Latin American Month...
by Kate Heyhoe
Perhaps being raised in Texas has colored my preferences, but to me, nothing makes a Sunday or holiday morning more satisfying than a zesty Mexican breakfast.
I don't mean a breakfast that's hellfire-and-brimstone spicy, but freshly flavorful—packed with sweet peppers, ripe tomatoes, cumin, oregano (Mexican grown), eggs and the ubiquitous tortillas or potatoes.
My favorites include huevos rancheros (eggs on bean-slathered tortillas with a simmered fresh tomato sauce and cheese), huevos borrachos (drunken eggs), or simply soft scrambled eggs wrapped with avocado slices in warm flour tortillas. For these breakfasts, I'll gladly jump out of bed!
Speaking of jump-starting the day, Father's Day is ripe for a special Mexican meal—the warm June sun coaxes us outdoors and a breakfast of Migas or Chorizo y Papas is hearty enough to take you through a sizeable play period, but not so heavy as to lull you back to sleep.
As with all traditional foods, every cook makes migas a bit differently. The essential ingredients are corn tortillas, cut into bite-size pieces and sautéed, then scrambled with eggs—but after that the ingredients vary widely. Some serve migas as a soft and spoonable concoction, but I prefer mine sliceable, as an open-faced omelet resembling a torte or pie, layered with diced bell pepper and tomatoes, laced with comino, crowned with a bubbly layer of melted cheese, and annointed with chopped green cilantro. Heaven!
Another traditional food, the incomparable sausage of Mexico, known as chorizo, sizzles up eggs, potatoes (known as papas in Spanish), tortillas and other simple ingredients. (But don't fret if you can't buy chorizo readily in your markets—I've got a great, easy recipe for it!). First, keep in mind that Mexican chorizo differs from Spanish chorizo: the first is like seasoned ground meat (sometimes in plump casings, sometimes not), while Spanish chorizo is cured and comes in hard, thin pepperoni-like lengths. The two are not the same, so don't try to substitute one for the other. If a Mexican recipe calls for chorizo, seek out the soft sausages, not the hard ones.
However, most Mexican chorizo tends to be very fatty, releasing pools of oil as it cooks, which you should discard for the sake of your (and your father's or other diners') arteries. Don't avoid chorizo just because of the oil—you need only a small amount of this deeply seasoned meat, cooked and drained, to boost up the flavors of a dish.
Or, do what I do: make your own homemade chorizo in minutes using "light" turkey/pork sausage chubs and your own seasonings—it's incredibly simple, tastes just as authentic, and I like it even better without the surplus fat. It's worth making a batch and freezing it in smaller portions, ready for a chorizo-seasoned meal any time.
Turn this weekend into a Father's Day Fiesta with these festive but easy dishes. Kids can help beat the eggs, mix the ingredients, and if old enough, chop the vegetables. Moms and other adults can work with any oven or broiling tasks, and everyone can stir the pan as needed.
So, to all you padres, papas, dads and granddads, Happy Father's DayÉOlé!
Kate's Latin American Month...
Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created June 1999
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