Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spicy Shakshuka (and Hello Again!)

So, word on the blogosphere street is that one year between blog posts is the latest trend. Ok, err . . . maybe not. While there are no excuses for ignoring my beloved Cupcakes and Curry for nearly an entire year (still a week to go until the actual one year mark!), I will offer up plenty of excuses and you can judge me accordingly:

  • I made a career change.
  • I'm back in school.
  • My sister had a baby.
  • I went on a 10-day juice cleanse and pretended to be a vegan after watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. (And promptly ate a burrito and gained back any weight lost upon completion.)
  • My husband got a new car.
  • My favorite chopping block grew a nasty fungus. (True story, any tips on treating an effed up Boos block, much appreciated.)
  • I went to Mendocino for a weekend getaway.
  • I became highly active on Pintrest (and am consequently constantly buying Vinegar and mixing it with baking soda to clean my house).

Getting paid to write (I was working as a freelance writer before my recent transition) ironically made me not want to write -- at least for myself -- anymore. Funny how that works. All of this busy-ness also made me not cook and moreover cook not-so exciting things. Now that it's summertime, things are a bit slower and my love for all things delicious has returned with a vengeance. To be honest, my hunger never waned, just my ability to create a blog post. This post marks my spicy (or tikka as we Indians say) return to my little blog that could. Fingers crossed it's less than a year until my next post!




This recipe is inspired by our very dear friends who lived two blocks away from us. They sadly just moved back to Israel forcing me to re-create this delicious dish -- Shakshuka. Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli masterpiece of tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and eggs that's eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Yup, eggs for dinner, score!)

What You Need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 jalapeƱos, seeded and de-veined, chopped (Optional)
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons sweet-smokey paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
Parsley and cilantro (For garnish)

What To Do:
Preheat your oven to 425°. I used my cast iron skillet, but any ovenproof medium-sized skillet will work. Heat your pan over medium-high heat and then add the oil. Add in the onion and let brown for about 3-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and jalapeƱo if using. Stir until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the can of garbanzo beans, paprika, and cumin and let simmer for about two minutes. Once everything is nicely mixed together, stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer until the sauce thickens, for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper (I like to use kosher salt and then add a bit of sea salt at the end). Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce (I went a bit feta-crazy and it was an excellent idea!). Crack eggs one at a time and distribute evenly over sauce mixture. Place hot skillet to heated oven and bake until eggs are cooked. (Set whites, runny yolks.) Garnish with a generous handful of diced parsley and cilantro. Serve with hunks of pita and a side of hummus for a true taste of Israel.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

If I can toot my own horn, my shakshuka made for quite a marvelous meal. A definite addition to our dinner rotation menu and another incentive to travel!



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