I cooked up a late breakfast yesterday for TPK and Miss V that I’ll share with you today. This is based on a recipe I learned while I was in Mexico, so I call it Desayuno Mexicano, or Mexican Breakfast. While the name isn’t all that great, the recipe sure is. Had I been smart, I would have taken pictures while I was cooking it up, but I failed to do so. I was too busy cooking.

Desayuno Mexicano

Ingredients:
1-3 eggs per person
1-2 strips of bacon per person
1-3 corn tortillas per person
1 clove of garlic per person
1 hot pepper (to taste)
t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

The amounts are not fixed in stone, and this can be easily expanded to fit the number of people eating and the size of their appetites. Depending on your skill to “wing it” when it comes to cooking, you should be able to play with this recipe. So, on with the cooking steps.

I start by pulling my corn tortillas out from the freezer. I don’t use corn tortillas often enough to have them on-hand fresh since they keep nicely in the freezer anyway. Separate the tortillas on the counter to thaw. Blot them with paper towels if they get wet, or knock off the thin layer of ice that may have formed on the tortillas. We want them thawed, not soggy. When they are thawed, stack them up, and chop them into one-half to one inch squares.

Crack the eggs into a container large enough to hold them. Crush and toss in the garlic. You did get all the papery stuff off first, right? Add the oregano, diced up hot peppers, and black pepper. Mix it all up like you were going to make scrambled eggs. Now you are ready for the cooking!

Fry and crumble up the bacon in a large sauce pan. I normally freeze my packages of bacon. Freezing it lets me chop off one-eighth or one-quarter inch slices of bacon across the grain. When it cooks up, the bacon separates into nice little pieces on its own. So easy! Once the bacon is cooked up, move it off to a little dish. You can drain off most of the bacon fat, but don’t throw it out!

Since the pan is still hot and nicely greased with the bacon fat, add in the cut up tortilla pieces and toss, coating them evenly with the bacon fat. Yum. Stir and toss continually. If you need more lubrication, add back in some more of the bacon fat. If there is any bacon fat left over when the cooking is done, pour it into a pint mason jar, seal, and place in the freezer. It’s instant bacon flavor! Tossing out bacon fat is one of the seven deadly sins, so don’t do it!

Anyway, toss the tortillas until they start to crisp up and get a little golden color. I like some crunch in my tortillas, so I wait for them to crisp up a bunch. Do not get distracted at this point! You can go from the golden-brown stage to the opening-windows-and-turning-off-the-smoke-alarm stage in seconds if you walk away. As they are just beginning to crisp up, I’ll sprinkle 1-2 pinches of salt on them. Don’t go overboard! This dish already has bacon for saltiness.

Once the tortillas are crisped to your liking, give the egg stuff a quick couple of stirs to mix up the floating bits, and pour it into the hot pan over the tortillas. Add the cooked bacon bits back in, and give it a quick stir to mix them up. Then stop! Give the eggs a chance to cook and set up on the bottom. If you have a nice non-stick pan and a wide spatula, you can flip the entire mess over once after a few minutes. If you are not so brave, or your pan is nice, but not non-stick, then use your spatula to flip it over in the largest chunks you can manage.

Serve immediately when done. Stop anyone who likes to salt before tasting and explain just how bad an habit that can be. I will sometimes grate some cheese on top, or pour on some salsa or hot sauce if I didn’t have any peppers to add to the dish. Yum!

Miss V said this was the best version of the Desayuno Mexicano I had made so far. And I must agree with her. It was most tasty.

UPDATE (4/19/2008 11:55:04 AM): OK, here’s a video for the recipe:

I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. Since I’m neither Irish nor Catholic, St. Patrick’s Day is an excuse to me to eat green donuts at work and corned beef when I get home. Mmm… corned beef. *drool* I posted some great recipes last year, so go check them out. And while you’re doing that, I’ll be typing up some stuff about Congress, porn, and the proposed .xxx domain.

Lá Fhéile Phádraig Sona Dhaiobh! That should mean “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all of you.” But since I don’t speak Gaelic, I have no idea if that was right, or if I just insulted your mom. But let’s pretend that I got it right and go on to the real reason why I, neither Irish nor Catholic, like St. Patrick’s Day. “Why do you like St. Patrick’s Day?” I hear you cry, and I wonder why you cry so easily, but it’s a simple reason.

FOOD!

Mmmm… food. When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, it means making some corned beef. Since I am typing this up on the 17th, it is already too late to get the corned beef cooking, since I like letting it cook for a good 18-24 hours. Here is my recipe for corned beef a la Captain Midnight.

Captain Midnight’s Corned Beef
(a thing of beauty)

corned beef (1lb. per 2-3 people)
10+ peeled garlic cloves
10-20 whole peppercorns
4-8 allspice berries
1 T. mustard seeds
2-3 bay leaves
water as needed

Buy enough corned beef to feed the horde. Place in a crock pot or normal pot if it won’t fit. Fill with water to cover. Add the rest of the above ingredients. Cover the pot and heat on high until the water starts to boil. Then reduce and simmer for 18 – 24 hours. Shortly before serving, pull the corned beef out of the water and scrape off any fat. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and serve with the garlic from the pot. It will be very soft and not strong at all.

Most of the time the garlic is eaten in the kitchen by the cooks and wandering family. Cooking the corned beef this long fills the house with a delicious aroma that will bring the family when you call. Now, you won’t only have corned beef, so you should cook up some veggies:

Irish Potatoes

potatoes
carrots
corned beef broth

Peel and chop the potatoes. Peel and chop the carrots, or be lazy like me and buy the bags of baby carrots. Fill a large enough pot with water and 1-2 cups of corned beef broth and bring to a boil. You will not need to add any salt to this water. Put the carrots into the water about 10 minutes before you start cooking the potatoes. In homage to my British ancestors, I boil them extra soft. Drain and serve.

Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

3 pounds red cabbage, sliced thinly
6 slices bacon, diced (I like more)
1 onion, sliced
3 apples, sliced thinly
1 cup chicken stock *
4 T. red wine
4 T. vinegar
4 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

In a large pot (8 quarts or so), saute the bacon and onions until the bacon is clear. Drain most of the fat, but keep some for flavor. Add the sliced cabbage and apples. Saute all this until the cabbage begins to collapse a bit. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, until all is nice and tender. This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

*If you really want to jazz this up, use corned beef broth instead of chicken broth. Trust me, this is like having a secret weapon in the kitchen wars.

Sauerkraut

1 quart sauerkraut in a glass jar, drained
5 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 T. brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine *
1 bay leaf
2 t. caraway seeds
1 cup grated and peeled potato, rinsed and drained

Fry the bacon and drain the fat. Fry the onions until golden. Add all the ingredients and enough water to cover. Simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

* Yep, more corned beef broth goes here since I don’t drink.

I will make the above four things whenever I get the hankering for something really yummy, or on the 17th of March. I normally ask my wife to whip up a white sauce with lots of horseradish to pour on the potatoes. The red cabbage and sauerkraut go very nicely together later. For some reason, the corned beef never makes it off the table. If I want some for lunch at work the next day, I have to put that aside before putting the food on the table.

I’d be eating that about right now, but since the lovely wife is off with her mom, I’ll hold off on making this until she can come back and enjoy it with me. Food always tastes better with love.