Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Alaskans Are Coming!
What's cooking? Texas Breakfast Pizza

There’s something about the pending arrival of houseguests that stimulates in me the strangest behavior. In advance of friends who arrived yesterday, one item on the list – that I made in all seriousness – was “Organize recipes.” Really. I mean, isn’t that what you always notice?

In any case, it turns out I didn’t have time for that particular task because I keep my recipe files in the pantry, where as I glanced around at the shelves, I spotted a jar of Vidalia onion dip with an expiration date from the year after Joe Gutenberg rolled out his first printing press. Before I knew it, some deep-seated need to clean out the shelves had taken over – what my husband refers to as a Random Strike – and I spent the next couple of hours examining every can or jar or box in the place for those items that now threaten the health or safety of anyone I might be feeding. Not that there was much chance of those items making it to my table – if they’ve been part of the larder landscape for that long, I must already have a subconscious block against them.

With the zeal of a religious convert, I tossed a barbecue sauce that expired in 2010, a salad dressing that’s been dead since July of 2009, a garlic and fig spread – I’m such a sucker for garlic and figs, alone or together – with a partial sell-by tag that aroused all my suspicions, and some instant coffee that’s presumably been undrinkable since August 2012. Also, a bacon vinaigrette sauce from 2012 that looked positively nasty as it glugged its way down the sink.

I had a sample box of Chocolate Cheerios, just the thought of which makes me gag. It was to be consumed by July 2010. And a giant bottle of Kirkland barbecue sauce (yes, another barbecue sauce) from Costco that also expired in July 2010. I know I was the purchaser, but what was I thinking? I only ever use my dad’s recipe.

I would say I don’t know who buys this stuff, but that would be a lie, as it pretty much has to be me or my husband. And while these items always sound great on their way into the shopping cart, once they migrate to the shelves, they become part of the still life in my cupboard that I look at but do not see, if you know what I mean. More than a few of them were my husband’s purchases from having stopped at those grocery store demos, and no one knows any more how some dip or sauce was meant to be served.

Next week, I’m going to attack the fridge, getting rid of the little bits of cilantro sauce or arugula pesto or tomato-peach jam that I thought surely I’d use on a snack or lunch but could easily be as toxic as Chocolate Cheerios by now. Then I’ll vow – once again – not to save every little bit of something that once was tasty. And I’ll try to remember – once again – that I don’t use Other People’s Barbecue Sauce.

For now, though, our delightful friends from Anchorage are here, so I can concentrate on making food, not throwing it out. We had a fun breakfast yesterday, of what I’m calling Texas Breakfast Pizza. It was pronounced delicious by my husband and guests alike.

You can make it Sunny Side Up...

Texas Breakfast Pizza

1 recipe guacamole (see below)
2 large Naan bread, halved (or 4 flour tortillas or any other soft flatbread you like)
olive oil (1-2 tablespoons per egg)
eggs (1-2 per person)

Heat the bread. For Naan bread, that would be in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 400º.  While the bread is heating, fry the eggs in the olive oil – over easy or sunny side up, whatever your preference. Heat a nonstick skillet with the oil over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles when you flick a few drops of water into it. Break the eggs into the skillet – you may have to do this in batches or even one at a time, depending on the size of your skillet. Cook the eggs 1½-2 minutes.

Spread the guacamole on the warm bread and place 1-2 eggs on top of each piece. Garnish with salsa.

...or Over Easy -- delicious either way.


2 slightly soft avocados, peeled and seeded
1 10-ounce can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
juice of ½ lemon or 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a fork or pastry cutter, mash the avocados until smooth. Stir in ½ can of the tomatoes. (Save the rest in a well-marked jar – NOT in the can – in your frig, then remember to use them within a week.) Add the lemon or lime juice, stir well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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