Chilaquiles.

I am such a sucker for a recipe with multiple iterations. A recipe that sticks around for a week or two, until you’ve finally become ready for a break. It’s probably why I’m such a big fan of the salad dressing/kale salad combo from last week. Probably. That and the fact that the dressing is awesome. Duh.

We had the original version of this recipe what I think was two weeks ago. I’ve had the remainder of the salsa in the fridge since. What can I say, I push the limits of leftovers, but it was totally fresh when I made it. Like farmers’ market fresh. So I’m sure it’s good.

And then I found some corn tortillas in the fridge. So today (well, not today, as in the day you’re reading this, but today as in Sunday afternoon), I made baked a few of them into tortilla chips, I poured some more salsa over them and some cheese I found in the bottom drawer (feta, this time), and I cracked an egg over it all and baked it all together.

Just as good as two weeks ago, that’s for sure.

That said, I’m not sure this kinda dish really warrants an actual recipe, but I’ll give you one, for the sauce if nothing else. I like my salsa (sauce? salsa? sauce? I dunno…) extra-spicy, and this one definitely is. After that, you basically take said sauce/salsa/whatever and dump it over tortilla chips coated in the cheese of your choice, and you finish it off with a fried egg or two.

Easy peasy.

You could make it for 1, for 2, for 4, you get the point. I’m not one to judge (ok, maybe I am, if you deserve it) but it’d be a crying shame if you left out the cilantro and lime to finish it all off.

And if you can handle it, a little extra sauce on top. A margarita by your side to tame it all down? Brilliant.

Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2012; serves 4

time commitment: 45 minutes

this is such a super simple dish that’s jam-packed with flavor. if i were you, i’d make the salsa ahead of time, then you have a really quick weeknight meal in about 10 minutes flat. we had these for dinner two nights in a row, so i made the salsa and grated the cheese on the first night, then had them ready for the second night in no time. you’re welcome. also, we had plenty of salsa left over, so you could do all sorts of things with it, or just have chilaquiles all week long ;).

printable version

ingredients
red chile salsa
7 dried ancho chiles
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
1 medium white onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño, with seeds, chopped
1/4 t smoked paprika
2 T vegetable oil
2 t honey or agave nectar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

everything else
36 large tortilla chips
1 c (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or mild feta
1 c (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
4 large eggs
cilantro, freshly chopped
Lime wedges
1 avocado, sliced

instructions
red chile salsa
Place chiles in a medium bowl; cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let chiles soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in a blender, discarding stems (you can also discard seeds if you want, but i just tossed the whole thing in). Add tomatoes, next 4 ingredients, and 1 cup reserved soaking liquid; purée until smooth.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (add more reserved soaking liquid if too thick). Stir in honey and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You can  make this days in advance, if you’d like. Cover and chill until ready to use.)

putting it together
Preheat broiler. Toss chips and 1 cup sauce in a large bowl. Transfer half of chips to a large ovenproof platter or skillet. Scatter half of cheeses over chips. Top with remaining chips and cheeses, along with 1/2 cup more sauce. Broil until cheese is golden and melted, 4–5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour oil into a nonstick skillet to lightly coat. Heat over medium heat. Add eggs and fry until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.

Top chilaquiles with cilantro, lime wedges, and avocado. Top with fried eggs and serve with remaining sauce alongside.

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when life gives you lemons

When I was a kid, my parents had a French friend name Aurora (which is SO French, right?!). I swear I’ve mentioned her name here before, but once you write a blog for 3 years, it becomes hard to keep track. So forgive me if I’m on repeat.

Either way, being around Aurora, in those few years that I knew her, was a definite treat.

My parents, Aurora, and Clyde (her boyfriend) used to play cards together on what seemed like every Saturday. They’d take the extra leaf out of our dining room table, load up with beverages, using bar stools as coasters, and deal out hands of Spades and Hearts for hours. It was through these card games that I learned about the awesomeness of getting drunk with your friends. Man, the songs they’d sing, the shit they’d say; I probably don’t remember half of it, but I remember thinking they were so cool. And also, a little bit weird.

