And, finally, it rains. Not so joyous an occasion for sun bathers, felines, and other bitter Betsy-types, but most of California breathed a slight sigh of relief when the skies opened up this morning. My reaction? “I don’t have to water my plants!” and a beer was opened in observance of this glorious day. So, I’m in the celebration camp, but probably for the wrong (read: lazy) reasons.
Never heard of it? Neither had I. But that is one of the many beauties of the internet— visual aids that provide us with the pretty pretty pictures we need in order to become interested. “This book has no pictures. Ergo, this book is a waste of space.”
Shakshuka is a popular Israeli dish that has North African-roots. Eggs are poached in a spicy tomato sauce and served with pita. I saw some variations during my research that got creative with the vegetables and various cheeses, but overall: this is very, very easy and delightful. Most people have the basics on hand– canned tomatoes, eggs, onion, garlic, etc, so if you’re interested in a simple, healthy breakfast option, then I advise you to keep reading.
I’ve been dabbling in homemade ricotta recently and found it to work beautifully in shakshuka. Some of it sort of melted into the sauce, but big chunks remained intact and were perfect for scooping up on the bread. My intention was to share this batch of cheese with my neighbors, but…that isn’t going to happen. Piggie has taken over my body and won’t let the concept of generosity interfere with my cheesy feeding frenzy.
3 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced fine
2 anaheim peppers, diced fine
2 carrots, diced fine
2 t paprika
1 t cumin
2 T tomato paste
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 t sugar
2 t salt
1 c ricotta cheese (feta would also be quite nice)
flat leaf parsley
pita (or naan) for serving
In a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high. When hot, add the oil. Toss in the onion, garlic, pepper, and carrot, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced– about 10 minutes. One at a time, crack the eggs into a ladle. Push the ladle into the sauce to create a hole for the egg, turning it out into the sauce. Do this for all 7 eggs. With sauce on a low simmer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes. Add cheese a few minutes before eggs are set (sprinkle over the top– don’t mix in). Eggs may be a bit soft, but they will continue to cook in the sauce. Turn off heat and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with warm pita (I wanted garlic naan instead, which was great) and enjoy!
Sometimes I hate Pinterest. It’s an overload of awesome and my brain just can’t take it. No-bake peanut butter pretzel bark with a side of rainbows and magic beans! Seriously– who can resist? And when there are 60,000 of those flying in your face in perfect little columns of glory….doomed. Doomed to spend hours every day salivating without ever actually making anything! Oh sure, you want to cover your walls with DIY mason jar crafts and adorn the dinner table with 43 kinds of Baked Alaska, but you can’t because your productivity has taken a destructive nose dive. All you can do is scroll for more…and more…and more.
Today I said “Enough, self! Get up and make something worthy of the Pinterest gods!” And it was done. All with minimal clean up, since my garbage disposal is broken and I’m too lazy to figure out how to fix it. So it goes.
Oh, and it tastes good. I took some inspiration from Pasta Putanesca with the olives and anchovies, which make it salty and delightful and tummy-warming.
Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 white wine
12 oz pasta
2 c stock
1 c milk
1.5 c tomato sauce
1 t anchovies, chopped fine
1/2 c olives, cut in half
1/4 c fresh basil, sliced thinly
finely grated parmigiano reggiano
S&P (because of the anchovies, olives, and cheese, you will not need much salt)
Heat a large pot (if you are using linguine-type noodles, make sure that the pot is wide enough to fit the noodles laying down; otherwise, you’ll need to break them in half) over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the onion and saute for a few minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Add the anchovies and stir until a bit melted. Add the stock, milk, tomato sauce, and noodles. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Stir frequently and add more water if the sauce becomes thick and the noodles aren’t yet done. When the noodles are al dente, remove from heat and taste for salt. Top with olives and parmigiano cheese and serve over fresh arugula.