Migas

Well, hello there.

If you’re wondering if I’d fallen off the edge of the earth, you’re not alone – I’ve been wondering that myself.  But no, just extremely busy (more on that tomorrow).

I’d mentioned a bit earlier that ever since The Young One has been off to college, I hadn’t felt much like cooking.  Or at least cooking anything worthy of a blog post; most of it’s been either recipes I’ve posted before, or stuff so simple that you could hardly call it “cooking.”  A lot of it couldn’t even remotely be considered “paleo” (but again, more on that tomorrow).

At any rate, I have prepared a few things worthy of a photograph and blog post – this is one of them.

My first husband was (is, I suppose, since he’s still living) Hispanic, and his grandmother was one of the finest cooks I’ve had the privilege to have known.  It was she who introduced me to authentic Mexican cuisine, rather than the Tex-Mex I’d grown up with, and her handmade tortillas, refried beans, menudo, and caldo de res were beyond compare.  I couldn’t wait for the holidays every year, when she and my mother-in-law would crank out enormous batches of tamales, both sweet and savory, and the buñuelos she made us as a treat for New Years were the best I, or probably anyone else, have ever tasted.

And she introduced me to Migas.

In the Mexican-American household – or at least, her Mexican-American household – Migas is a simple dish of eggs scrambled together with bite-size pieces of corn tortillas, and I loved it from the first time I took a bite.  Having said that, it occurred to me when I made this particular recipe that I hadn’t eaten it in over 25 years.  You see, when I was pregnant with Darling Daughter (in 1986 – yeah, I’m that old), migas was one of those things that, for no good reason I could tell, just turned my stomach – I simply couldn’t eat it. (Pregnancy will often play horrible tricks like that on you.)  I re-entered the workforce when she was about 6 months old, and I guess it just never occurred to me to ever cook it again.  I don’t know why.

Fast forward to a couple of days after Christmas.  Jolly and The G Man had spent Christmas Eve with us, and I had made Mexican for dinner, which included beef and cheese enchiladas.  (Hey, it was our Christmas Eve dinner – we could eat what we liked.  And we did.)  So, here I was, left with half a package of corn tortillas sitting in my fridge, softly calling to me, “Here we are…are you going to let us go bad?’

The answer to that would be, “No.”  And Migas, which Beloved had never eaten before, was the result.

Ironically, this version is a gussied-up, restaurant-style, Tex-Mex version of the simple dish Grandma taught me, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  You can, of course, make it with just the eggs and tortillas, but the addition of the vegetables is just wonderful.  You can also leave out the cheese and half and half for a dairy-free version, or you can leave out the tortillas if you’re avoiding grains.  It won’t be Migas without them, of course, but it’ll still be pretty darn good.

Migas. Simple Tex-Mex comfort food at its finest.

Click the image to enlarge

Migas
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the eggs and half and half until well blended; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion turns translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno and cook for another minute more.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Stir the tortillas into the vegetable mixture and cook for one minute; pour in the egg mixture and stir gently to combine. Reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the eggs are softly scrambled. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then gently stir in the tomatoes.
  4. Divide the Migas between 4 plates; top each with cheese and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 479 calories, 30.8g total fat, 430.2mg cholesterol, 350.2mg sodium, 457mg potassium, 27.7g carbohydrates, 4.3g fiber, 3.8g sugar, 23.7g protein

Russian Beet Salad

This is an interesting little dish that I made last week as a way to use up some baby beets I’d roasted and peeled a day or two before, but hadn’t eaten.

Thursday, before we caught our flight to Sin City, I made us lunch.  One of the lunch items was something we’d never experienced before – leftover Slow Cooker Pot Roast (we NEVER had leftover beef of any sort before The Young One went away to college); we also scarfed down some of those delicious Dilly Beans.   I spied the beets in the fridge, and knew that if I didn’t do something with them that I’d just end up throwing them away.  But what to do with them?

I’ll tell you what:  make this salad.  It. Is. WONDERFUL.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely think of Russia as having it’s own cuisine.  Of course it does, and beets play a prominent part in it.  This is a lovely, simple salad of cooked beets, walnuts, garlic and mayonnaise and it really couldn’t be more delicious.

It helps to cook, peel and chill the beets ahead of time; once they’ve been shredded or grated, the salad comes together in a snap.  I used Better Than Miracle Whip to dress it and added raisins because that’s what I had on hand, but plain mayonnaise and chopped prunes are traditional.  Beloved, who adores beets, couldn’t get enough of it and I quite happily ate the leftovers when I returned home from Vegas.

Russian Beet Salad. This lovely, vibrant salad is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to eat beets you'll ever find.

Click the image to enlarge

Russian Beet Salad
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds beets, roasted, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a bowl, stirring until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate for half an hour before serving.
  2. Nutrition (per serving): 227 calories, 14.8g total fat, 11.3mg cholesterol, 116mg sodium, 499.1mg potassium, 23.1g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 16.8g sugar, 4.1g protein

Breakfast Enchiladas

Well, hello there.

