Huevos Rancheros

There is no food in the house.

You can’t make a delicious and satisfying meal

You must order takeout.

Have you found yourself in this frightening situation?

It usually hits just at the time when your favorite take out place is about to close and you end up debating being that jerk who places an order just before closing and makes the delivery guys work late (you will give him a good tip, you promise) and just taking a second look in the fridge.

9 times out of 10, I do actually have some ingredients that I can toss together and make into something.

Usually, it’s huevos rancheros.

Really, all you need is onion, peppers, beans and eggs. I tend to have all of these ingredients on hand. This time, there was also chorizo and some shredded cheese in the fridge. Score.

Chop up your onion and pepper and chorizo (if you have it) and toss into a pot with some olive oil.

Cook over medium heat until the veggies soften.


Add in your beans. I had refried pinto beans in the cabinet, but you could  use black beans, pinto beans, refried black beans, kidney beans. Really, whatever you have.



Let this cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.


Toss in a handful (or two) of cheese



and stir.



In a skillet, fry two eggs, sunny side and runny and gooey.

Place a scoop of the bean and veggie mixture on your plate and top with the fried eggs.



And there’s a delicious and healthy meal from the contents of your pantry.

If you have, you can top with salsa or avocado or both.

You will feel better about whipping up something yourself and your delivery guy will thank you.

Runny Egg Vegetable Stew

I came across this recipe in a magazine months ago.

It was a mix of beans and peppers and tomatoes topped with a fried egg.

The veggie mix was seasoned with an exotic mix of cumin and coriander and curry powder.

I wrinkled my nose when I read that part of the ingredient list.

Those are some very polarizing spices. They’re in the same category as cilantro. You either take a bite and say oh my god! What is that? This is delicious. Or, you take a bite and say oh my god! What is that? This tastes like soap.

Yes, it’s true. Due to chemical makeups in the body, some people get a soapy taste when they bite into cilantro (for more information check this New York Times article).

So anyway. I was a fan of the concept of the recipe but not all of its parts.

But that’s one of my favorite things about cooking – you can adjust to your tastes.

So I took the basic components of the recipe, sauteed peppers, tomatoes and cannelini beans topped with a fried egg, and replaced the spices and seasonings with those more favorable to my palate.

Since we had chorizo and scallions from out Chipotle salad the other night, I took this dish south of the border.

You will need

  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained (you can use any kind of bean, black beans for a more Mexican flavor, red kidney beans for more of a chili feel, chickpeas for a ratatouille. I just happen to have cannelini beans in the cabinet)
  • 2 tablespoons chorizo, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • eggs

Drizzle a pan with olive oil. You can use a big frying pan or a big pot. I like my aluminum one for this because I have tendency to throw things onto my stove when I use a shallow pan.

(My nickname in college was Calamity Jane. I’m not quite as calamatous. But still a bit)

Toss in the peppers and the chorizo.


This dish is cooked in layers as the cooking times vary on the vegetables.

When the peppers start to soften and the chorizo is starting to brown, add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes release their juices.


Add the beans and the salt and pepper and stir.


In a frying pan, crack 2 eggs per person, and fry them so the yolks are still runny.


A runny yolk is absolutely necessary to this dish. You can change the chorizo and scallions out for prosciutto and basil, or you can make it vegetarian with some parsley and oregano, but you cannot do this dish without a runny yolk.


While the eggs cook, the vegetables will simmer together and the juice from the tomatoes and the oil from the chorizo will make a thick stew like sauce. That sauce will mix with the runny yolk… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Add the chopped scallions and let them warm through. I like to let them stay crisp for a difference in texture.


Scoop out the veggie mixture onto a plate.

Top with the fried eggs.


Run your knife through the yolk and let the deep yellow yolk mix with the red, spicy tomatoey chorizo sauce.

I highly recommend some crusty bread to mop up all those juices.


Chipotle Craving – Deconstructed Taco Salad

I had a massive craving today.

And you know me and my cravings- when I want it, nothing else will do.

Today, I was actually sitting at my desk and daydreaming about a Chipotle salad.

