Monday, December 28, 2009

breakfast tata

I've got to be honest with you- things are crazy here this week. I haven't given you the details of of the house adventure, and I will, trust me, I will, but I will tell you that right now, we are moving. Yes, for all of you who have been asking us for years when we are moving next door, the answer is now. You didn't believe it, but it's really happening. We're only moving about 30 feet, but the state of my books are pretty indicative of the state of my soul right now.

Decisions are flying around- all of the sudden we have a blue floor, and we spontaneously cut a door in a wall today. There is no telling what will happen tomorrow.

It's chaos, but it's fun chaos. Chaos, however, is not my chosen mode of operation. I cling to the routine and the plan with all my might as the world swirls around me. So for my own sanity, I need to tell you about a recipe that brings security, a safe, lovely, and reliably delicious way to start the day. This is not the moment for me to try something new to tell you about- I just might lose it completely. And although that might be entertaining for you, I'd rather not go there right now.

I'd say fifty percent of all breakfasts in this house are breakfast tata, and if you come to stay, Joey will make it for you before you even wake up, and he'll wait impatiently in the kitchen for you to stumble out, so that he can present your tata to you.

If you feel too silly saying "breakfast tata," you are welcome to say "breakfast quesadilla," but I don't think that it will taste as good.
Why tata? Well, this tasty little dish is deeply embedded in our family mythology. Joey has been filling tortillas with eggs and cheese and chile since Sadie was tiny. She created the word "tata" for pizza, and she made the decision that quesadillas are the twin sisters to pizzas- so when served a quesadilla for breakfast, she proclaimed it breakfast tata.

For years we ordered this green chile by the case. It sustained us, kept us happy and hopeful, and prevented us from absolutely needing to move back to Santa Fe.
But out of nowhere, the company increased their shipping prices to such a point that we had to pare down. It was a hard decision, but when faced with green chile or the electric bill, the girls' sweet faces made us feel too guilty to choose green chile, even though we were tempted.

Now, it's Chi Chi's.

But I'm not complaining, I've got a blue floor, a door in the wall, and a husband who makes me breakfast tata whenever I want.

Breakfast Tata
serves 4

4 8-inch flour tortillas
6 eggs
1/2 cup grated jack or cheddar
1-2 small cans green chile, or about 1/2 cup
optional: cooked bacon, two slices per person

Note: It is really, really late right now. I am trying to explain Joey's method of tata creation here, but it's seeming a bit more complicated than it is as I explain it, so refer to pictures above, and I apologize if I'm making less than perfect sense.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Heat a small nonstick pan, add a touch of butter, and pour the eggs into the pan. Let them cook on medium high heat without agitation until they solidify, then scramble them in large pieces. Put on a plate and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt enough butter on low to medium heat to cover the surface of the pan. You are going to be cooking two tatas at a time- put one tortilla in the pan and shuffle it around so that it is covered with butter. Spread a layer of the scrambled eggs on one half of the tortilla, then fold the other half over. Put the second tortilla in the pan, shuffle, filling it with eggs and folding it over. One at a time, lift up the lop layer, spread grated cheese over the egg, spoon green chile, add bacon if using, and put the top layer down again. After two minutes or so, flip both tatas. Let cook for a few minutes more, then move to a plate. Cut in half and serve hot.


  1. We've been relying on Trader Joe's little canned green chiles. They're quite good, I think, and a very good price. Courage!

  2. Would you like to have some of the fresh roasted ones frozen and shipped out to you this August? I bought a 20# box the summer I moved here for med school, and they are still thawing nicely for me, more than 2 years later...


  3. I do so love your blue floor, and the rest of your amazing house. Thanks for a wonderful New Year's Eve, Alana (and Joey)! xoxo


  4. I like bread with egg and your recipe is good.

    your food pictures is very good.

  5. I'm sorry about the egg allergy, that just breaks my heart. I am following you from Denver, and found you through Nancy (Luke's mom). We have chickens, so that would be a real bummer of an allergy to discover over here!
    I look forward to your posts so much, and appreciate the time you take to share foodlove.

  6. Oh yeah, my comment about green chiles. They are so satisfying to tackle. I don't know if they roast them around you at the farmers market during the summer, but here's the trick i learned too late to use this year. After you peel them, fold them up like a little package, and lay them in lines on a baking sheet. Throw them in the freezer for an hour or so, and then toss them into a bag. voila! you have as many as you'd like, instead of two bushels' worth bricks of green chili!! I am so ready for cabbage week. Got two staring me down every day here. More coming in the next winter share bag Wed.....!

  7. So nice to meet you Sarah! I've never heard the freezing trick but when I finally break down this summer and get a whole box of them shipped to me (you'd think seven years since I left Santa Fe, I'd break down sooner!), I will definitely try it out. And happy cabbage week- it starts now! I've got a good one for you tonight.