Yes, I’m back.  I didn’t post last week at all; I just couldn’t find the energy/time/inclination to do so.  It’s been a really strange, stressful summer – thank goodness it’s almost over.  I’d like to say it IS over and had fully planned to come back today with a post announcing I’d gotten my mojo back, but several unbloggable events over the course of the weekend, and the fact that I’m fighting off a particularly nasty stomach bug, have made me hesitant to think that, much less say it.

I’d really, really like to put this all past me – I’ll tell you what I can tomorrow – so I’m going to go ahead and act as if I have.  Fake it till you make it, and all that.

So.  The Young One came home for Labor Day weekend and after discovering that because he doesn’t want to get up early enough to actually go eat breakfast and had spent the week scarfing down Pop Tarts every morning (see?  THIS is what I’d been worrying about), I decided to send him back to school with an armload of breakfast tacos that he could microwave in the morning before making his zombie-like way to class.

It was a good strategy, but it left me with a dozen corn tortillas once I’d made enough tacos to stuff the freezer portion of his mini-fridge with something that resembled actual food.  Now, I like a good breakfast taco as much as the next person, I suppose, but why make tacos when you can make enchiladas?

So I did.

And they were muy bueno.

I am, in fact, lucky I got any at all, considering the way Beloved sucked them down.  Even the leftovers.

Please note that you don’t want the eggs to be completely cooked when scrambling, because they are going to cook some more once they go into the oven.  I’ve also included directions for softening the tortillas in the microwave before filling, as opposed to the traditional method of softening them in lard or oil, in an attempt to keep the calorie count somewhere in the realm of reasonable – and this isn’t a low calorie dish to begin with.

It is, however, a really nice occasional indulgence that is great served with fresh fruit and maybe even a Bellini. 😉

Note:  This can be assembled the prior evening and refrigerated overnight, so all you have to do is bake it in the morning.  Also, if you make your enchilada sauce with olive oil and vegetable stock, as opposed to lard and chicken stock, this will be vegetarian friendly, too.

Breakfast Enchiladas. Perfect for Sunday brunch, this easy-to-make casserole can be assembled the night before.

Click the image to enlarge

Breakfast Enchiladas
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 recipe [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/enchilada-sauce/” target=”_blank”]Enchilada Sauce[/url]
  • 12 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium poblano chile, seeded and diced
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook the onion, bell pepper and poblano chile until the vegetables are soft and the onion is golden.
  3. Increase the heat slightly and add the beaten eggs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are softly scrambled, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Wrap the tortillas in a large, clean kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Turn the bundle over and microwave for another 30 seconds.
  5. Working quickly and carefully, fill the tortillas with the egg mixture and roll into a cylinder shape; place each enchilada seam-side down in a large glass baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas and top with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the eggs are completely set.
  7. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 545 calories, 30g total fat, 418.4mg cholesterol, 495.2mg sodium, 828.1mg potassium, 43.1g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 9.4g sugar, 27g protein

 

Mexican Breakfast Meatzza

Happy Monday (or so I keep telling myself).  I’ve got a bit of a case of the fuzz-brain today, so just bear with me for a bit.

I got an interesting comment on Facebook this morning, re: the Baked Eggs with Ratatouille recipe.  At the beginning of that post I wrote, “It’s August 1st – welcome to Day 1 of the Whole30.”   A very nice woman pointed out that August has 31 days, and thought I’d made a typo.  I’m so glad she said something.

I automatically assumed that everyone who reads my blog understood what that meant, entirely overlooking the fact that I get a ton of traffic from Facebook/Foodgawker/Tastespotting/Photograzing etc. and not all of these people – darn few, in fact – know what the dickens a Whole30 is.

Whole30 is a very strict paleo diet protocol that one follows for at least 30 days.  By strict, I mean no grains of any kind, no sugar or sweeteners of any kind (even stevia), no dairy of any type, no legumes (including peanuts), no soy, no industrial seed oils, no white potatoes and a few I probably am missing but can’t think of right off the top of my head.  Paleo “treats” are also a no-no, as are paleofied versions of “problem foods” such as pizza.  If it sounds boring, it can be if you let it (I disagree with the reasoning behind some of the restrictions, which I’ll probably go into at a later date), but as they say – it’s just 30 days, and for the most part it is a great way to detox and take stock of your diet.

I gave up grains for the most part (gluten-bearing grains all together), cut down on dairy, eliminated refined sugars, legumes, processed soy and industrial seed oils three years ago while embracing grass-fed/pastured meats and eggs and locally grown, sustainable fruits and vegetables 3 years ago and haven’t looked back since.  I lost some weight (although not nearly enough) and my health improved vastly.

