Huevos Rancheros or Rancher’s Eggs, for the Gringos

I was excited about this Huevos Rancheros recipe in Cook This, Not That. Even though it’s fairly simple to make, this gringa has never attempted to make it before. That’s not a huge shocker though. I love eating breakfast, but I don’t like making it. Why? I don’t why, I just don’t.

Ok fine, it’s because I’m terrible at making omelettes. I realize this is not an omelette, but it’s related. I either get impatient and don’t wait long enough or I wait too long. Plus, I’m not a morning person. I’d rather drink coffee and have people give me breakfast then make it for myself. Walt Jr, would hate me if I was his mother. I mean what would he do in Breaking Bad if I was his mother?

Anyway, this recipe is a healthy alternative, but it doesn’t require a whole lot of tweaking. Not frying your eggs and tortillas is the basic major change. I’m a gringa that grew up in the mid-west, but something tells me it’s not an authentic recipe either. Like I said though, I’m just a white girl, what do I know about these things?

What you’ll need to make this is, 1 16oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/2 of a chopped onion, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of chopped chipotle pepper, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lime, 1 16oz can of black beans, pinch of ground cumin, 8 eggs, and 8 corn tortillas.

I should note that this serves 4, but you can still prepare most of it as it’s written. The eggs and tortillas can be adjusted accordingly.

Your first step is going to be making the salsa. To do so, place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, cilantro, and half of the lime juice in a food processor. I should note that I just had some lime juice in a bottle. I think I added two tablespoons, but I admittedly don’t remember exactly. It’s not something that’s too difficult to eye though. Anyway, you will blend those ingredients until it’s slightly chunky.

The next step is to prepare the beans. The beans don’t require much, you just need to mix them with cumin and the remaining lime juice. Again, you can eye this if you don’t have a fresh lime. Once that’s mixed, feel free to season with salt and pepper and then mash lightly with a fork.

You are now ready to assemble your eggs!

Coat your skillet with some Pam and break open however many eggs you want. Cook the eggs over easy style.

Meanwhile, on another skillet, heat up your tortillas. Generally a minute on each side will do the trick.

Once that’s done, you add it all together for heavenly egg glory. To do so, spread the beans on the tortillas first, then the eggs, and finally the salsa.

If you’re feeling frisky, you can also garnish with cilantro. I do recommend this.

I also recommend stocking up on as much cilantro as possible when you visit El Pollo Loco if you are cheap like me. I mean, why not? You can have some tasty chicken the day before and then the next day use your free cilantro for whatever you need it for.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you enjoy this recipe, because I did.

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Rancher’s Eggs!

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Crostini con Cavolo Nero e Fagioli Bianchi AKA Black Kale, White Beans, and Toast

This recipe comes from The Italian Mama’s Kitchen and is an appetizer. I don’t know what else to say, except right now I’m having 90s flashbacks because I watched Mortal Kombat on Netflix with some friends recently and this song that is also in Hackers transported me in time and now I can’t get the song out of my head. So as I’m writing this, in my brain my mind is going Beeeeee lalalalala la la, oh weeeee, ohhhhhhhh,ohhhhhhh, beeeee lalalala la la. This song is also known as Halcyon and On and On for those who can’t decipher my lyrical writing.

Now that I’ve released that confession, here’s what you’ll need to make this Italian appetizer. 1/2 cup of dried cannellini, salt, 1 medium tomato, 1 celery stalk, 1 peeled carrrot, 1/2 of an unpeeled medium yellow onion, 6 unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 small bunch (5ish tablespoons) of fresh sage, olive oil, 1 trimmed and washed black kale, a baguette, and black pepper.

Your first step in making this is to soak your beans overnight. I could not find dry cannellini beans, so I skipped this step. What I skipped to, was placing the beans in a pot with cold water and adding the tomato, celery, carrot, onion, three of the cloves of garlic, sage, salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil. For the tomato, by the way, it is recommended to place a cross-wise slit on top. I tried to look up why that is necessary. I know it helps when you want to boil and skin a tomato, but for this recipe, skinning isn’t called for. My best guess is that it prevents the tomato from exploding. I apologize for the lack of credentials.

We are boiling the tomato, as well as the other items. So it’s possible my theory is right. Anyway do that and then let it simmer for 40 minutes. Once that’s done, drain the beans and discard everything else.

