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fuel for the day

Recipe: breakfast torta

Sometimes things come to a head that you have no control over and suddenly you find yourself treading water. I try to avoid situations like these. I try to avoid unnecessary stress, but every now and again there are external factors that are out of my hands. It’s been like this for the past week or so – a rollercoaster of sorts, but everything is fine here at Butter Headquarters. We can always count on Kaweah to bring us back to what is normal.

she recently got a bath and smells like lavender

When there are deadlines or when my brain won’t shut off at night, I tend to neglect things like getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. Sometimes I forget to eat and then I stuff myself with junk food late in the day. They are all bad habits and thankfully, I only revert to that mode when it’s crunch time. Despite my ambivalence toward breakfast, I do try to eat something in the morning to avoid the late afternoon gorging when you realize you haven’t eaten anything yet all day. It’s easier to do when you have breakfasts to look forward to. Last fall when I was at the Sacramento airport at puke-thirty in the morning for my flight home, I zombied through the concourse in search of something to quell the urge to hurl. Standing in front of the Dos Coyotes menu board, I ordered a breakfast torta. Never had one before, but you know what? It was really good.

you’ll need: tortas, refritos, bacon, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, eggs, mayonnaise, garlic, lime, avocado, and cheese

That torta was so satisfying that it lingered in my mind for several weeks. Then I forgot about it. But passing through the same airport just this past weekend, it jogged my memory. I needed to make a breakfast torta of my own. I’m a fan of condiments and figured I could make some chipotle mayonnaise for that creamy, spicy component. It adds a nice zing to the sandwich and can be as strong or as mild as you want it. It was simple enough: mash up garlic into a paste, purée the chipotle peppers (with a little adobo sauce), squeeze some lime juice, stir it all into the mayonnaise and add salt to taste.

mashing minced garlic into a paste

chipotle pepper purée

add desired quantities to the mayonnaise

squeeze lime juice into the mix

What you end up with is a pale orange-pink spread for your sandwich. If you decide to put it in a squeeze bottle, make sure the bottle tip is large enough to let chunks of pepper and garlic through. I buy my tortas from Costco because I bought them by accident one day and happened to love the texture. They freeze well and are great for toast or sandwiches. I have no idea how these compare to authentic tortas, but I’m sure someone out there has an opinion to share. Toast or don’t toast, that is completely up to you.

chipotle mayonnaise

slice the torta

Spread some refritos (refried beans) on half of the bread. If you don’t make your own refried beans, there are several varieties to choose from in stores. I personally like Amy’s organic refried black beans, so that’s what I used. The torta I had at the airport was sprinkled with grated Cotija cheese, but if you can’t source that easily, just go with something you like – perhaps cheddar or jack cheese. Slap a few slices of avocado over the cheese (see how I get nice neat slices here).

spread refritos on the bread

sprinkle cheese then layer the avocado

Next you need to get in on that bacon action. You can go meatless if you like, but bacon and avocado go together like beans and cornbread. Actually, bacon goes with everything. I know there is a lot of backlash against bacon these days, because people went overboard and have been doing unnatural things with bacon, but I am quite loyal to bacon – especially in sandwiches. It’s easy enough to omit or substitute with breakfast sausage (now there is another happy thought).

give a little squizzle of chipotle mayonnaise

and don’t forget the fried egg *high five*

There is really nothing quite so amazing as a runny egg yolk in a sandwich, but I understand that some folks are squeamish about runny yolks. That’s okay, but those people need to stop freaking out. If you don’t like runny yolks, then cook your egg over-easy, over-hard, or scramble it and make an egg sheet – WHATEVER. The point is, you get to choose! Isn’t that great?! In the end, you have serious breakfast in the palm of your hand… or perhaps stuffed into your face. But keep the extra chipotle mayonnaise handy, because THAT is some good mayonnaise.

