The Month of Cooking Dangerously continues. Progress on the kitchen marches forward and life on the porch has been pleasant enough. As with anything, actually living in a situation tends to bend any of your preconceived notions to a new, less glamorous reality.

On one hand it’s been pretty outstanding. Austin is enjoying an unusually un-humid spring and evenings on the porch are fantastic. Texas in the spring can be beautiful. The hipsters have ended their annual migration southward for SXSW, taking the silent sneer crowd with them and leaving the city pretty much as it was. The grackles seem to be celebrating by trying to screw every park bench, fire hydrant and public doorknob available, something that always makes me smile. In the yard, the doves in my live oaks are getting frisky. The cardinal family in my bamboo has been active, which is always an odd exhilaration. “Look! That bird is red and therefore superior to the others that live in the yard.” But it’s an exhilaration none the less. There has been grilling. Beer consumption has seen a moderate uptick, which I can’t complain about (I’m convinced there’s something Pavlovian afoot with the rocking chair.) Again, all good things.

And the best part is that the porch has enough of a small wall around it to obscure my view of the yard and garden I’ve been neglecting since breaking my leg. With the added charm of kitchen junk and appliances waiting to be carted off, it’s definitely getting to hillbilly weed and junkpile territory… I’m sure my neighbors love me.

On the other hand, life has a way of slowing our own momentum. At the outset of the remodel, I had pictured some kind of feral caveman utopia, a grand nightly grilling and sautéing escapade that would keep me full of tasty charred meats and any other items I might find in the yard and decide to burn over oak coals. What I hadn’t pictured is a reality of washing dishes in a bathroom sink, a toddler who doesn’t eat as much as a 300lb man and a pregnant wife with acid reflux. In other words, dinners have been casually picked at on good nights and consisting of potato chips and lunchmeat on bad ones.

And then there are the leftovers. Once the fridge began to brim with a gallon of sausage and peppers, a full stuffed pork loin, a gallon of chili verde, an entire pizza and a good deal of pasta, my wife began enforcing a cooking moratorium. No more cooking until we finish what’s there. Which, as a compulsive non-waster, I’m fine with. But with The Wolf really mailing in her end of the bargain by eating normal, healthy toddler-size portions and a wife who seems to be the only pregnant lady I’ve ever heard of who isn’t hungry, it falls to me to eat a gallon of sausage and peppers, a full stuffed pork loin, a gallon of chili verde, an entire pizza and a good deal of pasta.

Enter my old friend the breakfast taco. I love breakfast tacos not just because they’re delicious, but because they’re a great catch-all. If you have some kind of leftover protein it can be diced, mixed with an egg and cheese, hit with a little salsa and you’ve got a damn fine meal. Admittedly, some work better than others, the rigatoni taco was an experiment I’d just as soon not talk about. But the chili verde with an over easy egg breakfast taco? An instant classic. An amazing feat of spice, acid, pig and egg mixology. A true elevation of the leftover and something I would make chili verde just to eat. Really, this thing is fan-fuckin-tastic.

Opting for an over easy rather than the typical scrambled gives this taco two things: one, it lets the fried white stand up texturally to the stewy shreddy pork, and two, it lets the yolk actually become part of that stewy shreddy pork… I’ve always been grossed out by those KY ads, but I imagine yolk and chili pork stew are the delicious food equivalent of bringing those two disgusting lubes together… OK, maybe that’s not the best way of bringing this thing to life but it’s damn good. Especially late at night, with a dinner that finished long ago, a good night breeze on the porch and the clock pointing at a time when I probably shouldn’t be eating anyway. But a man has his responsibilities, what do you want me to do, waste it?

Chili Verde Breakfast Tacos   

Chili Verde (Recipe here)
2 good quality, fresh tortillas
2 farm eggs
Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Heat up your pan with a good bit of oil over medium heat. Crack your eggs into the pan if it’s big enough to hold both. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until the white is nearly completely opaque, with just a bit of translucency next to the yolk. Flip the eggs and remove the pan from the heat. In another pan heat your tortillas until they balloon, flip them and repeat. Slide your eggs onto the tortillas, spoon over some hot chili verde, add cheese. A few good hits of hot sauce never hurt anybody either.


  1. Pamela Clements says:

    Hi Jake, Tim and I have been in the same position. We remodeled our kitchen 20 years ago with 3 preteens 2 dogs and a puppy! We started in june and were finished Christmas eve. Tim made the statement about 2 years after I got my commercial stye kitchen with 60 inch garland and commercial sink that he thought I was more creative in the small apartment style kitchen I had before, Ha, Ha!! I’m sure you and the family will truly enjoy the new kitchen even though the remodeling process is always a major pain. I love the fact I don’t have to wash all my large pots and pans in the bathroom and the whole family can sit down to breakfast at the same time( 60 inch garland with flat top). Good luck and always remember these challenging cooking days!! Congrats on your growing family!

    • Jake says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Pam. It’ll be good. And I’m actually enjoying the process of seeing it come together. We’re putting in a 36″ NXR range and a big ol’ farmhouse sink– so it should be an improvement.