In the days ahead you may find yourself rushing all over the place in an attempt to finish every task before Christmas arrives. I know that I still need to somehow accomplish the following: purchase wrapping paper; go food shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, and Christmas dinner; go spirits shopping, locate stocking stuffers, call a chimney sweep, get the dog a sweater (We adopted a new puppy!! More on adorable Seamus to come…); make and decorate gingerbread cookies; make some other kind of cookie; contemplate if I want to try and make a bouche de noel again this year (my mother openly gasped when I mentioned I might be attempting a task that was a monumental trauma last year); get a couple more last minute gifts; and drink some eggnog (spiked) and figure out if I like it or not, because somehow I can’t remember from one year to the other.
With all this crazed zipping around it’s easy to neglect one important thing: eating (I know, hard to imagine). Replacing lunch with a Mojo bar stashed in the glove compartment will do in a pinch, but neglecting a meal can lead to dangerous grazing and sudden fits of binging on sugar cookies or the vandalizing of a gingerbread house meant for looking not touching.
So my recommendation to you for surviving the days ahead is to make yourself a fine breakfast, that will fortify you for navigating fellow shoppers, crazy drivers, and crowded aisles.
I’ve been making my version of huevos rancheros (“my version” meaning: not necessarily authentic), which is satisfying, scrumptious, and will fuel your pre-holiday endeavors for hours.
-In a large skillet add about 1 tbs of grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan) along with two garlic cloves, finely chopped. Put the heat on medium-low and saute the garlic until fragrant but not turning brown. Add one chopped jalapeno (seeds and ribs scraped out unless you like the heat) and a tiny sprinkle of red chili flakes to the pan and saute these as well for about a minute, combining with the garlic.
To the pan add one 28oz can of crushed san marzano (also make sure the can is marked with “D.O.P”) tomatoes (or whole plum tomatoes that you squash with your hands, removing the hard inner stem). Add 1 tsp of ground cumin, salt and pepper to season, and raise the heat to medium-high to simmer the tomatoes for about 3 minutes so it can thicken. Swirl in juice from half a lime and taste for more seasoning before adding the eggs.
Take 4 eggs (or you can fit in up to 6 if you’re feeding a small crowd) and break them directly into the pan and into the sauce, keeping them about equal distance apart. Lower the heat a bit, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer until the eggs are cooked through but still slightly runny (unless you prefer them more well done) about 2 minutes.
Remove the lid and sprinkle the top of the eggs and sauce with grated cheddar cheese, let it melt a bit with the heat lowered. Then serve the eggs with a warm tortilla or some rice, if you have it (I actually served it over some quinoa the other day and it was very nice), I also like to sprinkle the top with some chopped cilantro and maybe add some more lime juice, you can add a dollop of Greek yogurt if you want the cool creaminess with the slightly spicy tomato sauce. If you have lettuce or arugula in the fridge why not put it on the side as well–who says you can’t have salad for lunch?
And in the meantime I’m still finalizing my holiday meal menu but right now I’m contemplating making a lobster bisque to start Christmas dinner–is that crazy?