Roasted Chili Breakfast Tacos

When I was a newlywed, my husband and I grew a garden in the backyard of our first house. Cherry tomatoes and anaheim peppers grew better than anything else. One hot, late summer day, we picked some peppers and tomatoes and took them in the house to try to do something with them for lunch. The tomatoes were still warm from the sun but we sliced an onion and our peppers and sauteed them both in a skillet with olive oil. We put the peppers, onions and tomatoes in a tortilla, wrapped them up and gobbled them up! It was so delicious and so easy. Best of all, we were eating food we had picked only 15 minutes before. It made us feel very good about our new gardening skills.

Now many years later, in a new house with no gardening space, it is our annual, late summer ritual to buy bags of roasted chilies from farmstands and farmers markets. Oh, that smell means “autumn” to me! We divvy up the chilies into smaller bags and freeze them so we can have that wonderful harvest flavor throughout the year, like in our Make-Ahead Pork Green Chili Burritos. But we always keep one bag out for breakfast the next day. In a slight variation on that wonderful first-garden-lunch, we often make this delicious breakfast. Just look at this monster taco-for-two we made this past weekend!
Roasted Chilies Breakfast Taco

Roasted Chili Breakfast Tacos
Serves 2

4 roasted chilies with the stem and cap cut off.
3 large eggs
1/2 an onion (white, red, or yellow – your choice)
1 diced tomato or a hand ful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tortillas
salt and pepper to taste

1. Dice or slice the onion.
2. Dice or slice the peppers.
3. Heat some olive oil in a skillet.
4. Saute the onion until it is translucent.
5. Add the chiles to heat them through (they are already cooked).
6. Add the tomatoes to heat them through – you want to retain that freshly-picked texture.
7. Break the eggs into a small bowl or small plastic cup and whisk with a fork until they are well-blended. This will make for fluffier eggs.
8. Scramble the eggs and add salt and pepper to taste.
9. If you want, lay the tortillas over the skillet as the eggs are cooking (one at a time) to soften and warm them. Or heat them briefly in another skillet for a little char.
10. Place the tortillas on a plate and fill with the egg, tomato, onion and chili mixture.
11. Fold over and enjoy!

Or, try this – prompted by some of the ingredients falling out while we ate, we also thought that you could pour the egg OVER the cooked veggies, allowing the eggs to set, almost like a frittata. That way, you’d avoid any veggies falling out. Experiment! See how you like it best.

This is a delicious way to enjoy the bounty of chilies, whether they came from your garden or off the farm.

Plant a garden for dinner By Edan Goode

You’d think it would be easy to get kids involved in gardening. After all, it involves dirt, digging and water – three of the requisites for fun when you’re a kid. Yet gardening takes patience and isn’t immediately gratifying which can be frustrating.

Gardening teaches wonderful things from how plants grow to that all-important skill of learning to be patient. Make the end result more rewarding by having a very specific goal waiting at the end of the growing season: dinner!

It’s one thing to tell a child you’re going to grow healthy veggies. They won’t really care. But if you tell them you are growing pizza or spaghetti sauce, THAT gets their attention.  Here are some ideas for making the gardening experience really come to life for kids:

1.       Plan a space of their own

Section off a small, manageable area of your garden, or even just a collection of large pots you can let your child decorate with paint, that are designated just for them.

2.     Give them the tools of the trade

These days, it’s easy to find child-size gardening gloves and tools.  Give them a tote bag or some other container that will hold their tools and seed packets for easy storage.

3.      Figure out how you can grow the veggie ingredients for one of their favorite meals and then make your gardening plan from there. For example:

Pizza – Plant a tomato plant, basil and garlic which can be placed together in one pot.

Spaghetti sauce – Tomato plant, basil, oregano, garlic and some spinach to add to the sauce.

Salsa for chips and salsa – Tomato, cilantro, peppers and garlic.

Salad (for that rare child who loves their greens) – Various kinds of lettuce, spinach, parsley, tomato, carrots, cucumber and green peppers.

Go for plants and seeds that have a reputation for growing well in Colorado so as not to disappoint your junior gardener. Garden shops can give you recommendations on which ones to choose.

4.    Don’t forget side dishes

You can also grow things that your child can measure themselves by like corn (Who grows faster? You or the corn?) or watermelon (Can you carry that big watermelon all by yourself?)

5.     Make sure they tend their garden

Once the excitement of planning and planting wears off, it can be excruciating waiting for things to start growing.  Make sure your child doesn’t lose interest in caring for their garden. It’s a good lesson to teach that things need nurturing every day. Child-size tools and watering can will help. Once things start to shoot up, it will be easier to hold their interest.

6.    Incorporate the science of it all

Explain what seeds are and why they need dirt, water and sun to grow. Point out that the pretty yellow flowers on their tomato plant are soon going to become tomatoes.  Show how some foods grow down into the ground like carrots while others grow above ground like lettuce. There are many good books and websites out there that explain it all.

7.    Show what you grow

  • Using paper, laminating sheets and popsicle sticks, let your child make signs for their garden to let others (and remind themselves during the growing season) what they are growing, such as “I’m going to be spaghetti sauce”.
  •  Encourage the kids to show visitors the progress of their garden.
  • Take pictures every week and make a scrap book of your child’s garden, whether homemade or with the help of a computer program.      

8.     Reap what ye sow (i.e. Eat it up!)

  • When everything is finally ready to harvest, let your child do the harvesting (with some guidance) and help prepare the meal they have waited so long for. Let them taste a nibble of their harvest raw before it is cooked to taste the difference.

Sit down to a delicious meal and let your child revel in their gardening skills. You can pat yourself on the back, too for providing a wonderful way to learn about nature, science, eating about as locally as humanly possible and eating really, really well!

Bon appetite!