Thursday, September 25, 2008


I read in the October issue of Skiing Magazine about Fred Syversen, a pro skier from Norway, who got off his line while filming in Switzerland. When he realized his error, rather than slow down and risk hitting a shark fin that would cause him to crash and fall off the 351 foot cliff he was skiing above, he decided to just send it at 50 mph and launch the cliff instead.

He thought he was going to die, but saw some snow below and landed there, wisely on his back to spread the impact across his body rather than taking it all in his legs and spine. Not only did he survive the fall, but after his friends dug him out four minutes later, he skied down to the helicopter, which took him to the hospital for observation.

I can't imagine the kind of stones it takes to make a conscious decision to launch a 351 foot cliff. The crazy thing is that afterwards, Fred didn't even want to take credit for his new world record, stating: "it doesn't count unless you stomp it." That's a far cry from Jamie Pierre, who landed on his head making his world record launch, but happily took credit for it anyway.

But that's not actually the kind of huevos I wanted to write about today. Instead, I wanted to mention my favorite preparation of huevos: rancheros.

Last year after Lotoja, we had breakfast at this little dive in Driggs, ID that served fantastic huevos rancheros. So of course this year we went back. But before I tell you about that, a quick tangent to set the stage:

Following Lotoja '07, we were looking for somewhere--anywhere--to eat where we could get in right away. We settled on the Village Inn simply because we had two hungry cyclists and four kids who had spent all day in the car, and it was the one restaurant in Jackson that didn't have a line out the door. When I got my mashed potatoes, about two bites into them, I noticed that the powder they were made out of had not been fully mixed or dissolved. So I flagged down the waitress and asked her if she could bring me some new potatoes. She brought back the new potatoes, but there was no gravy on them. When I brought this to her attention, she said that I had only told her I wanted new potatoes but had said nothing about the gravy. Not feeling particularly patient, I responded by saying, "Well what did you think I was going to do, scrape the gravy off of these ones? Of course I wanted gravy." She took them away and brought them back with gravy. Except it was brown gravy, which, as everyone knows, does NOT go with chicken fried steak. But she refused to walk by me again (I suspect the gravy "mistake" may have been intentional), knowing I would ask her to correct the error. Woeful as I was about what else may have ended up in the potatoes, I didn't eat them.

So began my history of wonderful table service when dining out after Lotoja.

In order to avoid similar inconveniences, this year we just ordered some pizza and picked it up on our way to the condo. Since nothing can go as it's supposed to, when we got to the condo, we discovered that one of the bedrooms had two twin beds instead of two queens like we expected. So we had to go through the hassle of calling property management after hours and getting them to switch rooms for us.

Once the room fiasco was resolved and we finally got to enjoy our pizza, I thought our troubles were over and was just looking forward to getting some sleep and enjoying huevos rancheros the next morning. I didn't sleep a wink. Finally at about 3:00 a.m. I took two Tylenol PM and laid in bed awake for another hour. I realized I was starving. I got up and ate two more pieces of pizza. At about 4:00 a.m., I went to sleep. And managed to stay that way off and on for another two hours or so.

By the time we got to the Buckaroo Bistro, I was really looking forward to breakfast and having something finally go right. We went in to sit down, and the waitress got after us for moving chairs to our table so we could all sit together. Instead, she wanted us to sit at separate tables, citing the need to be able to seat additional customers. I explained that it made no difference, since if some of us were sitting at the second table, she couldn't seat customers there anyway. She could not be convinced.

The huevos rancheros were still good, but I'm not looking forward to going back again.

I also realized that there was nothing magic about their huevos rancheros, so I've made my own at home. The first time I had the luxury of having leftover refried beans and mole amarillo to work with. I highly recommend this approach, as the mole amarillo pairs very nicely with eggs.

First I cooked some Mexican chorizo in a skillet. Once it was done, I drained almost all of the grease and then in the skillet warmed up a flour tortilla until it was lightly toasted. I folded the tortilla in half on a plate, topped it with refried beans and chorizo, fried two eggs over easy and placed them on next, then smothered the whole thing with mole amarillo. I then chopped some fresh onion and tomato and sprinkled that on, along with a light garnish of crema mexicana. It was nothing short of fabulous, and I will never yearn for anyone else's huevos rancheros again. They were so good, I didn't even think about getting a picture until they were half-eaten.

The only problem is that we don't always have mole amarillo sitting around. In fact, we almost never have it around. So alternatives are necessary. Another option is to start with the tortilla and chorizo, as indicated previously, and then instead of refried beans, use some potatoes (baked potato, diced and fried in some of the chorizo grease). This time I topped it with sunny side up eggs, some of my canned homemade salsa, and a bit of crema.

I had this for breakfast yesterday. Given my druthers, I'll take the other version, but it was still very good.

My principal reason yesterday for departing from my normal breakfast routine of oatmeal with blueberries and soy milk is that it's about to become more than just a breakfast routine. You see, my daughter is at that age when pre-teen magazines and associated quizzes are all kinds of fun. Recently while taking one of the quizzes with her friends, the question was raised "if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?"

She told us what she and her friends had answered and posed the question to my wife and me. I smartly responded that I would eat oatmeal with blueberries and soy milk, and that while I may get sick of it, I could probably live indefinitely on such a diet and would likely be pretty healthy, more so than I am presently, if I did. So my wife threw down the gauntlet. Unable to turn down a challenge, I accepted. Beginning with today's evening meal, I will be living on nothing else for the next 72 hours.

Bear in mind that we're talking about old-fashioned rolled oats and not the icky steel cut kind. If it were steel cut we were talking about, I would have given up before I started.

1 comment: