Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 110 - Mexico - Huevos Rancheros with Fresh Salsa & Mexican Hot Chocoloate - Up Next, Microneisa

Dios Mio, I love Huevos Rancheros! But first... I made a total mess of the kitchen.  Mexican hot chocolate bubbling over in the pan all over the stove, chopped cilantro everywhere, jalapeño peppers in my eye, dog trying to steal tortillas off the counter, kid trying to swipe chocolate bar from pantry, couldn't get a decent shot of the finished meal...what I call an absolutely perfect Saturday morning. And, whilst trying to stay one step ahead of all this cooking chaos, I got involved in a Facebook conversation with old and new foodie friends from near and far (shout out to Gwyneth, Larry and Annick) about starting a vineyard/brewery/chocolate business somewhere in the south of France. Oh, the places I'd go if my kids would stop sucking the money out of my wallet.

Officially a Federal Constitutional Republic, Mexico is bordered by the United States, Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Belize, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Having gained independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico is the 5th largest country in the Americas, and the 14th largest independent nation in the world. Considered a newly industrialized country, Mexico is an emerging power in the global economy.

Mexican cooking is renowned for it's diverse flavors, colorful presentation and variety of spices that blends indigenous and European traditions to create one the world's most popular cuisines. Corn and beans are the country's staples, corn most often being ground into masa dough for tamales, tortillas and gorditas.  Squash, peppers, beans, tomatoes and nopales (cactus) are commonly eaten vegetables. Spices include: chili powder, oregano, cilantro, espazote, cinnamon and cocoa.

Huevos Rancheros with Fresh Salsa

6 Tbsp. canola oil
8 (5-inch) corn or flour tortillas
4 large ripe plum tomatoes (seeded)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced jalapeño pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
8 large eggs

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 200F. Stack 4 oven proof plates on rack to warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in  a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Stack 2 tortillas in skillet and cook 30 seconds, then flip stack over with tongs and cook 30 seconds more. While second tortilla cooks on bottom, turn top tortilla over with tongs, keeping tortillas stacked. Flip stack again and cook in same manner, turning over top tortilla and flipping stack again so that both tortillas are softened and both sides puff slightly, then deflate (do not let them become browned or crisp). Wrap tortillas loosely in foil and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining tortillas in same manner, adding 1 tablespoon oil to skillet for each batch (do not clean skillet in between).

Puree tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and salt in a blender until very smooth. Carefully add mixture to hot skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until salsa is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy non-stick heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then crack 4 eggs into skillet and cook 3-4 minutes for runny yolks, or to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered, then cook remaining 4 eggs in remaining tablespoon oil in same manner. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

Spoon 1/4 cup salsa onto each plate and top with 2 tortillas, slightly overlapping them. Transfer 2 eggs to tortillas on each plate and top with some remaining salsa. Sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco or cheese of your choice.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Adapted from David Leibowitz)

2 cups whole milk
4 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
pinch salt
3 ounces, Mexican sweet chocolate, chopped
cinnamon sticks for each cup

In medium sauce pan heat milk with cocoa powder and salt, whisking constantly until milk comes to a boil.
Remove from heat, add chocolate and whisk gently until chocolate has melted and is blended.
Add one cinnamon stick to each cup.
Serve warm.

Final Assessment: Dios mio esto fue el desayuno mas increible jamas! I loved this breakfast as it was hearty, spicy, light, healthy and beautiful to look at. The salsa can be made ahead, which cuts the cooking/prep time in half. My new favorite breakfast fo' sho'! And, the Mexican Hot Chocolate.  Heaven help me - this stuff was like nectar of the Gods - rich, not too sweet (no sugar added, just the sweetness of the chocolate), and simply sublime. A++


Karen said...

oh, YUM !!! You know how I love Mexican Chocolate ;)

Astrid said...

Sorry about the mess in your kitchen, but some days are like that - unfortunately! I've been craving for Mexican food over the last few days, so I think it is time to make something... perhaps this this....

Jill Gonzalez said...

I have a great memory of a cruise stop in Ensenada, it was raining and my friend and me found a coffee shop and had Mexican hot chocolate and pastries, which I normally find too dry, but these were so fresh. Yum! All of my best travel memories seem to involve food.

sadie said...

mmm...traveling, rain, hot chocolate, patries - great visual! now you've got me in the mood for chocolate :)