Huevos Rancheros

We all have our quirks. And let’s face it: the quirky little things about us are what keeps us interesting. Gives our friends stories to tell about us. Reminds us that none of us are, in fact, normal. Everyone has their “crazy,” and one of the most beautiful things in this life is when you find those special people who not only continue to spend time with you despite those crazy tendencies but also love you in spite of, and sometimes for, them. My “crazies” are so varied and of such eccentricity that my friends & family are basically saints for sticking around so long.

The quirk I want to focus on today is perhaps the one that comes up most often in discussion of food-related things, which means it comes up all the time because I’m that person that talks about the next meal before finishing the one I’m enjoying (yet another quirk of mine – I’m sure it’s annoying to those who frequently dine with me). It’s also the one that people tend to think is really, super weird. There’s no easy way to put this other than to just come out and say it: I only like flat eggs. 

Let me explain.

I only enjoy eggs that are of homogenous consistency and prepared in such a way as to make them lay perfectly flat on a plate, without toppling over (i.e. hard-boiled or deviled eggs) or running all over the plate (i.e. fried eggs, eggs over easy, sunny side up eggs, not quite cooked eggs, etc.).

I didn’t even like eggs, at all, until about 2 years ago. I came home from a  long swim and decided I wanted an omelette. I’d never made or eaten an omelette before. But I just HAD to have one RIGHT THEN. 2 eggs, a tablespoon of butter, and some cheese & salsa later: I had a delicious, flat, cheesy, eggy plate of goodness. My extremely sudden craving of an omelette having never made or eaten one is just one of my life’s little mysteries that will probably never be solved.

Before the first omelette incident, the last time I’d handled eggs in any form other than cracking them open & throwing them in a baked good was Thanksgiving dinner preparation day at my grandmother’s house, probably sometime around 2003. Cousin Megan and I were in charge of making all the side dishes, which included Shirl’s special turkey dressing. The recipe called for a dozen hard boiled eggs, diced. We took our eggs out of the boiling water, and began to peel them. A nauseating feeling swept over me, and I complained the entire time. My stomach churned thinking about what I was doing. After peeling about 2 of them, I had to stop and leave poor Megan to do the rest of the peeling all by herself. I just couldn’t take it anymore. And at Thanksgiving dinner, I picked the hard boiled egg pieces completely out of my grandmother’s dressing. Sorry, Grandmother. I love you, but I hate hard boiled eggs.

To this day, I can’t handle – literally or figuratively – hard boiled eggs. The thought of them grosses me out. Touching them requires some deep breathing, zoning out, and lots of hand washing afterwards. They are slimy. And not flat. I snarl at plates of deviled eggs. Avert my eyes when I see someone cut into a fried egg where the yolk runs all over the plate, thus ruining whatever food the yellow grossness covers.

I’m gagging a little writing this, actually.

However. I will tear into some flat eggs. Omelettes are cool. As are quiches. They might be fluffy, but they stand up on their own just fine and they’re cooked all the way through. And, they’re still technically flat. I make omelettes & quiches ALL THE TIME. Once a week, usually. In fact, I’m sort of obsessed with them.

I’m proud to say that there’s now an exception to the flat egg rule, and that is: I will now, on occasion, eat – and enjoy – scrambled eggs. Don’t ask me why, all of a sudden, scrambled eggs are okay. I likely scrambled an egg by mistake when a flipped omelette went awry in the pan, and found that, upon forcing myself to eat the eggs anyway, they weren’t that terrible.

In fact, scrambled eggs can be simply delicious if they’re tossed with the appropriate ingredients, like if you make my huevos rancheros – my new favorite lunch treat.

Huevos Rancheros

about 1/4 cup diced red onion

butter

salt & pepper

2 eggs

2 tablespoons black beans (canned, drained & rinsed)

1/2 tomato, diced

cilantro & scallions

cheddar cheese

corn tortilla

avocado slices (optional)

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat with about 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil. Sautee the onion over medium high heat with some salt & pepper. Remove from pan, and add about 1/2 tablespoon additional butter to the pan. Crack open the 2 eggs into a small dish, liberally salt & pepper them, and break them up with a fork until they’re homogenous. Turn the heat to medium low and start to scramble the eggs. Toss in the cheese, cooked onion, black beans, and tomato. Cook until the eggs are of a consistency and scrambled-ness that you approve. Transfer to a plate, and top with the cilantro, scallions and avocado slices. Serve with a blackened corn tortilla.

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