With the season of gathering upon us, we always feel the tug of our Jersey Shore roots. Beyond the quiet beaches and winter surf, it’s also all about the familiar comforts of our mom, Ninie’s buttery mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake, and rowdy diner breakfasts of eggs and pork roll. As a family-run business, we’re so lucky to have expanded our community with authentic connections year after year and we love getting curious about our friends’ family traditions and heritage.
Recently, Alex met up with our friend, Montana-based chef Eduardo Garcia, founder of Montana Mex and the host of a new cooking show, Zest for Life with Eduardo Garcia on Magnolia Network. After we all hit it off at the Telluride Film Festival a couple of years ago, Eduardo joined us as a Sun Sessions Ambassador and has been featured in two of our brand books. We’ve shared meals together before but this is the first time he and Alex cooked together. On the menu: Huevos Rancheros with homemade tortillas. “Cooking with friends and getting messy is 100% my joy factor,” he assured Alex. Amongst other endearing qualities, Eduardo is a very patient teacher.
For Eduardo, the secret to Huevos Rancheros is making tortillas from scratch. It’s also a way to express his Mexican heritage and the inextricable bond he feels with his late father. “The second the water hits the corn flour and the corn flour goes from asleep to awake, it brings me back to the marketplace in Mexico and getting tortillas in the morning,” Eduardo said. He keeps a picture of his dad in a small wooden frame in the kitchen as inspiration – not only for the way he influenced his flavors and techniques, but for his dad’s respect for and appreciation of a shared meal. “Dad wanted to cook for all my friends and for anyone who was hungry. It was his calling.”
While waiting for the tortillas to puff up (just a little), the frijoles were stirred once more to ensure peak creaminess. “How many solid mornings started like this throughout civilization? You screw up a dozen tortillas and nail a couple. It’s a celebration,” Eduardo said.
Check out Eduardo’s full Huevos Rancheros recipe below.
Courtesy of Eduardo Garcia
For the beans:
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup dried black beans, picked through for stones
1/4 onion, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the squash blossoms:
4 squash blossoms, stamen removed
1/4 cup goat cheese, chilled
3 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado oil, divided
2 bunches (about 4 cups) mixed greens, such as spinach, magenta lambs quarters and baby kale
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 large eggs
1/2 cup prepared salsa roja or verde, such as Montana Mex Sweet and Spicy Habanero sauce
4 corn tortillas, warmed
2 teaspoons thyme blossoms and leaves
To make the beans, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, cumin seed and garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the beans and onion to the pan and stir to coat the beans in the flavorful oil. Cover with 7 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer. Using a ladle, skim the surface of the liquid to remove any impurities. Stir in the chipotle powder, oregano, peppercorns, bay leaves and ground cumin. Cook the beans, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add more water if needed along the way. Stir in the salt and cool slightly. Store the beans in their liquid. This can be done ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator and heated gently for serving.
Divide the goat cheese into four pieces and form each piece into an oval. Gently open the squash blossoms and place each oval of cheese into each flower. Close the flower around the cheese.
Heat a griddle over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil and heat another 30 seconds. Add the greens to the hot pan and cook, tossing the greens occasionally until just wilted, about 1 minute. Make a small space in the greens and add 1 teaspoon more oil. Add the garlic to the space and season the greens and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss again to mix the greens with the garlic and cook until aromatic and the garlic is just beginning to brown, about another minute. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil around the greens and crack the 4 eggs around the greens in the center. Place the stuffed blossoms randomly in between the eggs. Season the eggs and blossoms with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. Drizzle with the salsa roja and heat the salsa through for 30 seconds. Garnish eggs with fresh thyme blossoms and leaves. Serve the dish on the griddle with warmed corn tortillas and black beans on the side.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes, plus 3 hours for the beans
Yield: serves 2 to 4