Yes, yes, I know. Still on the salad kick.

But a Chipotle salad is so much more than a salad. It’s – it’s a deconstructed taco!

And if you’ve been reading, you know how much I love to make deconstructed things! (See here for deconstructed spicy tuna roll salad.)

I just read that back. Make deconstructed things. Can one make something that is deconstructed? Isn’t the thing which is deconstructed inherently unmade?

Pardon my philosophical ramblings. Chalk it up to the hunger!

So what was it exactly about a Chipotle salad that I was craving? Breaking it down to its parts, it’s the crisp and crunchy lettuce with the creamy black beans and the fatty avocado. And the sour cream. And the tomatoes. And the citrus.

I got this.


We’re going to make a deconstructed taco salad.

You will need

  • corn (fresh or from the can)
  • black beans (I used from the can, rinsed and drained)
  • scallions
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • romaine lettuce
  • chorizo
  • olive oil
  • juice from one lime
  • salt
  • pepper

In a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil and squeeze in the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and the chopped scallions. Whisk.

Now add in the corn, the black beans, and the tomatoes.

I actually, in all honesty, threw it all in a Tupperware, so instead of mixing, I put the lid on and shook it all up. But that’s our little secret.

photo 1

Make a bed of romaine in each bowl.


Top with the veggie mix.


Next, dice up the avocado and add to the top.


I don’t put the avocado in with the other veggies because it is delicate and you don’t want it to bruise or get all broken up.

Pop the salads in the fridge for a bit.

Meanwhile, chop up the chorizo and toss it in a frying pan. Cook over medium until nice and warm and slightly crispy.


When the chorizo is done, remove the salads from the fridge and top them with the warm chorizo. Warm and cold gives you the making of the perfect salad.


For an extra flourish top with Greek yogurt mixed with some lime juice. You can use sour cream, but this is a healthier option.


You can also grate some moneterey jack cheese over top and let the heat of the chorizo melt it slightly.

On the side, what Mexican salad would be complete without nachos?

The cheater’s way?

Pile some chips on a microwave safe plate.

Top with grated cheese.


Microwave on high for 10-15 seconds.


And Ole!

A deconstructed taco salad with a side of nachos.

Not quite Chipotle, but good enough to satisfy the craving.

Taco Taco Taco

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer.

It’s also the official start of grilling season.

Dads start rolling out the grills from the garage. People gather for backyard barbecues. Food Network has Grilling Week, a whole week dedicated to specials and shows and recipes centered around the grill.

There’s nothing better than a juicy burger, hot off the grill and tasting of open flames.

Except, if you have an itty bitty city kitchen, there’s nary a grill in sight.

Yes, I know, there are grill pans for indoor use. But I don’t know if it’s just us or if any of you had the same problem, we totally smoked our kitchen out using one. We have to go college-smoking-in-the-dorm style and bag our smoke detector to grill chicken or a burger.

Then the whole apartment smells like smoke.

Seriously. I showered the next day and when I dried off with my towel, I was basically rubbing smoke all over my newly cleaned self.

So for us, the grill pan is out. And anyway, the grill pan doesn’t mimic the char that you get on your burger when you cook over an open flame. And if I can’t have it the right way, then I’d rather not have.

So instead of trying to concoct ways to participate in the ultimate day for grilling, we went a different route.

Beef wasn’t optional.

But the bun was.

Who says you can’t celebrate Memorial Day with taco night?

I will admit that taco night is one of the more challenging nights in the life of an itty bitty city kitchen, but if you’re prepared and organized, it’s totally doable.

I’ll share with you our ingredients, but feel free to add and subtract toppings to suit your tastes.

  • romaine lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • black olives
  • shredded cabbage
  • taco cheese
  • salsa
  • Greek yogurt with a squeeze of lime (in place of sour cream)
  • flour tortillas

So here’s what I mean by being organized. We’re going to set up a make your own taco bar, which means each topping will be chopped up, put in its own bowl and lined up on the counter. It could easily overwhelm a little kitchen. But we’re going to be methodical.