I wish I had access to some of our family photo albums, and I’d show you the awesomeness of the styles back then. Clyde and my dad used to rock these awesome hats, like the ones the golfers wore before they all had Nike and Titleist logos. And the pants, oh boy, the pants. Sorta tight, plaid, and kinda big at the bottom – not quite like a bell-bottom, but close. Flare leg, I reckon. And the ladies wore these polyester button-up shirts with these weird ribbon ties at the top. Aurora had a sexy red number with a hole right near her boobs, what today I’d probably call a cleavage shirt. Is it weird that I remember these details? Who cares…

I also remember showering one night when they were over. I’d just learned to shave my legs, and I suppose my fancy Bic razor was on the dull side, because the second I aligned the razor with my thigh, the water hit the razor and slipped, taking a ginormous slice of my thigh with it. I wasn’t sure what to do about gushing blood, so I proceeded to toss on a towel and run out to the adults. Drunk adults aren’t very helpful in those situations, as it turns out. But eventually, the bleeding stopped and I was probably way too dramatic about it anyway. That was probably too much information, but you’ll deal.

Last but certainly not least, I remember Aurora for her skinny long cigarettes (so French and sophisticated) and her love of citrus fruits. We’d sometimes eat lemon rinds together, just to gross everyone else out. If it wouldn’t tear the enamel from my teeth, I’d probably eat a lemon daily just like an apple or a bowl of cherries. Dang, they’re tasty.

So when I found out about my coworker’s lemon tree burgeoning with fruit, I easily volunteered to take some off of her hands. What she gave me were the biggest lemons I’ve ever seen, and after a little thought, I made yet another batch of lemon curd. It’s sour enough to remind me of all those lemons I used to eat, but tempered by the eggs and the butter so other people will like it, too. Its biggest claim to fame? the stuff goes on everything. I like a regular ol’ piece of toasted bread, truth be told, but next week I’ll give you an extra-tasty option. Of course, you can always see what you find in the bread or breakfast section of the recipe index, but if all else fails, a spoonful is just as good all by its lonesome, or with a plate of berries.

Lemon Curd
from Gourmet via Epicurious; makes 1 1/3 cups

time commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes (15 minutes active)

printable version

ingredients
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

instructions
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain curd into a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

A Nice Change of Pace

This past weekend was completely unlike the one that preceded it. For a ton of reasons. But let’s first state the obvious, most polarizing difference: this past weekend, Chris was on his way to China for a week (yes, without me – again!), and the weekend before it, we were both in the country.

Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s move on.

The other big difference is that two weekends ago, Chris and I took our first overnight backpacking trip into the Ventana Wilderness near Big Sur, going “balls to the wall” and hiking a round-trip 23 miles of bonkers up-and-down trail, where we saw mountains, redwoods, waterfalls, pretty greenery, the ocean, and at the final point for the night, a campsite right near natural hot springs. Which means we also saw hippie naked people, our own stinking dirty clothes, and freeze-dried food that didn’t taste half-bad.

It was pretty amazing, to say the least. Amazing and really, really hard. I’m pretty proud of us for roughin’ it out there, and can’t wait to do it again. (Here’s the pics, if you’re interested. There aren’t many since we were more focused on things like not toppling over from the weight of our packs!)

This weekend, I was left to my own devices, and I definitely didn’t go backpacking. Instead, I painted my toenails and fingernails (purple!), I got a massage, I went for a run and a couple of small bikes rides, and I survived my first hot yoga class. Just barely, though.

I also managed to sit out in the sunshine and soak in some Vitamin D. Ironically enough, I watched the “new” Twilight movie and read plenty of ‘Salem’s Lot, too. I did not sleep in a coffin, in case you were wondering, but I did wake up to my second memorable earthquake since living in San Francisco, which is noteworthy.

It wasn’t the same as my usual weekends around here lately – hiking and such – but it was certainly a nice change of pace. And it kept me from sitting in a quiet house with two lazy cats staring a me.

And while I could have easily procured a few microwave dinners to get me through the week food-wise, I had some produce leftovers from last week, and I decided that I couldn’t go one more day without making one of my very favorite dishes, bibimbap. I can’t put my finger on it, but the combination of flavors in bibimbap something that I seem to crave every now and then, and the taste isn’t comparable to anything else I know of. It’s the mixture of veggies with soy sauce and sesame oil, the Korean chili paste, the textures of all the different, individual cooking of ingredients, and the runny, fried egg on top that I absolutely can’t resist. I made enough for 2 servings this time (the recipe below is still scaled to 4, but it does half easily) and I ate leftovers so quickly that I almost poked myself in the face with my fork.

I took a picture with my phone and texted it to Chris, thinking he’d be totally envious and ready to come home right away. But then I remembered he was in, well, China. There’s good food in China.

