Baked Chilaquiles – an amazing breakfast on a beach in Mexico or in your own kitchen

chilaquiles with egg
I remember this one year, my friend Cali, actually paid me to go to Acapulco, Mexico and shoot her wedding.  We had moments like this:IMG_8371bridegroom
It was also the hottest I’ve ever been in my life, so I went ahead and cashed her check. ūüôā ¬†However, there were extremely enjoyable moments, and one of them was having chilaquiles for breakfast, along with various fresh-squeezed juices. ¬†I had never had chilaquiles before (pronounced: chee-lay-quee-les) and it was a bit of a revelation. ¬†Tortilla chips softened with a rich tomato or chili or black bean sauce, mixed with tender bits of chicken and plenty of cheese. ¬†This is actually a pretty typical breakfast for Mexico. ¬†That may be ignorant of me to say, as I’m sure they have cereal, too, but when we got to go back with Cali and Alex to visit ¬†Alex’s home in Mexico City a few years later, (um, yeah, we’re lucky to know them) it was pretty common to see things we’d associate with dinner, served for breakfast. ¬†Like enchiladas or tostadas. ¬†Not everything had to have an egg on it like we feel compelled to do, here. ¬†Case in point: our version of chilaquiles sure enough had eggs on it. ¬†However, it’s a delicious addition! ¬†Matt made us this breakfast and I shot the picture, so once again, this is a true Family Meal kinda post. ¬†We all contribute in different ways throughout the week and I’m always so happy when he has a plan for Saturday breakfast!

chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs

chilaquiles
Baked Chilaquiles*
serves 6

10 oz thick tortilla chips
1 – 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
3 serrano peppers, seeded and roasted
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2  cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste,about 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack or Mexican Chihuahua cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scoop tortilla chips into 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

In the oven, place seeded serrano peppers, cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast until blistered.  We did this under the broiler.  Take out and let cool.
Coarsely puree tomatoes and serrano peppers¬†in a food processor or blender. Heat oil in large saucepan; add onion and saut√© until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute, then stir in broth, tomato puree and salt. Heat to boil. Stir in cilantro. Set mixture aside. ¬†In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and scramble the eggs and a half teaspoon of salt till they’re almost done. ¬†Remove from heat. ¬†Pour the sauce over the chips; coating them evenly with the sauce. ¬†Layer the almost-done scrambled eggs on top of the sauce. ¬†Sprinkle with cheese and bake until lightly browned on top and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with extra cilantro and a few extra chips on the side.

*adapted from Rick Bayless’ recipe,¬†Chipotle-Baked Tortilla Casserole

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Soft-Scrambled Eggs

Soft Scrambled Eggs

Everyone wants to be known for something. ¬†We all strive to be important in some way and to matter to more than just ourselves. ¬†Some of us get little snippets of fame from the jobs we do or the opinions we have or maybe from how cute our red-headed children happen to be. ¬†Most of this attention is fleeting – it can last a day, an online minute or maybe as much as a year before the new wears off. ¬†A good friend once put it so well, regarding our need for others’ acceptance: “You’re only as good as your last performance.” ¬†This is a shockingly true statement that I would venture most of us, at one time or another in our lives, have felt.

Over the last year, I’ve worked through the book, The Divine Conspiracy. ¬†It has flipped my world upside down. ¬†Or maybe, finally, right-side up. ¬†I’d recommend it to anyone searching for something they can’t quite put their finger on. One of the main points early on in the book is that we have this need to matter and to be unique and special because we were specifically designed to be that way. ¬†We were designed by an infinitely unique and powerful creator who made us to be just like Him. ¬†So, it’s not bad to strive to be noticed. ¬†It’s just futile to strive for the approval of our peers – of anyone but the One who created us to be His unique treasures in the first place. ¬†And as we all know, most of our days are spent in search of approval, recognition or acceptance from people online. ¬†People we never see and from a strange sea of online crowds who are simply going about their day trying to be noticed, too. ¬†It’s futile. ¬†At times, I want to unplug from it all and just be important to my family and my very small circle of friends with whom I physically see on a regular basis. ¬†It would be so much simpler to be special and to matter to just 20 people instead of trying to impress 200.