First, pull out enough bowls for each topping and stack them up on the counter.

Get the cutting board and a knife.

Okay, here’s the key. Start with your least messy ingredient and then work your way to the messiest.

Think about it. You cut the tomato first and then move onto the romaine and you either have to rinse the cutting board and knife first or you wind up with tomato juice all over your romaine.

So, start with your romaine. Chop, place in bowl and then move the bowl out of the way, either off to the side or into the fridge to keep cold. I did the olives next, followed by the tomato. Then the cutting board went into the sink.

Spoon out a couple tablespoons of Greek yogurt into a bowl and spritz lime juice  over.


When everything is assembled, it’s on to the meat.

For the meat, I used ground beef, chorizo and half a yellow onion. But you can use just ground beef, chicken breast, steak, whatever you like. Taco night is all about taste and tailoring it to your tastes and cravings.

Drizzle olive oil in a pan and add in the chopped yellow onion and some chorizo, diced. I’m using the chorizo in place of taco seasoning here, mostly because it’s on hand and because the flavor is so much more complex than what you get from a seasoning packet.


Cook the onions and chorizo over medium until the onions are translucent and the chorizo starts to brown.


Add in the ground beef and brown.

Pour the meat into a bowl and add this to the taco assembly line.

Grab a plate, grab a tortilla and build your taco.


It’s not the traditional Memorial Day celebration, but it works for us.

We’ll start a new tradition.



Mexican Chili

The best friend of the itty bitty city kitchen is the one pot meal.

Only pot to make room for on the limited counter space.

And more importantly, only one pot to wash.

This is especially important after a long day at work. It’s even more important on hockey night.

Two nights ago, the Rangers thwarted the Bruins plans for a sweep, winning game 4 in the series in overtime 4-3. The series stands at 3-1. Bruins win, they’re in. Rangers win, they force a game 6 and hold onto Stanley Cup hopes.

This is going to be an intense game. You’re not going to want to have to wash stacks of dishes.

It’s supposed to be summer. It’s supposed to be time for seafood and burgers and freshness.

But, like I said before, in New York it’s 53 degrees with 23 mph winds.

Dinner calls for something that will warm us up. And be easy to eat during the game.

But after a long, cold winter of soups and stews and potatoes and roasts, I needed something different.

I am so ready for summer, and summer makes me think of Mexican.

Peppers, black beans, avocados, spicy chorizo, a crisp refreshing Corona.

How to take those flavors and make an easy to eat meal (tacos are too messy for hockey-watching on the couch) that will chase away the chill in the air.

This is my Mexican chili

You will need:

  • 1 bell pepper (any color is fine. I used green because those looked the best at the store)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 2 cans black bean
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatos
  • 1 can corn
  • olive oil
  • chorizo (note if you want to make this vegetarian leave out chorizo and add in some taco seasoning instead)

Drizzle olive oil in the pan. I like to use my aluminum pot here.

Add the chopped onion and pepper and cook until soft.


Chop the chorizo and add to the pepper and onion.

Let cook so the chorizo flavors the oil and the peppers and onion.


Add the cleaned and chopped portabella.

When the mushrooms are cooked down, pour in the can of diced tomatoes.

Stir and let come to a bubble.


Wash and drain the beans and drain the corn. When the tomato juices bubble, add the beans and the corn to the pot.

Stir. Cover. Let all the flavors come together.


Serve in bowls and add toppings as you wish.

Some ideas are taco cheese, monterey jack cheese, salsa, my avocado yogurt sauce (see here ) or even some crushed tortilla chips.


Lime. Corona.


Or, even better, try this little drink concoction.

Panache. (Also called a Shandy.)

This is a fantastic summer cocktail.

You just need any light beer and limonade.

Limonade is a French soda. It’s like a carbonated lemonade.

Going with the Mexican food thing, we used Corona.

Pour the beer into a frosty glass and add some limonade – roughly 2 parts beer to one part limonade. If you want it more citrusy, you can go one to one.


Chili. Chips. Panache.


Oh. And the game. Don’t forget to turn that on.

Let’s go Rangers!