Garden 2001, oil on canvas, 54 x 46 inches
After returning from our Mexico adventure, we slipped back into our working routine. Artist Ana Maria Hernando was due for a ten day stay to make new prints. After several days of work in the studio, the dreaded winter sickness felled both Ana and me. She returned to complete her prints after a week of recovery. My energy is slowly returning.
After a week of bed rest, I was hungry for chilés and tortillas. I had read an enticing recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes and had made them for Ana and Kenneth before we got sick. And I’ve made them several times since. Very seductive with the velvety caramelized potato, soft and sweet, topped with beans, cheese, and spicy pico de gallo.
First, halve the potatoes lengthwise and place cut side down in a baking dish. Half a potato makes an ample serving for one. Drizzle with olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper. Bake at 400° until soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Squeeze and mash the potato in its skin a bit then top with a generous tablespoon of shredded Oaxaca quesadilla or cheddar cheese. Add several tablespoons of warm beans ─ I had cooked Rancho Gordo Rio Zapes on hand. Add another generous tablespoon of cheese and pop back into the oven to get hot and bubbly.
Have a bowl of pico de gallo ready to garnish the potatoes. (Chop twenty cherry tomatoes into small bits, add a slice of onion, diced, a pickled jalapeño, chopped and a handful of chopped cilantro.)
Another dish I make when craving chilés and tortillas is scrambled egg tacos. These are perfect when we are tired and the fridge is rather bare. I usually have tortillas on hand and have found the organic Mi Rancho brand to be excellent.
This is a fast and furious meal to prepare. Have a pico de gallo salsa ready, beaten eggs in a bowl, (two per serving), cheese grated, salad prepared and dressed, plates warmed, beer poured.
On a comal or iron skillet heat the tortillas in a tiny bit of oil until softened. Lower heat to keep them warm and spread with some ancho or chipotle puree. These are the slider sized tortillas.
Meanwhile heat the skillet for the eggs and add a couple tablespoons of butter. When sizzling, add eggs and scramble to your likeness. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the eggs among the tortillas, top with cheese and garnish with the pico. I put the remaining salsa on the table to add as desired. I serve a simple salad of greens and sliced radishes, dressed with olive oil and lime, and sprinkled with toasted pepitas, alongside the tacos. Garnish with sliced avocado.