And then I licked the rest of the chili paste right outta the bowl. I mean shoot, no one’s watching, anyway. But would I care if they were? Prolly not…

Bibimbap, previously: Beef & Asparagus Bibimbap
Korean, previously: Korean tofu tacos

Vegetarian (or not) Bibimbap
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2012; serves 4 

time commitment: 1 hour

printable version

ingredients
1 c uncooked short-grain brown rice
8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained (or sirloin, chicken, or pork)
1/3 c water
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 t sugar, divided
2 t garlic, minced & divided
1 t fresh ginger, minced & divided
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 c carrots, julienned
2 T lower-sodium soy sauce
3 T dark sesame oil, divided
1 c fresh bean sprouts
5 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
9 oz fresh baby spinach (usually a large bag)
4 large eggs
4 T gochujang*
1/4 t kosher salt

*gochujang is Korean chili paste. You can usually find it at Whole Foods (the Annie Chun brand) or other brands in Asian markets

instructions
Cook rice. Bring 2 c water and rice to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until water is absorbed. This can be done days in advance to cut down on cooking time.

Meanwhile, cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick cubes. Place tofu in a single layer in between a kitchen towel. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Combine 1/3 c water, vinegar, 1 t sugar, 1/2 t garlic, 1/2 t ginger, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add carrot, and remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.

Combine remaining 1 t sugar, 1/2 t garlic, remaining 1/2 t ginger, soy sauce, and 1 T oil, stirring with a whisk. Remove tofu from paper towels. Place tofu in a medium bowl. Add 1 T soy sauce mixture to tofu; toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Add 1/2 T sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add rice to pan in a single layer; cook 1 minute (do not stir). Remove from heat.

Turn on oven just enough to warm and then turn off. Keep the following components warm by putting them on a baking sheet and keeping them in the oven until all pieces are sautéed. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 t oil; swirl to coat. Add 1 1/2 t soy sauce mixture and bean sprouts to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove sprouts from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 t soy sauce mixture; sauté 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan; keep warm. Add 1/2 T oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tofu from pan; keep warm. Add 1 t oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 1 t garlic and remaining 1 T soy sauce mixture; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach to pan; sauté 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove spinach from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 t oil to pan, more if desired. Crack eggs into pan; cook 4 minutes or until whites are set. Remove from heat.

Place 1/2 c rice in each of 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving evenly with carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, and spinach. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 T chili paste. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

All Grown Up

I hope you all had yourselves a lovely weekend. Over our way, it was a perfect June Saturday and Sunday (maybe even a little atypical for us, from what I’ve heard). We kept busy on Saturday by having a tasty dim sum brunch with new friends, shopping for layers (key here people, key!), and hanging with more friends over food and wine.

Sunday involved the regular grocery shopping and farmers’ market events, and then a challenging bike to the Golden Gate Bridge, at which point Chris drove over and met me where we proceeded to have a nice lounging hour looking at our gorgeous new city. Of course, Sunday also included a nice conversation with my Pops.

I’ve talked about my Pops quite a few times, from tales about his old-fashioned habits to bonding when Gramma died to cutting up chicken. But my favorite blogstory involved a discussion about one of his best meals – breakfast. Every Saturday & Sunday, the ‘samich’ would surface: plain, white untoasted bread, extra-crispy bacon, floppy American Kraft cheese (only the best, friends), and a heavily peppered fried egg left out at room temperature on that cream colored plate with the brown rim, a chip on its edge. It was my very favorite breakfast, for a lot of reasons.

Breakfasts around these parts are generally nothing to write home about – a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, a smoothie, or maybe a homemade granola bar if I’m feeling motivated, is about all we muster up. If I ever do become one of those people who like to be awake at the crack of dawn though, you best believe we’d begin our day with these samiches, French toast, pastries, egg casseroles, and fresh coffee, maybe even some homemade juice from the juicer I’ve yet to buy.

This week was a little different, since I’ve been craving something that included the words “cheese” and “bacon”. It seemed that there was no better time than Sunday to make my own version of the sandwich I woke up to every weekend morning of my childhood. This one is a little bit fancier, a little more mature, in way – loaded with all the local Bay Area ingredients I could find, including a new addiction of mine, sourdough bread (where has it been all my life?!). Also, the bread is crunchy, a total no-no according to my Pops, at least in the way of breakfast samiches.