breakfast torta

this is destiny

Breakfast Torta
[print recipe]
inspired by Dos Coyotes in the Sacramento Airport

4 tortas
1 cup refritos (refried beans), warmed
1/2 cup cotija cheese (or cheddar), crumbled or grated
avocado (one avocado should be sufficient for four tortas), sliced like this
12 slices bacon, cooked
chipotle mayonnaise
4 eggs, cooked to your liking

chipotle mayonnaise
2 tbsps chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, puréed
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed into a paste
1/2 cup mayo
salt to taste
fresh lime juice to taste

Make the chipotle mayonnaise: Stir the chipotle purée and garlic paste into the mayonnaise. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Slice the torta(s) in half. Toast the bread if desired. Spread a quarter cup of refritos on one half of the torta. Sprinkle cotija cheese over the refritos. Layer 3-4 slices of avocado over the cheese. Place a few slices of bacon on the avocado. Squeeze or spread the chipotle mayonnaise on the bacon. Top with a fried egg or scrambled egg sheet (just like scrambled eggs, except you let it cook in a sheet like a pancake). Place the other half of the torta on top and serve hot. Makes 4 tortas.

28 nibbles at “fuel for the day”

  1. Kristin says:

    Mmmm, I have Costco tortas in the freezer, part of an avocado & some leftover ham which would be yummy crisped up in a dry skillet…I might see a variation of this in my future! I am with you on the stress and lack of control. My dad was just dx with multiple myeloma and the stressors are coming from all directions right now. Now if you could just help in the sleep department…

  2. Katie says:

    love this recipe and your puppy.

  3. Stephus @ stephsapartmentkitchen says:

    That looks so lovely! I do love me some chipotle mayo and I couldn’t agree with you more about a fried egg with a runny yolk. Do you make your own refried beans or is there a particular brand you would recommend?

  4. sweetmaddy says:

    Yum! Looks great! I agree that runny eggs in sandwiches = win. Question: Would you ever consider making your recipes pin-able? I just joined pinterest and I like bookmarking recipes there. Just a thought! Thanks :)

  5. Erin says:

    This sandwich looks amazing! I just finished my oatmeal at work and am still borderline hungry looking at the pictures.

    Kaweah is adorable – this is such a great picture! At certain angles, she looks very like my dog, which was especially welcome this morning (had to dash out the door immediately after he flung himself at me for morning pets, and I wound up with sad eyes from both pup and husband).

  6. Kim says:

    OMG! I used to live in Sacramento and before that, Davis. The owner of Dos Coyotes would come across the street to the child development center where I ran the after school program, and bring our guinea pigs and bunnies shredded cabbage from the restaurant!

    Their food was superb. I was hysterical about their fish burritoes.

  7. Cindi says:

    I’ve never heard of this and it sounds absolutely delish. I’d eat it for lunch or dinner, too!

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This looks positively unreal! Lovely idea for breakfast!

  9. Julie says:

    This looks amazingly good. I am not a breakfast person, either… but I’d happily eat a breakfast torta for dinner! : ) Being a vegetarian cook, I’m excited to experiment with a non-meat version of this that’s equally as satisfying.

  10. debbie says:

    Wow…does my bowl of oatmeal look boring…this is fabulous and I love it!!!! My dog needs a monthly bath and I love the way she feels all smooth and silky afterwards!

  11. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    Wow! Good food in an airport! I t was your lucky day. And I wish I was waking up to that. Planning on going to Costco soon. Will have to check the tortas out. Thanks.

  12. Pam says:

    Yumm, Thanks for sharing. And I do love all your puppy photos.

  13. Julia Kelly says:

    I’ve never seen a torta where I live- but it looks a whole lot like a cabatta roll? and the sandwich looks down right yummy!

  14. Laura from Cali says:

    YUM! Now, how do you get the avocado slices to come out so pretty? I usually end up with mushed-up pieces. (Jen, I think an avocado-slicing tutorial is in order!)

  15. TheKitchWitch says:

    Whoa Nelly, is that a gorgeous thing! Drooling!

