Breakfast Lately

Eggs Diablo

I’ve been rediscovering corn tortillas.  When I was growing up, we never heated or fried them, so I thought of corn tortillas as these horrible crumbly things that tasted like styrofoam.  Last month I made a fun Diana Kennedy recipe (she credits Sra. Josefina Velásquez de León), Indios Vestidos (if that link works, it’s the second search result, pp 93-94), a sort of chile-relleno-without-the-chile, and had leftover tortillas and salsa, which led to the above-pictured breakfast item.
The one time I did enjoy corn tortillas as a kid was when my dad made what my mom called “Eggs Montoya” — essentially eggs scrambled with torn-up tortillas; ideally with some green Hatch chile mixed in (I recently fell back on a Poblano, and it was totally adequate).
The morning after the Indios Vestidos, then, I remembered one of my favorite breakfasts in the world, from a beloved restaurant in Chicago; I re-created it with what I had at hand, and now I’ve been making it more than once a week.
Huevos Diablos/Montoya Juniores, after the Handlebar and my dad.

The Salsa:

In the picture I’m actually using a rouille that I had leftover from something else; it’s a great great substitute.  But the chipotle salsa is perfecter.

• 1/2 or maybe 1 whole white/yellow onion
La Morena Chilpotles (sic)• 2 canned Chipotle peppers in adobo; add a little more adobo sauce from the can.

• 1 1/4 lb roasted tomatoes; either broil them yourself or use e.g. the canned Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes — but don’t use the whole can, or if you do, add another chipotle.
Fry the onions in the oil until they are soft & translucent.

Puree the tomatoes with the chipotles until they are smooth/uniform.

Dump the puree into the pan with the onions; reduce for 5 min or so, and season.  Keep warm while you make the rest:

The Rest

If you’re making a bunch of these, warm the oven so the plated tortillas will stay warm as you cook the eggs.
• Eggs: 1-2 per person (or tofu, see below)
• Corn Tortillas — 3 per egg.

• Melty grating cheese: jack, muenster, havarti; chile pepper adulteration would not be inappropriate here.

• Some oil.

• Cotija cheese for crumbling on top

• 1/2 avocado per person (optional)
Heat less than a teaspoon of oil in a cast-iron pan until it is hot but not smoking.

Drop a tortilla on the pan, and move the tortilla around for five seconds or so, then flip it and fry for five seconds more.  Put it on a plate and grate a skimpy layer of cheese on top.  Repeat this process until you have a stack of three tortillas with cheese between each layer.  You will need to add more oil as the pan dries out. Make as many of these stacks as you want to serve: 1 is enough for me to eat, but S prefers two.

Fry the eggs to your liking; I like the way a runny yolk mixes with the salsa.

Spoon a generous helping (1/2 cup?) of the salsa onto each tortilla pile, then put the egg on top; crumble some cotija cheese onto the whole.  Avocado slices, lightly sprinkled with salt, make a perfect companion.


Notwithstanding my runny-yolk predilection, this is at least as good, if not better, with tofu instead of eggs.  I like large, thin slices — slice off <1/4 inch pieces from the end of the block of tofu as if it were a loaf of bread, and then fry in a couple tablespoons of peanut oil until brown; flip and fry on the other side.

Your Favorite Chicago Sounds

Received on the CHI-CRIT-MASS mailing list, here is a repost with my answers.
Call for submissions: Sound Artist Peter Cusack compiles a soundscape of Chicago in YOUR FAVOURITE CHICAGO SOUNDS

Chicago is world famous for its architecture. But what about its sounds? “Your Favourite Chicago Sounds” aims to discover what Chicagoans think about their city’s soundscape and to reveal the Chicago of the ear. Please let us know your response to the questions below and contribute to a unique audio portrait of the city. The sounds will be recorded and used for a CD “Your Favourite Chicago Sounds.”

The “Favourite Sounds” project originated in London and has been carried out in Beijing and other world cities. The CD “Your Favourite London Sounds” was released in 2001 and a CD for Beijing is planned for this year. The long-term aim is to build up an overall sonic idea of what people find positive about the ever-changing sound of their cities. Many thanks for your help.

What is your favourite Chicago sound? The clang of the bell of the Metra train from two blocks away.
Why? I used to live two blocks from the Metra station at 57th and Stony Island, and the trains’ bells as they entered and left the station were a subliminal part of my soundscape. Then I spent a summer in Rome, and calling home to talk to my girlfriend I heard the chime of the Metra bell and it reminded me so vividly of home. Now we live in Brooklyn and miss Chicago.

What is your favourite sounding place in Chicago? Promontory Point on a windy day: water and wind. A summertime jazz/blues group playing in the parking lot of the strip mall at 53rd and Woodlawn. Yes, unexpected parking-lot music and dancing: also when I rode my bike down past Chatham Park and came across a latin dance exhibition in a grocery store parking lot.
Why? I like the wind and water at the point because Chicago is right on the lake, and its moist breath does so much to the city: the lake effect that makes it cold, the famous wind, but also the feeling of being right on the edge of this apparently endless expanse of water. Before Chicago I lived in Denver, and the mountains to the west were the point by which I oriented (occidented) myself; in Chicago, of course, you orient by the lake. As for the parking-lot music and dancing, it’s the magical spontaneity of stumbling across music in unexpected places, the way community forces itself upon you so pleasantly, and the rich diversity of Chicago’s ethnic endowment.

What is your favourite Chicago sight? (view, building, object, etc.) Coming up the lakefront, a stony LSD overpass around the 40s (47th?) on the south side, and the downtown skyline beyond it. Knowing where I am by the relative positions of Sears Tower, Hancock Building and that curvy triangular building. The blingy gold D.C. French statue of the Republic at Hayes Dr. in Jackson Park. Lush thick green trees on every street.
Why? Nostalgia, familiarity, fetishizing the formerly mundane.
Your Name: Orion Montoya
Area of Chicago where you live: Hyde Park, now Brooklyn, NY.

Please send responses to aseay1 atch artic doth edu. If you’re interested in
participating in the sound recording, please contact Jesse Seay,
aseay1 that artic thod edu.

Peter Cusack is a sound artist/recordist and musician with a special interest in environmental sound and acoustic ecology. Project interests move from community arts to research on how sound contributes to our sense of place to recordings that document areas of special sonic interest, e.g. Lake Baikal, Siberia, Beijing, China. He initiated the ‘Your Favourite London Sound’ project that aims to discover what Londoners find positive in their city’s soundscape, an idea that has been repeated in other world cities including Beijing. He produces ‘Vermilion Sounds’ a monthly environmental sound program on ResonanceFM radio, London, and lectures on ‘Sound Arts & Design’ at the London College of Communication. As a musician he tours regularly at home and abroad. Available recordings include “Where is the Green Parrot?” (ReR PC1 – solo CD, “Your Favourite London Sounds” (Resonance) and “Baikal Ice” (ReR PC2).