Friday, April 16, 2010

Special Guest Post!

My sweetie and I are relocating to Stamford this weekend, so I won't be deconstructing anything this week. Instead, I have a special guest, my friend Deacon, who I met on Live Journal's Food Porn Community. Hope you enjoy:

Excuses para un amigo. Excuses for a friend.

The Setup
Today I read a blog entry that said there were some health benefits for drinking white wine.
Really white wine? For years we heard that alcohol was bad for you, even doubly so for pregnant women.
Then we heard that red wine was good for you and women can have a small amount a day. Then NOPE STILL BAD
take this pill instead, its like 300 glasses of wine rolled into one. Then I come across that white wine can be good for you too.
So ive drawn the conclusion that if I wait around long enough every vice and horrible thing I want to eat will be proven by at least one blogger
to be good for me somehow.
We all heard about eggs, and how they will kill you and are so high in cholesterol. But then you see the old videos and movies of boxers and fighters
drinking them raw and then hoping in the ring and "chopping the Russian down". Um, how can they NOT be good?
So when I heard that yes, eggs in moderation can be of some nutritional value and good source of protein, I took the chance to take advantage of a cheap
meat substitute for the weekly meal rotation.
I ended up thinking of all the ways I like eggs and breakfast kept popping up. More aptly, breakfast at the house on lazy Sunday mornings or out a nice spot closer to brunch time.
Then it hit me. Migas. that quintessential Mexican Grandmother treat in Texas. And what better excuse to eat a few plates of eggs and salsa than to help out a friend.
When Kate needed a little entry, I did my duty and gave an extra dozen eggs a place to stay, temporarily.

I live in Texas and in Texas about half the non chain restaurants serve migas for breakfast. Migas best translates to crumbles and is either for the crumbled tortillas strips or bread in some cases, along with the scrambled eggs in the dish.
Its a pretty good Tex Mex standard and is a great way to use up left over items for breakfast. I think its versatile enough to make you look like you know your way around a kitchen and have some culture.
Surprise the other person in your life by whipping some up one morning or evening for dinner. Amaze your buddies when they show up early....or late and you need a quick bite.

Now living in Texas I am used to everybody having a few things in their kitchen arsenal. A ratio for sweet tea, a bbq sauce recipe, a chili recipe, a brisket cooking method and something involving eggs salsa and tortillas in some way or another.
So when asking around and doing my own research I found no less than 20 recipes for migas. Some with turkey, some with chorizo, some swearing by salsa verde and others using freshly cut and fried tortillas.
At some restaurants asking about the recipe for the migas gets you the stank eye . But many are all to eager to let you in on their secret. Sadly many of those secrets come in a bottle.
Fear not, in an effort to truly understand this dish from the inside out and learn it form the ground up, and to suffer for the reader who may not think a foodie suffers, I used the newish method of Deconstruction. It was painful and torturous, but blogging for food is not for the faint of heart or the fearful of possible kitchen disasters.
Certain elements remain the same across all of the migas recipes. Eggs, cheese, veggies of some sort normally involving onions and tomatoes and peppers and tortillas in a crisp fashion.
With that in mind I decided that deconstructing it and placing it on the plate would indeed give insight to the dish and a good understanding of it.

without further bumping of my gums (or pecknig of my fingers) I present my Migas: Deconstruido para un amigo!

The Gear
serves 2
6 eggs
dried cumin
sea salt
pico de gallo or a thick THICK chunky salsa
tortilla chips
about 1/2 lb chicken tenders or turkey cut into cubes
chili powder
Daddy Hinkles dry maranade
cayenne pepper
corn oil
a mixed blend of shredded cheese, I used a blend of mozzarella, asiago, cotija and parm.
Several that were left in the fridge or you can get a blended bag mix.

Non Stick skillet or well seasoned cast iron if you are that advance.... i'm looking at you in envy now...

The Method, down dirty and full of fun.
I start by quickly marinading the chicken chunks.
IN a ziplock bag I added all of the chicken and a few shakes of
chili powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, Daddy Hinkles and oregano.
I mix and move the chicken around until its coated all of the meat and set aside  to mix the eggs.
In a clean non stick skillet bring it up to heat and add some oil, about a dime sized amount and then add your chicken. We are going to get this to be somewhat blacked like in
some cajun recipes. This is gonna really make the smokiness of the cumin and cayenne come out. I let this chicken cook for abotu 5 minutes without touching it on one side,
then flip each piece and another 4 minutes on the other. This will have your kitchen smelling amazing and you may need to crack a window. The smoke gets out there but its ok.
It is only the cayenne and chili powder. I set this aside.

I warm up the skillet and add a drop of oil to come to temp. I crush my tortilla chips just a bit so I don't have huge whole chips, but not to a powder.
I add those to the skillet in one layer and sprinkle a little cumin and toss. I let this cook til barely browned on one side, about 3 minutes.
While that cooks I mix my eggs and a bit of powdered parm cheese, oregano and cumin and sea salt.
when the chips are down i move them to a plate
Into that skillet i turn off the heat and add my pico, or the salsa and let the heat cook out the extra water and warm it up. We dont want any
color on the veggies just heat them up and get them less watery.
Set this aside in a bowl after wards.

Finally we start the eggs.
In a clean nonstick skillet you will add a bit of oil or butter and get it melted. If using butter we will let it begin to foam  and brown before adding the eggs.
add about half of the egg mixture and swirl it to get the pan bottom covered. Then let it slowly cook. You are looking at the edges to see them being to so slight turn up. This is when its ready for the next step.
Much like an omelette we want it to "set". Now we add a good sprinkle of cheese. Now the fun part. I wanted to have a type of square for this so I use a spatula and lift up one edge of the eggs and fold it over to form
and edge. I do this 4 times making a square or diamond shape depending on how your skillet turns. By this time the eggs are pretty set up and you can flip the whole square. I let it cook on the other side for only a few seconds, 30-45 at most, This also
browns the cheese a bit and make sit look very nice.
I slide this to a plate and assmeble the migas ingredients in rows or strips

One row or strip of salsa/ pico, a rovw of cheese, row of crisp tortillas, cheese then chicken.
I take some salsa, usually salsa verde and make one line across and a squeeze of lime juice across the whole dish.

What we have are all of the main elements taken apart and placed back together in a way that  ties them all with the salsa on top and the cumin in each element.

Our real fun when eating was tasting them separate, then all together then finally a scene of dinner plate massacre as we jumble them all back together.

normally the migas recipe is faster and all combined in small steps ending up with a nice treat that's good for breakfast lunch or dinner.

Heating up the chips then adding in the cooked meat and getting a little color, adding pico or salsa then the eggs and cheese, scrambling until the eggs are almost done and then turning out onto a plate.

So in the end migas is still my favorite way for eggs in the morning and deconstructing it showed me that those ingredients in concert make beautiful music.

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