Bells and whistles aside, at its core this samich is nothing but pure comfort, through and through. It’s crunchy, it’s cheesy, and it reminds me of those samiches I used to eat so often, only it’s a little bit different. Nonetheless, I doesn’t change my memory of them; it just makes it even better.

I would say these same things to my Pops when talking about our relationship. Sure, I’m much older now and yeah, you could say I’m more mature than I used to be, for the most part. And of course, I’ve moved away not just once but three different times, each a little further away than before, but knowing those facts doesn’t change too much. At the end of the day, I’m still his little (grown up) girl, no matter where I am.

My Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich
inspired by my Pops; makes 2

printable version

ingredients
4 pieces of thick-cut bacon
2 eggs
salt & pepper
2 T butter
2 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices of sourdough bread, ~1/2″ thick
small handful of baby spinach

instructions
cook bacon in a large saucepan until nice and crispy; let drain on paper towel-lined plate. remove some bacon fat from the pan, if it seems like a lot.

over medium-high heat, crack both eggs into the same pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. cook on one side for a minute or so, then flip and cook on the other side another minute or so. remove and set aside.

wipe down the pan, and over medium-high heat, melt butter. on one slice of bread, add a slice of cheese, an egg, then 2 pieces of bacon; top with another slice of bread. once butter is melted, put sandwiches into the pan, pressing down on them with a spatula. after a couple of minutes, use spatula to flip sandwich and cook on the other side. remove from heat and plate; place spinach between top slice of bread and bacon.

Pilgrims Rock

People. Check this out. We’ve officially successfully had 4 (that’s f.o.u.r.) Thanksgivings at our place in Chi-town. It’s been freakin’ awesome. Here’s a peek at what goes down.

I make deviled eggs. They are the first thing to get eaten in their entirety, and this year I made extra. It still happened. Just like the sweet potatoes, I wonder why I don’t make this delicacy more often.

We also had a lot of other awesome food. I made the usual offenders – the sweet ‘taters, green beans, cranberry sauce, bread for snacking, eggs, blah blah blah. Oh. and homemade rolls. Awesome. Homemade. Rolls. Cheryl brought all of her shortening-laden pies (yum!) and Jennifer brought the usual mashed ‘taters and broccoli cass. Jon’s sausage-cornbread stuffing was the second thing to disappear, and Brook/Katherine brought snacks, pork (more meat!) and a damn good salad. Hubs made an awesome turkey and of course, his gramma’s stuffing. He yelled at me for a second year for not buying poultry seasoning. He got over it, but he will always loathe my aversion to buying seasonings I can make in five seconds.

We drink a lot. Wine, beer, and liquor. You want it, we had it. If you can believe it, we all got a little alcoholed-out by Saturday, and there was a 3/4 full bottle of wine on the counter the next morning. It was weird. Also, I forgot to make spiced sangria this year.

Jennifer’s birthday happened. That always seems to be the case over Thanksgiving, which is nice because it’s a good excuse to leave the house, which we do infrequently from Wednesday-Sunday. She was smart and made reservations at Girl & the Goat months ago. Good call, Simps. Also, I haven’t forgotten about your present.

We left the house twice, actually. Hubs had this great idea to go to a bar with good pizza to watch NC State on ESPN. Although, I really don’t need an excuse to go to Piece. Plus, ordering a beer called Camel Toe will always make me chuckle – even when I grow up.

Let’s see – what else…. something’s missing…. any guesses? Yes – Rock Band!! Check this out – four years, and we still play it. Luke is probably tired of it, but he’s a team player. Plus, we do take breaks, just like the real bands. And we always have drinks ‘on set’. (Also, please take note: we got a new couch two years in. And recruited a few more rockers this year!)

Luke took some kick-ass pictures of us rocking out:

You don’t have to say it: we know we’re cool. And we know you’d rather be with us than over at Aunt Nelly’s eating that jello mold. It’s the beauty of transplanting yourself in another state – you find the others who are like you, and you celebrate together. For us, it’s how Thanksgiving is meant to be.

It’s how Thanksgiving will always be – and we’re thankful for that.

Hope yours was a blast as well.

(thanks to Luke for most of the pictures!)

