Power. Our lives revolve around power. Not the Con Ed power. The power of people, organizations and nations. Our lives are shaped by power and we endlessly debate and classify power: economic, military, cultural, ….
You can read or hear the debates about American power. We are dead, we will rise again, we are doomed by China, Putin is rational for a guy running a third rate country but is only a thorn in our side. I read and I listen. The problems now are different yet the portrayals of rise or fall have been with us through our history. I no longer panic. And, actually, instead I have become rather mellow. For I have learned which country is the most powerful. At least until 10 AM.
It’s Mexico. Because Mexican breakfasts are singularly the best. Thank about your American breakfast, that brownish mélange. Toast, bagels, muffins, oatmeal, cereal, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs…. There’s brown in every bite. Yum. How inspiring.
Now, look at that picture above of Huevos Oaxaqueños. Imagine starting your day with this blast of color and flavor. All that is missing is a mariachi band. Veggies, cheese, chilies, eggs and more are combined here in calculated abandon. Most importantly, this recipe is quite robust. Suzen had a basket of purple tomatillos which where chopped and added to the morning march. You, too, should take whatever liberties your kitchen counter and refrigerator offer.
I’m not a breakfast person, except on Sundays. Too often I find the American carbo breakfast to be an anchor I have to pull through the morning. This Mexican fare is just the opposite: fiery and inspiring.
This lovely recipe is from a Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication, Mexican. This annual publication was available this spring but was to be pulled by April 1. Lucky me. I found my copy upstate and you might be able to scour about and find one too. This issue is 120 pages of ideas that begin with breakfast but last thru the day.
Oh, on the side? That Suzen’s pepper bread with cream cheese and raspberry jalapeno jam. Unabated flavor.
Yield: 4 servings
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 small fresh Anaheim chili pepper, stemmed, seed, and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried savory or cilantro, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- Crumbled queso fresco
- Fresh cilantro springs, optional
- Corn tortillas, warmed, optional
In a skillet cook the onion, chili pepper, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, dried savory or cilantro and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes release their liquid and the zucchini is tender
Break one of the eggs into a measuring cup. Carefully slide the egg into the tomato mixture in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining three eggs. , allowing each egg an equal amount of space in the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the egg whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard. Sprinkle with queso fresco.
If desired, serve with fresh cilantro sprigs and warm corn tortillas.
Spoon sauce over game hens and surround with remaining wild rice.
Source: Mexican from Better Homes and Gardens
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO 320.
On Sunday, watching both the Super Bowl and the commercials, Suzen and I wanted food prepared in advance, easy to serve and as spicy as the New Orleans setting.
Suzen had some leftover steak and a friend who had sample the meat said, “Make chili!” Great advice. This recipe cooks for hours but that’s good because your kitchen will be totally aromatic.
We used six dried chilies, three of them ancho, and the other three were dried, red and hot. This is a panty-clearing option for you. How do you know if you have enough chilies, the right chilies? It’s simple. After you have soaked and blended the chilies into a puree, take a whiff or a taste. If it blasts you off your feet, cures sinus problems, and make you search for a beer, you have succeeded. [That means, if the mixture is not earth shaking yet, you’ll need to add another chile, which means you’ll want to soak a couple of extra ones. Don’t worry. You can always put those extra pods to use. For example, blend the leftover chilies with mayonnaise for a different chip dip.]
Suzen’s Chili with Beans, Steak and Tequila
Yield: serves 8
- 1 pound cooked red beans [discussed below]
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 dried ancho chilies, toasted and seeded
- 3 other dried chilies, toasted and seeded
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano [Mexican variety preferred], crumbled
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste [very likely you’ll use more]
- ½ to 1 pound cooked steak, cut into small, bite-size pieces
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Chopped white onion for garnish, optional
- Shredded cheese for garnish, optional
- Sliced avocado for garnish, optional
Prepare the beans by putting them in a large pot and covering with water. Add a teaspoon of Mexican oregano and a bay leaf. Cook over medium heat for 1 ½ hour until the beans are tender, but not falling apart. Remove the bay leaf.
While the beans are cooking, soak the toasted chilies in very hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Only use enough water to just cover the chilies. Put the chilies in a blender and discard the soaking water. Add the oregano and tomatoes. Blend until as smooth as possible. [This is precisely the situation where a Vitamix is preferable to a conventional blender. The Vitamix will produce a perfectly smooth product for you.]
Strain the cooked beans and return to their pot. You may wish to save some of the bean water to thin the dish out as it cooks. Add the pureed chili mixture to the beans. Add the bay leaves, salt and sliced steak. Cover and begin to cook.
In a skillet with a little olive oil, fry the onion until it starts to brown. Add the onion and the tequila to the beans. All to cook for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can blend.
Serve then, with the garnishes. Alternatively, remove from the heat for up to two hours, then reheat and serve.
Left overs can be frozen and delectably desired later.
Serving options include straight in the bowl, over chips, or over rice. White rice flavored with cilantro is an excellent option.
Source: Suzen O’Rourke