  16. Caterina B says:

    Yum! These sound very similar to what we had for breakfast in Oaxaca a few years back. Split torta roll, refried black beans, Oaxaca cheese….I don’t remember any avocado. But…we loved them and went to the same restaurant every morning for these “molletes.”
    Love that photo of the beautiful Labby girl. Labs ALWAYS SMELL GOOD! (with some exceptions)

  17. Donna says:

    I absolutely love that beautiful dog!

  18. patty says:

    I’m seriously going to make this! It looks so gooooood!! I absolutely love ALL your pictures you post!! I feel the comfort through your pictures!!!

  19. Amy Q says:

    I cannot show this to my husband or sons until I make it or they will run away to Colorado and beg outside your window.

  20. Shut Up & Cook | The Attainable Gourmet says:

    Bloody brilliant!

    I also happen to have a giant bag of Costco Tortas in my freezer which means…

    I am making this for breakfast tomorrow!!


  21. Kristen says:

    That first photo of Kaweah hurts my heart in the best way possible. And YES to chipotle mayo. The first time I made it (albeit without omg garlic)? Mine=blown!

  22. Kathy Swanson says:

    Here is a recipe the Swanson Clan will love. It is a lovely gourmet version of the good old egg, ham, and cheese breakfast sandwich I used to send with my sons to eat on the bus on the way to Speech Team Meets all over the State of Illinois when they were in high school. They hit the road before 6AM every saturday morning from October thru March. It kept them out of trouble and made great public speakers out them – a super life skill. The sandwiches just fed the beast. I always sent two so they could share with a friend. That way they never had to sit alone on the bus!!!

  23. angelitacarmelita says:

    I don’t know if anyone else caught this, but I just saw your West-coast girl and your Southern VA girl come together in one statement “bacon and avocado go together like beans and cornbread”, that made me laugh and it’s brilliant and sooo true. This looks so good, thanks!

  24. Things I like Thursday | Crazy Jamie's Blog says:

    […] Bacon makes everything better! Breakfast Torta […]

  25. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s diagnosis. I hope you’re keeping it together xo

    Katie – :)

    Stephus – I don’t make my own, but the brand I mentioned in the post is Annie’s Organic. Quite good.

    sweetmaddy – I’ll try to work on that in the future, but this blog has a lot of things that need to be fixed… For what it’s worth, plenty of people pin my recipes on pinterest, so it’s definitely doable without me making them pinable :)

    Erin – dogs have a great talent for making us all suckers ;)

    Kim – wow, I am super jealous. I wish Dos Coyotes was around here.

    Cindi – :)

    Julie – just omit the bacon and you’re good to go!

    debbie – yeah, baths are great because Kaweah sure gets her stink on after a few weeks…

    Abbe – I know, right? The tortas are great for regular sandwiches, toast, etc.

    Pam – thanks!

    Julia – it’s different from ciabatta, it’s soft and more dense. I like it a lot. But you can easily substitute another kind of bread if you can’t find tortas.

    Laura – In the post I link to my avocado slicing technique

    TKW – xo

    Caterina – mmm!!

    Donna – awww, thank you xo

    patty – :)

    Amy Q – ha ha!!

    Shut Up & Cook – score!

    Kristen – that chipotle mayo is the best part of the whole sandwich :)

    Kathy – I hope your fellas enjoy them. You’re such a great mom :) xo

    angelitacarmelita – ;)

  26. Chipotle Greatness | Charlotte Taylor Creates says:

    […] show today though is a Mexican Breakfast Torta. This sandwich was an incredible find at the blog, Use Real Butter.  Jen is a great blogger with scrumptious recipes and photos.  Check it out HERE.  Not only will […]

  27. Pily says:

    Hi, thank you for de breakfast torta recipe, is wonderful! :)
    If you want ,you can see my post of you torta recipe in my blog.

  28. U – Use Real Butter | Breakfast Torta | 72 Ways to Prepare Beans & Rice...and Love IT! says:

    […] Jen @ Use Real Butter […]

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