The next step is to cook your kale. This recipe calls for black kale. I could not find black kale, but the cookbook claims you can find it at specialty stores. If you don’t feel like searching, just grab purple kale or Italian kale, which is what I did. My grocery store claimed it was Italian anyway. I figured, “Hey this is an Italian recipe, might as well use Italian kale.”

Whatever kale you pick, cover it with water and bring to a boil for about 8 to 10 minutes. Once soft, you will drain and set aside.

As this is happening, the cookbook recommends that you make some garlic toast. To do so, toast your toast and then rub peeled garlic all over it.

Back to the kale now. What you will do with your kale next is cook it in olive oil as well as three peeled garlic cloves. Do this over low heat until the kale has been properly submersed in oil and heat.

Now that your kale is cooked, you can add it to your toast. Before you do so though, sprinkle some olive oil on the toast. Now put that kale on, top it with the beans, and presto! You should have a tasty little appetizer of kale and beans now. Despite my lingo, no magic is actually required. However, if you are magical. Well if you are magical, why bother getting advice on cooking from me? Just Harry Potter it for yourself. Jeez.

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I made my toast long, because I was lazy and eating by myself. If you have friends, you should cut and share.

Hummus, A Healthy Snack Made Even Healthier

My next recipe come from Light & Healthy. As I’ve said before, this cookbook is sweet because they experiment with different ingredients until they find healthy and tasty alternatives. I’m a big believer in, if you don’t like how light alternatives taste then don’t torture yourself with it.

I was unaware that hummus needed any tweaking in the healthy department though. To be fair to myself, there isn’t a whole lot of tweaking in this recipe. They basically use less olive oil and tahini. I guess that’s where all the fat is.

What you’ll need for this recipe are 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, 5 tablespoons of water, 1/4 cup of tahini, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 small minced garlic clove, salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, a pinch of cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of parsley.

The first step is to put the chickpeas, water, tahini, lemon juice, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cumin and cayenne in a blender or food processor.

I should note that I could not find straight up tahini, so I ended up using Trader Joe’s tahini sauce. If you do the same just check out the ingredients in the sauce and adjust accordingly. For example, if it has olive oil in it, don’t add in the full amount of olive oil in the recipe.

Either way, you are going to blend this mixture until smooth. After it’s been smoothed you let it settle by transferring it to a bowl and refrigerating for about an hour.

After that’s done you just sprinkle it with some parsley and it’s ready to serve. I also sprinkled mine with more cayenne, but that’s because I’m a spice freak.

The final result is a fairly basic hummus dip. I don’t have much to say about it. It wasn’t amazing, but it did the job. I paired it with pita chip wheat thins, but feel free to do whatever you wish with it.

Well maybe not whatever you wish, but you get the idea.

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Hummus!

Fennel Threesome with Arugula and Parmesan

My next recipe hails from Classic Pasta at Home and is an arugula salad with fennel and Parmesan. I love arugula and Parmesan. I can’t place how I feel about fennel though. I don’t hate it, but I don’t really like it either. It reminds me of people in my life who have never done anything spiteful or mean towards me, but for whatever reason I feel like something is off anyway. It’s a bizarre area of ambiguity that I am not a fan of.

Fennel is similar in that regard. I mean it’s healthy, so I feel like I should like it. It has a slight licorice taste to it, which means it’s not too bitter or sweet. I’ve liked it on certain pizzas and pastas I’ve had in the past, but I think that’s because it was just kind of there. It wasn’t really asserting itself in any way.

In this salad, Mr. Fennel was asserting himself big time and I decided I didn’t like fennel any more. He was being a little pushy. I enjoyed the arugula and Parmesan though, despite the cookbook calling arugula nutty. I always considered arugula to be just a little eccentric.

Anyway, to make your pushy arugula and fennel salad you will need 1 fennel bulb, 1/2 pound of rocket arugula, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 minced shallot, salt, pepper, and 2 oz of Parmesan cheese.

The first step is to slice your fennel. To do so, remove the stems and stalks. You will only be utilizing the bulb. You’ll also want to rinse the fennel. It gets a little dirty. I’m guessing from pushing itself onto everyone like the floozy fennel it is. Once you’ve rid your fennel of disease, you will cut it in half and thinly slice crosswise. When this is done, place the fennel in a large salad bowl with the arugula.