How on earth is this post going to be about scrambled eggs?! ¬†Well, through my first year as a new mother, I really picked up the baton of cooking for my family. ¬†I have embraced it with the foreknowledge that the recipes I cook now will be the stories and the comfort food Olive talks about when she’s in college, missing home cooked meals. ¬†This is how I have come to matter (in my eyes) to my world. ¬†I cook. ¬†I provide food for Matt and Olive and occasionally friends and when I am lucky, family as well. ¬†I usually cook new things, new recipes, Pinterest inspirations, but there are a few dishes that I can make whether I’m sleepy or not, paying attention to measurements or holding a kid on my hip. ¬†Soft scrambled eggs is one of these recipes. ¬†They are actually more of a skill than you might think. ¬†But with a little extra effort and attention, these eggs will blow your mind. ¬†We’ve all had the over-cooked rubbery eggs on breakfast buffets the world over. ¬†These, by contrast, are super creamy, soft, flavorful (not sulfury) and are mind-blowing on top of a piece of buttered toast. ¬†It’s the ultimate comfort breakfast food. ¬†I have had people remark about these eggs like, “What on earth did you put in these?! ¬†Cheese? ¬†Cream?” ¬†Nope. ¬†Salt and Pepper! ¬†And a tablespoon of butter. ¬†That’s it.

I’ll be really detailed in the recipe so that you, too, can learn to do these right. ¬†They just require a little more whisking and a little less heat than you’re probably used to. I hope they become part of your weekly recipe repertoire and I hope that you really enjoy at least one recipe you make on a regular basis. ¬†It could be chocolate chip cookies or banana pancakes or even a simple roasted chicken. ¬†But if you find something that you enjoy doing and you do it enough times to do it well, you will be an instant local-celebrity in the eyes of the people sitting around your table. And that, for me, is becoming more than enough. It’s good to matter to at least a few people in this life and I can think of no more worthwhile group of people than family.

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Pesto

Soft Scrambled Eggs
4 eggs serves two people

4 large eggs
about a teaspoon of kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 tbs of unsalted butter. ¬†If you use a butter substitute, I can’t help you

First, get your butter in a medium saucepan (like a good pan for soup) and turn on the heat to 3 or 4. ¬†Seems low, but this is one of the tricks. ¬†My stove’s lucky number is 4. ¬†Yours might be hotter so adjust as you see fit.

While the butter is melting, crack the eggs into a big measuring cup and season with the salt and pepper like this:
seasoned eggs

Then, whisk whisk whisk until they are forming bubbles.  Like this:
well beaten eggs

By this point, your butter should nearly be on its way to getting frothy in the hot pan. ¬†Pour in your eggs and start whisking. ¬†I use a flat whisk (you can kinda see it in the pic) and it’s so excellent for getting into the edges of the pan. ¬†Whisk almost constantly, occasionally lifting the pan away from the heat and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, fully incorporating the eggs as they cook so that you maintain a very small curd, like cottage cheese sized bits of egg. ¬†Continue doing this; on the heat, off the heat, on the heat, off the heat, until your eggs are nearly looking done, and more on the side of creamy, but no traces of whites remain. ¬†Your eggs will look underdone to you if you’ve never done this method before. ¬†But trust me, if the whites are all gone and you have a super creamy consistency, you are ready to eat. ¬†Get the eggs out of the pan immediately into a bowl and serve at once. ¬†This morning I put some leftover pesto, which became my own green eggs and ham and it was a breakfast fit for a king. ¬†Or a toddler. ūüôā

The pesto WILL be a future blog post. ¬†It’s the best I’ve ever had and it came from an Italian grandmother so you know it has to be legit.

soft scrambled eggs and pesto in a homemade tortilla