Comfort food

The roaring thunder woke me up early this morning, and as I laid in bed listening to the rain crash against my window, I began to remember the many lazy Sunday mornings living with my parents and my brothers back in El Paso, Texas. Having the weekends off is a rarity when you work in the food industry, so I just enjoy this schedule while I have it. This is why Sunday morning is the time to relax, have a huge breakfast and just sit around the house with a cup of coffee all day long!

Back in El Paso, Sunday breakfast was a collaborative effort. My dad brewed the coffee, my brother drove to the bakery for the traditional Mexican sweet bread, and my mother, younger brother and myself stayed behind in the kitchen preparing a Mexican feast. Chilaquiles was always on the menu. This dish is as hearty as it gets when it comes to spicy Mexican food. It consists of tortillas that have been torn into 1 inch pieces then toasted and sauteed with onion. Just as the onion begins to get translucent, they are drowned in a rich and spicy red sauce. They are served immmediately to avoid soggy tortillas and with a fried egg on top and some grated queso blanco.

The secret to the best chilaquiles is to make them as spicy as possible. The hotter the better. I remember my mom always telling me that it was my duty as a Mexican to eat lots of chile and the hotter it was the stronger I became. And so by the time a Mexican child turns 5, they are already eating jalapenos and salsas. A Mexican mother will not ask you if you care for salsa or not, she will plop it down on your tacos, hamburger, rice, beans, eggs, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, then she will not let you leave the table until you eat everything on your plate, it is very funny in retrospect.

So nowadays, as I learn to cook rustic Italian food at work, from squid ink pastas to goat cheese gnocchi, there are times when I just want to taste the flavors of my childhood and remember the comfort and security that the sizzling of the onion in the pan evoked, the aromas of the freshly brewed coffee and the soft texture of the sweet bread.

Sure enough the hubby and I decided to make chilaquiles for breakfast. It was a collaborative effort, just the way it has always been for me, and it was very comforting. I do not know how happy my stomach was about the whole spicy heat thing however, hmm I suppose I will find out in the next 12 hrs………..


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