Day hiking feast – Peppers and Eggs

In the relatively recent past, day hikes were very much a social activity for me.  I was active in a local outdoor group, coordinated many trips and made some great friendships out of those hikes. We’d do a great hike together while enjoying  each other’s company.

We’d usually meet at a local coffee shop or similar, I’d buy an overpriced breakfast sandwich or two (one for lunch) and then we’d go off on a hike.

Years later, esp since I don’t get out on longer hikes as much as I’d like, I tend to do almost all overnight trips for the majority for my weekend jaunts.

However, I still occasionally get out on a day hike esp when I have some social activities planned for the weekend.

One thing I’ve eliminated is buying the overpriced breakfast sandwiches, however.

Why bother…  Esp since the day hikes are not social in focused ,  but rather a way to get outside when my time is limited. A good friend or two may join me, but they have a similar take on the outdoors so we get along just fine. We really don’t have a pre-hike breakfast together as with the social trips in the past.

So now I make my own breakfast before going. And sometimes make enough extra for lunch.

One item I make in particular is a variation of the classic “peppers and eggs”.

A humble sandwich that, at its most basic, can be described as a scrambled egg sandwich. But it is more than that, really, because of how it is made.

Think of the “peppers and eggs” sandwich as a frittata without the baking portion. Something a little quicker, a little more humble, a bit messier but very delicious and perfect for the pre-hike breakfast and for the during-the-hike lunch.

Oh, I am sure if this type of sandwich was made at a coffeeshop in Boulder it would cost $9 and be called a panini.

While the word panini makes sense in a what is called a bar in Rome , it makes absolutely no sense when made by the “free-spirit” barista  named Trevor whose parents pay for his rent, car and the majority of his bills. But I digress.

This sandwich will not be found in Rome I suspect. It is a simple Italian-American classic instead.  Born out of practicality, frugality and mixing the traditions of one country while adjusting to another. The resulting food  is a unique blend of both. Just call it a ‘sangwidge’ as people of a certain age and background still will in my home state.  Three generations later, this classic is still as tasty when it was made for different reasons.

Here’s a quick recipe to make two of your own. Thirty minutes or so to make.  I am sure Trevor the Truster won’t mind, really…

Like all good simple recipes, there are many variations. You can keep it basic or mix it up. I I had some leftover squash and greens I wanted to use and added some fresh basil in this example.

Ingredients – makes two sandwiches

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  • 4 Eggs
  • Hard Italian cheese of some sort to grate
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 rolls of crusty bread
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • OPTIONAL:  As mentioned, mix it up if you want. I had some greens and squash I wanted to use up. And the fresh basil is great. A classic variation is to put some hot peppers on it when the eggs are spooned onto the bread. I was all out of hot peppers, otherwise it is a good choice to add a little zip that I rather like..

Directions

  • Add oil to bottom of a skillet and heat up. Cut onions and garlic roughly. Add to skillet.
  • When onions start to look glassy, add peppers (and additional veggies if doing so). Simmer on medium-low heat.  Cover.
  • 20150916_180520Go make your coffee, brush your teeth, continue any last minute packing and let the veggies simmer.
  • When you are done, crack four eggs. Add a shake or two of salt, a large helping of black pepper and a dash of red pepper. Whisk. Now add a generous amount of grated cheese. Whisk again.

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  • By the time you are done, the veggies should be tender.
  • In the same skillet, add the egg mixture.

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  • Scramble lightly..but let the eggs mainly set on their own.
  • When the eggs are only slightly runny the dish is almost complete.
  • Now, spoon the eggs and add to the rolls. Garnish with hot peppers or some fresh basil.

. Eat one with your coffee. Pack another one for lunch. What was good for Lent in Catholic neighborhoods works equally well at 12,000 ft when making a final push to the summit.  Real food is better than whatever processed bars de jour are being advertised. 🙂

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