Deviled Eggs
makes 12 (but make more, if you’re smart)

time commitment: 30 minutes

as many times as i say it, this dish should really be made often. it’s a perfect snacking dish for any occasion i can think of right now. my mom (or was it gramma?) used to put relish in the egg mixture, but i like my deviled eggs smooth and, well, eggy. as for recipe credit, i honestly don’t know where this came from, so if i stole it from someone, i’m sorry. all i have to go on is an index card in my writing :{ .

printable version

ingredients
6 eggs
3 T mayo
1 T sugar
1.5 t dijon mustard
1 t apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
smoked paprika (or regular sweet paprika, if you prefer)

instructions
carefully place 6 eggs in medium saucepan and fill with water to cover. bring to boil, and reduce heat to med-low for 12 minutes. meanwhile, get out a big bowl and fill it with ice cold water. chill eggs in water bath immediately. (at this point, you can refrigerate them until use.)

when ready to use, peel shells and halve eggs lengthwise. remove yolks carefully (i use a small teaspoon or my fingers if i’m feelin’ lucky) and place in bowl. add remaining ingredients, including a tiny dash of paprika, and mash ingredients together. if you want to fancy it up, whir the mixture together in a mini-blender for a few seconds to smooth the mixture out, and spoon it into a plastic bag with an icing tip. pipe into eggs in a swirly pattern (or, just clunk the mixture, unblended, into the eggs – it tastes the same this way!). dust with paprika.

For the un-holidays

I’ve never aspired to be one of those bloggers who preps you for the upcoming holiday by testing recipes in advance and posting them all during the month. I started this blog as a way to share things that I make because I want to make them, and as much as I love turkey and stuffing, I only want to make it once in the month of November.

However, I do appreciate the bloggers who operate in the way that I don’t; while our Thanksgiving menu is usually pretty set, I do occasionally draw inspiration from a few of you holiday bloggers. So, thank you, Pioneer Woman, and thank you The Bitten Word.

As such, it shouldn’t surprise you that we’re talking about a quiche today. Sure, you could plop a quiche down on that Thanksgiving table. Scoot that gourd over, or move that big honkin’ centerpiece, or the candles you put on the table because you really don’t need them anyway. And toss this quiche into the mix. You’d get a few stares, I bet.

My guess is that this quiche might be more appropriate for say, breakfast, or any day other than Thanksgiving; the un-holiday days. You could even use leftover turkey and make a turkey quiche, if it suits you.

Apparently, I bought an inordinate amount of Mexican chorizo last weekend, but I suppose I couldn’t resist when the tienda sells it for $1.99 a pound. Some of it found a crevice in the freezer (which, by the way, is l.o.a.d.e.d. with meat, even a ginormous turkey from our CSA that we didn’t realize we were getting until after we’d already placed our order for the fancy heritage turkey. I sense a lot of turkey pot pie in our future.), but a portion of it got an egg bath.

And so, even though it’s almost Thanksgiving, and even though some of you might be searching for the perfect cranberry sauce or green bean casserole, or the absolute best way to cook a turkey (which would be a simple brine, and a roast), I bring you custard in a shell instead.

But I bring it to you hoping you’ll find inspiration, hoping you’ll take a crust – be it spelt flour, regular flour, or even store-bought – some milk and eggs, and of course, some cheese, and make whatever kinda quiche you damn well please.

You can be thankful for all the extra food you’ve got in your fridge that allows you to make a quiche to call your very own. How’s that for appropriate?!

Mexican Chorizo Quiche
chiknpastry recipe; serves 4-6

quiches are a good way to get rid of anything in your fridge. for us, that meant leftover chorizo (although some got frozen, too). you can use any crust you want, but i liked the heartiness of the spelt dough, plus i already had it in the freezer :).

printable version

ingredients
crust (the other half of this; recipe below makes enough for 2)
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c whole-grain spelt flour
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
1 stick (8 T or 1/2 c) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 T (1/4 c) chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
up to 1/2 c ice water

filling
8oz Mexican chorizo
¼ c onion, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 ½ c sharp cheddar cheese
2 T canned green chiles, minced
2 T cilantro, chopped
4 eggs
1 c milk
½ t cumin
½ t chipotle chili powder
1 t salt
2 t pepper

instructions
crust
pulse flours, sugar, and salt in a food processor to blend. Add butter and shortening and pulse repeatedly until small pea-size clumps form. Add 1/2 of ice water and pulse until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. (alternatively, this can be done by hand or using a pastry blender, but it’s gonna take longer!) Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until needed. (You can keep it in the fridge for 2 days, or even freeze it and let thaw overnight. But, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften before you are ready to roll it out.)

putting it together
Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out pie crust and place in greased pie plate. With tines of a fork, poke a few holes in the crust and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat skillet over med-hi heat; saute chorizo for ~2 minutes. Add onion, anaheim pepper, and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are soft and chorizo is cooked through. Drain well using paper towels. Place cheese in crust then add onion, pepper, chorizo, green chilies and cilantro.

