Guest Blog Post from - Michelle Stern from What’s Cooking

I have a confession to make.

I have wanted backyard chickens for quite some time. The appeal of rich and flavorful eggs with bright orange yolks was too much to resist. And when my 8 year old daughter joined our local 4-H club, my heart leapt when she told me that she was interested in joining the poultry project. My husband wasn’t likely to cave to my chicken cravings. But how could he resist the doe-eyes of our daughter, who was actually learning about chickens?

It has been a win-win. Our whole family has enjoyed the chickens. Amelia and I love watching their silly antics and how they recycle our food scraps into breakfast. Our husband adores watching Amelia learn and puts up with our giggles as we share funny chicken stories. And our son tries to like them. But at the very least, he is proud when his friends come over and he can show them off.

Needless to say, we have been eating a lot of eggs. Egg production has slowed down recently, since our girls are molting and the daylight hours are shorter. (The coop looks a little bit like a feather pillow has exploded…) This recipe is one of my favorites, and will appear in the pages of my new cookbook, due out in April, 2011. The Whole Family Cookbook encourages families to cook together, but also has a big green focus. I can’t seem to quiet my inner environmental science teacher, so the pages contain lots of eco-tips, along with banter about the benefits of eating happy, pastured animals rather than their institutionalized cousins.

Breakfast Burrito
By Michelle Stern, Author of The Whole Family Cookbook (April, 2011) and Owner of What’s Cooking, a certified green cooking school for kids (www.whatscookingwithkids.com)

1 russet potato
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 chicken apple sausages, (You can also use spicy sausage or chorizo)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 cup black beans
1/3 cup cheddar, feta or queso fresco cheese
4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup sour cream, optional
1/4 cup salsa, optional
1 handful cilantro or parsley leaves, optional
1 small avocado, optional
2 slices bacon or turkey bacon, crumbled, optional

1. Scrub the potato under running water.
2. Prick it all over with a fork and cook it in the microwave for 5-6 minutes, or until tender.
3. Allow it to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
4. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat.
5. Meanwhile, slice the sausages into 1/4 inch thick rounds. If you are using uncooked sausages, you will need to squeeze it from its casing.
6. Cook the sausage until it is browned.
7. Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Beat with a fork or whisk.
8. Measure the cumin and add it to the eggs.
9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the eggs. Stir them occasionally and break up any large clumps.
10. Cut the potato into 1 inch cubes and add it to the skillet.
11. Drain and rinse the black beans.
12. Measure them and and add them to the skillet so that they can warm through.
13. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper, to taste and remove the skillet from the heat.
14. Grate or crumble the cheese into a small dish.
15. Spread each tortilla with sour cream and salsa, if desired.
16. Put 1/4 of the potato cubes onto center of the tortilla.
17. Top the potato with 1/4 of the egg, sausage and bean mixture.
18. Sprinkle with cheese.
19. Top with any additional toppings, such as cilantro, diced avocado, crumbled bacon or hot sauce.
20. Fold one side towards the middle. Then fold up the bottom, then the other side, followed by the top.
21. Eat whole or cut the burrito in half, for little hands.

Our broody bantam cochin hatched some orpington chicks – all of which turned out to be roosters. We were very sad…but they all got a great new home and didn’t end up in a soup pot.

One of the babies…

Michelle Stern is the owner of What’s Cooking, a certified green cooking school for kids in the San Francisco. Her new book, The Whole Family Cookbook, is coming out in April, 2011. For family friendly recipes, tips on cooking with kids, and environmentally friendly suggestions for eating well, go to:

@whatscooking and on Facebook


Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies said...

Michelle, I have major chicken envy! I want chickens bad, but we live right in the forest with raccoons and foxes who would do their best to make regular meals of any chickens we might have.

Your breakfast burrito is spot on. And major kudos for using the correct verbiage! So many people refer to a breakfast taco as a breakfast burrito. I know it's something silly to get annoyed with, but there really is a difference. Your proper use of the folding technique impressed me!

Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) said...

Hi Amber - phew - glad I didn't mess up the burrito :-) It was tricky figuring out how to write that down, step-by-step.

We love our chickens - and while we lost one to a raccoon, it is possible to house them safely. I hate the term "chicken wire" because that's what people use for their chicken coops. The problem is that the holes are too large, and critters can reach through and pull the chickens out through the wire in pieces (gross!). So we use hardware cloth, which is much tougher and has tiny square holes that animals can't reach through. I can walk you through some other safety tips too. And I am sure Orren has lots more advice than little old me :-) He's the pro!

Amanda said...

What a wonderful guest post... I love all natural and organic eggs and love that you have taught this to your kids and its not only fun for them, but so educational!

Robyn said...

So glad I found this blog through Michelle. Our family also has chickens that began as a class project when my son was in kindergarten. They are great for our family!

bridget {bake at 350} said...

I LOVE those chickens! I've wanted some ever since seeing Martha and her chicken coop! Actually, my aunt & uncle used to have chickens and I remember going out and gathering eggs. So fun!

Tickled Red said...

I have been trying to convince my surfer to let me have a chicken coop for over a year now. One of these days the man will cave :) I love the breakfast burrito recipe!