Okay, I know breakfast burritos aren’t gourmet food by any standards, but I never claimed to be a gourmet cook, so I’m okay with that.  While I’m at it, I’ll also add that most of the food I will write about over the next couple of months will be meals-for-one, since I’m now living at a research station near Mammoth Lakes, CA, where I do my summer field work.  Here’s a picture of the mountains (the Eastern Sierra) I get to look at every day while I’m here.  Pretty nice, huh?

Oh right.  Back to cooking…  The kitchen setup where I am now is actually pretty decent.  There’s a gas stove and a good assortment of pots, pans, utensils, etc.  However, there’s no blender, or food processor, or stand mixer, or…(you get the picture, right?), so I will be sticking to the basics this summer.  But basic can still be really tasty, and I plan on proving that!

To start things off, I’m going to tell you about my favorite field food of all time...the veggie breakfast burrito!  Okay, okay, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I make this at home a lot too.  This is the fourth summer I have spent cooking for myself at field stations, so I’ve had many, many chances to practice and perfect the execution of this burrito.  There are obviously many variations that you can make, but I’ll just tell you about the combination of ingredients that I’ve found to work really well.

First of all, this burrito is essentially a scramble wrapped up in a tortilla, so if you’re on some kind of low carb kick or something, you can nix the tortilla altogether.  I happen to love tortillas though, and this only reminds me of how much I miss Micaela’s whole wheat tortillas while I’m in the field. If you’ve never had them, these tortillas are to DIE for.  They come in white and whole wheat flour and  are thick and a little doughy, so when you cook them they don’t totally dry out.  Best of all, they are made in Woodland (near Sacramento) and delivered fresh to Davis grocery stores like the Nugget and the Co-op.  SO…if you live in the Davis area and have not tried these tortillas, go out NOW and get them.  They are the Best. Ever. (especially the whole wheat).

Okay, now for the tortilla fillers/scramble components. I’m not a vegetarian, but somewhere along the way I tried Lightlife’s vegetarian sausage and was totally impressed with the flavor.  If you HAVE to have meat, you can also use bacon or real sausage, but the veggie stuff really does deliver on taste and is a little kinder to your arteries.  Other ingredients I have included along the way (depending on what vegetables I had on hand) are: broccoli, peppers, carrots, potatoes, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, blackbeans, and avocados.  I’ve also played around with types of salsas and have found that Trader Joe’s tomato-less corn salsa is a terrific match with the vegetarian sausage.  I imagine any other sweet salsa or a tomatillo salsa would also work really well.  Oh!  And you can’t forget CHEESE!  I use the sharpest cheddar I can find, but you should use whatever you enjoy.

Finally, before I present my “recipe,” a little disclaimer.  I mention in the tag line of this blog that I’m a perfectionist, and in the preparation of meals like this it tends to show.  How much time could a breakfast burrito take, after all?  Well…if you want to end up with each vegetable cooked just right and have the texture of the eggs turn out perfectly, I admit it takes more than just a few minutes.  But no more than 30.  I promise.

*I didn’t include a picture of the burrito here because burritos just aren’t pretty.  It pretty much looks like a rolled up tortilla with this stuff in it.

Veggie Breakfast Burrito

Makes one burrito (but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)

olive oil
2 veggie sausage patties (Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage is great!)
1 cup broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers (e.g. bell peppers) the more colorful the better!
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, whisked in small bowl
1 tortilla
cheese (as much as you like)
salsa (I like Trader Joe’s corn salsa)
cilantro, small handful, coarsely chopped (optional)

1. Steam or blanch broccoli for a minute or two until bright green and slightly tender. Remove from water and/or steam basket, place in a bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil (2 tsp or so) over medium heat in a pan. Fry sausage patties until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and soak on paper towels to remove excess oil.  Then chop into bite sized pieces.

3. Add more oil to the pan if it is too dry, then add chopped peppers and saute for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Remove the peppers and garlic from the pan once the garlic becomes aromatic and before it browns (after 30-60 seconds). Add to the same bowl as the broccoli.

4. Reduce the heat under the same pan to low. Add the eggs and do not stir until the they begin to set on the bottom. Once this happens I like to gently and occasionally push the eggs around with a spatula to let the runny parts on top spill over underneath. I try to stir as little as possible so that large chunks of egg remain in tact.

5. Somewhere around this point, you can start heating your tortilla. If you like your tortilla crispy, you can toast it on both sides in a large pan in a little oil. If you prefer a pliable tortilla, you can nuke it in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds with a damp paper towel over it to steam it.

5. Once eggs are close to done, add the reserved sausage, broccoli, peppers and garlic and stir into the eggs. Continue cooking for one minute or so to allow the eggs to finish cooking and everything else to heat through.

6. Immediately transfer this scramble to your tortilla, and add cheese, salsa, and cilantro. Wrap that puppy up and enjoy!