Beat eggs and milk together until slightly foamy then add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour into pie shell until not quite full (you may have some extra – discard).  Bake at 350 until brown and domed, ~50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Anytime, anyhow

You’d think I’d be a “get up early in the morning and make breakfast girl” since I have this nutso dream of owning a B&B one day. You’d think that waffles, quiches, and pancakes would dominate the posts here, and that the breakfast section of the recipe page would be enough to dedicate a separate page to it. You’d think all these things, but as it turns out, your thinking would be wrong.

I barely make breakfast. Meaning, I double a recipe of granola or granola bars, and I hope they last us a week or two. Making breakfast is reserved for times when we have company, and even then there are way too many great brunch spots to take advantage of in Chicago.

Nonetheless, I’ve always been a fan of breakfast for dinner, and in this group I’d include practically anything involving poached eggs, even though often times you’ll find them in dinner recipes as well. Eggs in purgatory? A very easy recipe that now that I think of it, needs to be revisited. Salad with bacon and poached eggs? That sounds like two ‘breakfast ingredients’ to me.

This one here might be stretching it a bit on the breakfast front, but maybe not.

I mean, I’ve seen a-plenty of breakfast burrito (heck, I had one for brunch today), so it certainly seems plausible to have a breakfast taco in the AM hours, don’t you think? Of course, since I really don’t make breakfast at breakfast all that much, this was most certainly consumed in the nighttime hours.

I’m imagining a remake with scrambled eggs, not that there’s ever anything wrong with the poached variety. Basically, you can have this anytime, anyhow, and even anywhere.

Beef barbacoa all by itself isn’t the worst concept, either. Though you could easily buy the beef already spiced in most any Mexican market, I prefer to spice it, braise it, and marinate those flavors all by my lonesome. Should you choose to do the same, I suggest you plan ahead, as the beef will be tastiest if you let it hang out in the pot, once cooked, overnight.

However, if you are making yourself a meaty breakfast, overnight is just enough time to let those flavors come together, and it might be all the time you could stand before shredding it up and eating it, anyway.

Beef Barbacoa w/ Poached Egg
Adapted from Cooking Light, June 2010

printable version

ingredients
1  (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
6  T salsa, divided (make your own, or buy bottled; I prefer Frontera Salsa)
2  T water
8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
4  large eggs
1/4  t kosher salt
1/4  t freshly ground black pepper
1  cup Beef Barbacoa (recipe below)
1/2  c (2 ounces) cotija cheese, crumbled
1/4  c finely chopped fresh cilantro
4  lime wedges

instructions
In a small saucepan, mash beans with fork. Combine beans, 2 T salsa, and 2 T water in saucepan over low heat until warm, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

Preheat oven to 300 F. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and heat tortillas in oven for about 8 minutes.

Add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Break 1 egg into each of 4 (6-ounce) custard cups coated with cooking spray (if you have them; otherwise add eggs to large saucepan full of water). Place custard cups in simmering water in pan. Cover pan; cook 8 minutes. Remove custard cups from water. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over eggs.

Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates, and top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons bean mixture. Top beans with 2 tablespoons Beef Barbacoa. Place 1 poached egg on each plate so it overlaps both tortillas. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon remaining salsa. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Beef Barbacoa
Adapted from Cooking Light, June 2010; serves 10 (2 oz servings)

printable version (beef barbacoa only)

ingredients
1  t freshly ground black pepper
1  t dried oregano
3/4  t kosher salt
3/4  t ground cumin
3/4  t ancho chile powder
1  (2 1/4-pound) boneless chuck steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1  c water
2  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1  T fresh lime juice

instructions
Preheat oven to 300 F.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub oregano mixture evenly over beef. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Add 1 c water and garlic to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover and bake at 300 for 3 hours or until beef is very tender. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Skim fat from surface of broth. Remove beef; shred with 2 forks. Return beef to pan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer mixture 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates; stir in lime juice. Reduce heat to medium, and cook beef 3 minutes or until crisp in spots.