While the fennel and arugula are getting to know each other, you can make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and shallot in a small bowl to do so. If desired, you can also add salt and pepper to this. Either way, you are going to add this whisk mixture to the dance party in your large salad bowl. Toss that salad, because floozy fennel likes it and add more lemon juice if you think it’s needed as well.

Once fennel seems satisfied you can bring yourself to the party, provided you bring some shaved Parmesan with you. Fennel won’t have it any other way and arugula is just doing it’s thing.

I was not a big fan of this salad. I think mostly because I wasn’t enjoying the fennel. I also think my shallot was too big. What an unfortunate, un-intended pun by the way. I suppose I should apologize more for the other puns though. I actually came up with them.

Moving on, the shallot was a little too strong in my dressing. I think I should have used only half of the shallot I had minced. It also gave me the worst breath. I chewed a piece of gum and had three or four listerine strips before it went away.  I would have brushed my teeth, but I was in a public place after eating this. Talk about unfortunate.

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A slightly bitter threesome

Bread of Corn with Jalapenos

My next recipe is from I love Spice. I lightly complained in my past posts, that so far, this book was not spicy enough for me. However, this cornbread did deliver. Jalapenos always deliver though. I love them so much.

I have to note that I need to be careful about expressing my love of peppers. Apparently pepper is used as a slang in Mexico for male genitalia, more specifically small genitalia. I’ve always been a size isn’t as important, it’s how you use it kind of gal and I can’t say I don’t love peppers. I just don’t want to go around proclaiming it. Also, big peppers are not always as fun and spicy as they look. In my opinion.

So what you’ll need for this spicy cornbread is, 1 cup of cornmeal, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 small finely chopped onion, 1-2 finely chopped jalapenos (you know I used two), 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 4 1/2 ounces of canned creamed corn, 1 cup of sour cream, and 2 beaten eggs.

As always with baking, the first step is pre-heat your oven. For this dish, that will be 350.

The next step is to mix your cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in an appropriately sized bowl. Then mix the onion and jalapenos with it.

Once you’ve accomplished that, heat oil in a large skillet. Be sure to coat the whole skillet too. While the skillet is heating up, make a well in the center of your mixing bowl. If you don’t know what that means, basically you are pushing the flour off to the side to create an open space in the middle of the bowl. In that middle, make well water with the corn, sour cream, eggs, and finally the oil, once it’s heated up. Stir the whole mixture lightly and then pour the mix into your skillet.

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Flour mixture before it’s been baked

The final step is to bake for 35-40 minutes. Yes, you bake it in the skillet. Make sure your skillet doesn’t have anything that will melt, like a plastic handle. Mine was all metal, but I put aluminum foil on my handle anyway. I’ve read somewhere that aluminum helps keep plastic handled skillets from melthing. I’ve never tested this though. If you want to try, I say be careful and skeptical. Cleaning up melted plastic is no bueno.

My corn bread turned out quite well. If you don’t like jalapenos though, I would not recommend this, because it does have a kick. You can taste the jalapeno in there. I personally love that, but not everyone does.

I ended up bringing my cornbread on a trip with some friends. We went to Big Bear Lake in California for Memorial Day. On our way there, we saw a homeless man. This is sadly, a common sight in my neighborhood. One of my friends wanted to give him money, so we stopped the car to give him some. I was holding the corn bread and realized that I could give him food. So I gave him a slice. That man looked so happy. It was truly touching. He looked like a little boy on Christmas Day. As my friend started to drive away, I thought, “Oh crap! What if he freaks out when he eats the jalapeno?!”

So as we were driving off, I yell, “IT HAS JALAPENO!!!!”

If this doesn’t make you laugh. Let me explain. Imagine an SUV driving off into the clear blue skies of Los Angeles and picture a delighted homeless man with a slice of cornbread. Just as he’s about to take a bite, see a blonde haired girl stick her head out of the truck window, screeching loudly that it has jalapeno. Trust me, it was a classic Rachel moment.

My friends laughed right away and teased me mercilessly the rest of the trip.

I haven’t seen that man since, which is shame. I’d really like to get a review from him. My friends had some reviews though. They were mostly positive, but for one of them it was just too damn spicy. She would take a bite, a tear would slowly trickle down her face and as she was breathing heavily from the shock of it, she would say, “IT HAS JALAPENOS!”

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Crumbled style

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Memorial day style