Now, having said that I have periods where I begin to “drift” – too many gluten-free baked goods, a few too many white potatoes, too much alcohol, etc.  I successfully completed a Whole30 last August, and while I didn’t see the results I’d hoped for – my biggest reason for doing it was to find some relief for the worst of my menopause symptoms (I’m 50, in case you’re new here), which was a bit of a bust – that doesn’t mean it didn’t do me any good.

Over the last six months or so, those very symptoms that were driving me so crazy last summer have greatly decreased in frequency and severity; I can only conclude that after an extremely rough five years, I’m finally on the downside of the peri-menopause mountain I’ve been climbing.  And since I know what’s coming, and have a different set of expectations this time around, I’ve decided that it certainly couldn’t hurt to do another Whole30 again this August – if I feel it is hurting me, there’s no law that says I’ve to stick it out for the entire 30 days, is there?

So, for those of you who are new or happened to stumble upon my humble little corner of the interwebz, that’s my story in a nutshell – what a Whole30 is and why I’m participating this month.  All of the recipes posted here between August 1 – 30 will be Whole30 compliant…and they will be delicious.

Anyhoo.

We had this Sunday morning; it’s the result of a suggestion from Beloved when I asked what he’d like for Sunday brunch (always a big deal in our house).  Frankly, I simply took my Mexican Meatzza recipe, scaled it down slightly and changed the toppings to make it suitable for breakfast.

And Holy Mother of Pearl, is it good.  Even The Young One ate it (minus the vegetables, of course).  It was a great brunch dish, and could easily be doubled if you’re serving a crowd.  It went very well with the fruit salad I’ll post later this week.

This can, of course, be modified in any way you like – if you’re okay with dairy, by all means, put some cheese on it (The Young One did).  Might I suggest a good quality Mexican cojita?  It would be nice topped with salsa, too, or hot sauce (I believe my better half doused his in Tapatio).

Note:  I used an 11″ x 17″ cookie sheet for this, and it shrank quite a bit as the fat rendered out; the “crust” cracked in a couple of places, as well.  It didn’t affect the taste at all, but it might work a little better in a slightly smaller pan.

 Mexican Breakfast Meatzza. Pizza for breakfast? You bet - South of the Border style!  Gluten and dairy free.

Click the image to enlarge

Mexican Breakfast Meatzza
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 recipe [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/enchilada-sauce/” target=”_blank”]Enchilada Sauce[/url]
  • 8 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the pork and chorizo together in a large bowl. Pat out into a medium-size cookie sheet or other shallow, rimmed baking sheet to a uniform thickness, pushing it up the sides slightly to form a rim. Spread the enchilada sauce evenly over the surface of the meat.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, or until the meat is cooked through. Carefully pour off any fat and liquid in the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Scramble the eggs in the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat until done to your liking.
  5. Scatter the eggs evenly over the surface of the meatzza; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cut into eight equal pieces and top each piece with the tomato, avocado and onion before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 503 calories, 40g total fat, 267.9mg cholesterol, 686.8mg sodium, 693.9mg potassium, 9.8g carbohydrates, 2.8g fiber, 3.3g sugar, 25.9g protein

Enchilada Sauce

I love Mexican food.

I also hate canned enchilada sauce.

It doesn’t help that I’m really picky about the stuff.  It’s been one of my biggest problems with Mexican restaurants here in Ohio – even the best of them (so far that’s a little hole-in-the-wall joint in Seville, Ohio, of all places) – have crappy enchilada sauce. (The sauce at the restaurant in question tastes like it came from a can of Spaghetti-O’s.)

Because of this, I make my own enchiladas – most notably, Beef and Cheese and Molé – neither of which include traditional enchilada sauce. (Note: If you view the Molé Enchilada recipe, it was written before we changed our diet and I have reversed my stance on lard.)  At any rate, the recipe I am posting tomorrow calls for enchilada sauce, so I had to make it myself.

Most recipes call for flour to thicken them.  I toyed with the idea of thickening mine with a combination of tapioca, rice and potato flours, but in the end decided it would be best if I simply reduced the sauce until it was thick.  I am SO glad I did; reducing served to concentrate the flavor of the sauce – it was simply marvelous.  Far, far tastier than anything you can get from a can, and without any thickeners at all.

I’m so enamored with it that I am going to make enchiladas – with corn tortillas, yup – Sunday for Cinco de Mayo.  I may even throw caution to the wind and make a gluten-free version of Southwestern Spoon Bread and some traditionally prepared black beans.  After all, if you’re going to eat less than optimally, it might as well be with some nomilicious homemade Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo.

The sauce is deliciously Whole30; you can make it vegetarian/vegan by substituting the lard with olive oil and the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Enchilada Sauce.  So simple and delicious, you will never buy the stuff in the can again.

Enchilada Sauce
Serves: 8
[i]Yields about 2 cups[/i]
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the lard in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the salt and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat once again and simmer until the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon.
  3. Season with salt as needed.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 92 calories, 4.4g total fat, 4.8mg cholesterol, 126.7mg sodium, 365.2mg potassium, 10.6g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 5.2g sugar, 2.9g protein