A tradition that has become a recent obsession of mine is Sunday brunch – I am a fairly routine person in most cases, but sleeping in and indulging in a hearty “late breakfast” is about the best thing you can ask for at the end of a long week. Going out for brunch is a great, but cooking your own is even better. There is no need to wait for seating or to flag down the waiter every time you want coffee (which is every 8-10 minutes with me), and you can take as much time as your little heart desires. Tom took the reigns with a recent brunch, and made these heavenly Huevos Rancheros.
This dish started out as basic late-morning fare for farmhands and staff (hence “rancheros”) – because it’s seriously delicious, the dish grew in popularity and quickly became a national (and eventually international) favorite. Eggs (“huevos”) play a central role to the dish. Tom and I are pretty picky when it comes to buying eggs, and always opt for the “free-range” or “organic” varieties. Regardless of your preference, I’d recommend getting high-quality eggs for this. The other key elements are the toppings: you’ve got salsa, tomatoes, beans, jalapenos – tasty goodness that results in every mouthful bursting with flavor. Tom loves that it’s high on protein, and I love pretty much anything smothered in salsa and avocado (except for cookies…that might be strange).
The process for making huevos rancheros is quite simple. You basically pan fry a variety of ingredients and make a quick avocado salsa…and voila! Breakfast crack – you can top it with cheese, cilantro, hot sauce, or even more cheese. Paired with a large mug of stovetop espresso and an episode Breaking Bad, this dish is the making of a beautiful brunch. If you’re a fan of Mexican food and not typically a morning person, consider this your new alarm clock: it is absolutely a reason to get out of bed, even on the coldest of days. Click HERE to see the recipe!
Brunch is intended to be a deliberate indulgence (or marginally tipsy one if you go for the Bloody Mary/Mimosas). It’s the most casual meal you can have, and is often shared with someone you truly appreciate. Weekdays are made for being productive, active, and engaged – your weekend serves as a temporal “end” to the week’s craziness (unless you have to work on weekends…which is actually more common than you’d think in the non-profit realm). Regardless, brunch is your time to relax. When I was a little kid, my dad would always be playing recordings of classical or Spanish guitarists – music that’s often both beautiful and relaxing. Though this dish hails from Mexico, I was drawn to Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo for this post’s musical pairing. Perhaps his most famous work is Concierto de Aranjuez for classical guitar and orchestra.
Written in three movements, the music takes inspiration from the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez. Rodrigo himself said that every movement captures “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains” of Aranjuez. The orchestra assumes a more temperate strength and gentle air in appreciating the guitar’s elegant voice. The second movement is perhaps the most well-known of the three, and speaks to the works more subtle beauty – jazz legend Miles Davis said about the Adagio: “That melody is so strong that the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets.” Other famous admirers of the piece include Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, clarinetist Jean-Christian Michel, jazz pianist Chick Corea, American figure skater Michelle Kwan, jazz bassist Buster Williams (to name a few). The below recording features guitarist John Williams (NOT the film guy, but I’m sure he gets that a lot) at the BBC Proms – enjoy!
“Huevos Rancheros,” Wikipedia.com
“Concierto de Aranjuez”, Wikipedia.com