you need it) and also line your egg carton with saran wrap. Once the water is boiling, salt generously, and then quickly and carefully add the eggs to the bottom of the pot. Set a timer for 4 ½ minutes, and remove the ice bath from the freezer. When the eggs are boiled, quickly move them to the ice bath, and let cool for a few minutes. Once they are cool enough to touch, but also still warm (which actually makes peeling easier) remove from the ice and arrange on a dishtowel on your counter. Now we peel. Turn your faucet to a low trickle (strict water conservators, hide your eyes!), and gently tap the side of your egg against the edge of a bowl or your kitchen sink. Begin peeling your egg from the widest end of the egg, moving towards the narrower end, keeping the egg under the running water, which helps separate the shell from the egg. Peel through the thin membrane, which often will help remove some shell, and work through the whole shell, being careful not to peel off too much egg white that you puncture the yolk. I found that the first half was pretty easy, but the last part is trickier, and this resulted in quite a few thrown away eggs!
Once the egg is peeled, store in the plastic-wrapped carton, and keep going…you need 5 more! This is where those extra 6 or so really come in handy. Once you have amassed 6, cover with more plastic wrap, store safely in the refrigerator overnight, and either call it a night, or quickly get through the rest of the prep—the rest can wait until the morning, and only takes a few minutes. Also very important: don’t forget to take out your trash. Discarded soft-boiled eggs will leave your tiny apartment kitchen smelling like a sulfur spring by morning (known from experience…)!
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Combine your cheeses into a small bowl, and set aside. Fry up your bacon, dice, and add to a small bowl, and set aside. Dice your shallots, and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, and let cool. Heat the buttermilk up in the microwave for about 30 seconds so that it is a little warm, and set aside. Using nonstick cooking spray, grease the insides of your popover pan thoroughly—after you peeled all of those eggs, the last thing you want to do is have them stick to the pans!
In a large mixing bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until just combined. Stir in most of the cheese mixture (leaving about ¼ for the topping), the bacon, shallots and green onions until just combined.
Using a large spoon, scoop about 2 T of batter into the bottom of each popover mold. Use a small spoon to make a small indention into the batter, and then gently place a soft-boiled egg on top of each indention. Add the rest of your batter into either a disposable icing/piping bag, or a Ziploc bag, and cut a small whole in the tip/corner. Pipe the batter around each egg, and completely covering the top, using up all of the batter on all 6 muffins. Top each muffin with your leftover cheese. Bake for about 17 minutes, rotating about halfway through, and then let cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice in half and tada!
Recipe from Follow Me Foodie, based on the “Rebel Within” muffin from Craftsman + Wolves in San Francisco, makes 6
Featured art: Tracey Emin, My Bed, 1998. © Tracey Emin and Saatchi Gallery