Oeufs En Cocotte

Mood Indigo

Are dads allowed to be cranky and in a bad mood?

You ain't been blue, no, no, no
You ain't never been blue
Till you've had that mood indigo
That feeling goes stealing right down to my shoes
While I just sit here and sigh
Go along blues     ------ Nina Simone

I have seen the entire range of bad moods in which my daughters find themselves. I have seen the full range of reactions to those moods. The crying, door slamming, yelling, stomping, silent treatment, the "get out of my room I don't want to talk to you right now" and of course the phone hang up. I have tried to teach them to be expressive and emotive and that it is okay to be cranky but to be aware of how that mood affects those around them. I have learned the hard way to let them be in the moment, to experience the mood, to let them ride the wave from crest to shore. I have learned to stay calm and to be available to them if needed. Sometimes they want to talk and other times they don't. I don't take their decisions personally and am okay with either as long as they know that I am available, always.

But what happens when I am experiencing the blues? I still have to stay engaged, cook, clean and drive them to activities, play games or help with homework. I still have to be there for them, be their dad. As a single parent it is sometimes hard to do it alone. This past Friday I found myself in that mood.  A confluence of events over the few previous days all came to a head Friday morning. I was cranky!! Knowing that I had to pick the girls up from school later in the day, sit through possible traffic (as my girls can attest, I don't do well in traffic) as we headed to PA for the weekend, I knew that this mood would still be lingering.  I didn't have yoga or cycling to turn my mood around. I decided to send them a group text, a heads up and that it wasn't anything they did and to please bare with me as I rode this wave. 

I immediately got a call from their mother, with whom I have a good relationship, asking if I was okay and can she help with anything. She said the girls were worried about me and they called to let her know. When I was first going through my divorce, I was once told that kids need to feel safe and not to feel worried about their parents. That everything was going to be okay. Should I not have sent that text? I did not think it would cause them worry. As they are now older I want them to know that parents have the same feelings they have and that it is perfectly fine. 

Spending the weekends with my kids is by far the best elixir for when I am feeling down. The drive out went as usual, a bit of traffic, a rundown of the school day and a lot of pop music but I did find myself a bit more on the quiet side. The girls brought up the text from earlier in the day, said they were glad I sent it but it did make them worried. They asked if I was doing better to which I replied, yes. I was still feeling off on Saturday morning and after a full on day of horseback riding lessons for them, cooking and gardening for me and crepes for lunch, Lila wanted to do something fun. Lila's stepdad, who has had an off-road ATV for many years and has built some very elaborate trails on his property, recently bought some youth off- road go karts for all their kids.  Lila wanted to show me how well she can drive and off we went down to their house.  I don't know where this soon to be 12 year old learned the term drifting or how to do it but there we were drifting into turns at 20mph (don't be alarmed by the photos below, helmets are worn at all times except for the occasional safe photo). My phone fell out of my pocket in one of the fields and as Lila was putting the go-kart away and as I was walking the field retracing the route, the sky turned black and it started to rain. I showed up back at the house soaked but with the phone. The girls told me they again called their mom because they were worried and weren't sure what to do. My first reaction, as I stood there dripping on the kitchen floor was to get upset that they didn't think that I knew what to do in this situation. They in turn got upset and It didn't help when I said I needed to walk outside to gather myself.  There was crying, yelling, front door slamming and me standing outside in the rain trying to calm myself. How could I walk out while they were upset, I was asked through tears. I felt terribly, never wanting to discourage them from calling either of their parents for any reason. I breathed deeply and then the wave came crashing down and gently washed ashore. I apologized, they apologized, we talked, we hugged and we had some tea.

New Beginnings

School started this past week and thankfully with out a hitch. We now have a ninth grader and a sixth grader in the family and a whole lot of fun ahead for both of them. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take the girls to school every year on their first day. Each year taking a photograph chronicling their journey and with graduation I plan to present them with a first day of school photo book.

Not sure why Rocky Balboa had so much trouble catching that chicken

The chickens have been laying eggs faster than I can use them. Sunday morning we had oeufs en cocotte which are baked eggs or eggs in a ramekin and cooked in a water bath. This is another one of those breakfast dishes where you can use whatever was leftover from the dinner the night before or whatever you might have on hand in the kitchen. It is that easy and versatile. I prepared ours three ways, one with dill, one with smoked salmon and dill and one with zucchini flowers. Oefs en cocotte are traditionally served on a napkin.

Oeufs En Cocotte

Serves 4

  • 4 Ramekins
  • 4 Eggs
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Place enough water in a large saute pan to go 1/2 way up sides of ramekins and bring to a boil creating a water bath
  2. Liberally butter the sides and bottom of the ramekin
  3. salt and pepper to taste
  4. Place one egg in ramekin (If using two eggs in one ramekin increase cooking time by a few minutes)
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of cream
  6. Place ramekins in water bath in saute pan and cook covered for 3-4 minutes until eggs are just set.
  7. Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool for about a minute before serving


  • Chopped dill
  1. Sprinkle chopped dill on bottom and sides of buttered ramekins
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add egg and top with a little cream
  4. Cook in saute pan as above
  5. Top with additional dill to taste

Smoked Salmon and Dill

  • 4 slices smoke salmon
  • chopped dill
  • cream cheese (optional)
  1. Sprinkle chopped dill on bottom and sides of buttered ramekins
  2. Salt and pepper to taste
  3. Option to add a dollop of cream cheese
  4. Add 1 slice of smoked salmon
  5. Add egg and top with a little cream
  6. cook in saute pan as above
  7. Top with additional dill to taste

Zucchini Flowers

  • 4 zucchini flowers, cut lengthwise into strips
  1. Sprinkle chopped zucchini flowers on bottom and sides of buttered ramekin
  2. Salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add egg and top with a little cream
  4. Cook in saute pan as above
  5. Top with additional chopped zucchini flowers