Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Home Grubbin - breakfast burritos

Habanero pineapple salsa.
Burrito prep.
Wheat tortillas and cheddar jack.
Beans, eggs, and linguica frying pan mess.
Linguica, one poundish, courtesy of the fine folks at Gaspar's.
Egg Starts, cheaper than Egg Beaters and less green than MyEggs. And now, the story:

Last Friday, my Lady Friend and I woke up hungry. We each had a busy day ahead of us, but we were fortunate to have some time to kill before the grind. We could have gone for one of the many breakfast serving options in my neighborhood, but why go out if that pot of fresh ground coffee is telling you that, with a little effort, you can DO THIS THING right at home? After a couple of sips of hot black fuel and a survey of the fridge and cabinets, I had devised my plan: quick-and-easy breakfast burritos. 

"Take the first shower, baby," I yelled to the bedroom. "I'll get things started." I popped on the radio -- LRC Nick was still unloading the punk rock into the morning airwaves -- and my Lady Friend hit the shower armed with her own cup of coffee.

Step one was to fry up a pound of ground linguica. I often go with links of the stuff for the grill, and the same company makes awesome chourico, but the ground format is key if time is of the essence. It is virtually labor-free; a few taps of a wooden spatula and the block crumbles into small, meaty bits and disperses easily on the pan. It wouldn't be long before the dank coffee aroma in my kitchen was mingling with fumes of fatty, salty goodness and I was ready to start adding in the next crucial components.

Step two: THE EGGS.

 I love a good fried egg, runny yolk and all, but when the end result is mish-mash burrito filler, it makes best sense to simply go with those cartons of liquid eggs available in pint or quart sizes. Somehow healthier than eggs in terms of cholesterol, and virtually mess-free (i.e. no worries about shell bits, etc.), most people know them as Egg Beaters. I prefer to go with the cheaper, private label equivalent that my friendly neighborhood Market Basket carries called Egg Starts. They're the same fucking thing, but they cost less. Good for the E.S. and, purportedly, not as bad for you as regular eggies. 

So, I drained the grease from the linguica, left the meat in the pan, popped open a pint of Egg Starts, and poured it in. I gave the pan a quick stir, then grabbed a can of black beans (GOYA!!!) that I had opened, drained off the excess bean liquid, and scooped the beans into the egg mess. There is no science to this. I just kept stirring the eggy/beany/meaty slop on a medium gas flame until everything was simmering and the eggs weren't leaving watery streaks in the pan.

As the burrito filler was cooking, I readied a couple of burrito shells. I have long used white flour tortillas, but I recently discovered the healthier whole wheat version (no, inner critical voice, I am NOT turning into Slim Goodbody, but when you are a man who has been Hard Livin for much of his life there comes a time when he might start thinking about taking steps to offset the past badness with future living-better-ness...). More important than the shell type (either works fine), one thing I used to do differently when I prepared burritos was to just scoop the burrito fixins into cold shells out of the package, which often resulted in shells splitting and tearing. So I decided to try a quick-steam technique that I learned from the local assembly line-style local taquerias that I am prone to frequent (i.e. Ana's, Felipe's, Olecito, etc.). Since I don't have a steamer, I will drizzle some water on either side of the shells, slap them on a plate, and zap them in the microwave for 45 seconds. The result is softer, more pliant shells that are less prone to breakage once I get in burrito rolling mode.

Once the mish-mash was done, I was ready to roll. I put a scoop of the bean/egg/meat mix in the shells, topped each with shredded cheese and hi-test homemade pineapple salsa (I will be posting a separate bit on this spicy concoction soon, but suffice to say BLAH-DAMN this shit's got some KICK!), rolled them tight, and nuked them for two minutes. Since my Lady Friend and I had to work later in the day, we decided against giving the burritos the full-on fried treatment -- a step that is a sure-fire recipe for post-breakfast napping. Yeah, we were Home Grubbin, but we had jobs to do!

This is not to imply that we were opposed to making our breakfast experience as delicious as possible. Each burrito was smeared with sour cream and served with fresh slices of avocado. That fiery salsa required the cooling effect that only sour cream and avocado can provide.

At any rate, it wasn't long before we had cleaned our plates, sated and caffeinated. Hard Home Grubbin made us more than ready for the day. Sometimes it just has to be done that way.


  1. I applaud your commitment to home hard grubbin during the economic situation. Recession era grubbin is all about adapting.