Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a wonderful, savory and filling dish to serve for brunch, lunch or dinner. It goes great with a side of bread, couscous or a Mediterranean-style salad. This dish originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is very common in Israel. 

It can be adapted to include what you have on hand, making it a great end of the week, clean-out-the-fridge dish. Vegetables such as summer squash, eggplant, broccoli or carrots can easily be added to cook down with the sauce and make it your own. If you buy a bunch of parsley for another dish, this is a great way to use up the rest of it. Shakshuka is a great way to use up bumper crops of your fresh garden produce.

Give this a try for your next brunch for something new and different. It’s so satisfying! 

Shakshuka

Yields 4 cups sauce plus an egg (Serves 4)

Ingredients

 

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes or 32 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 4-6 eggs (based on your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout (substitute cumin if you don’t have this spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it spicier)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (for garnish and added flavor)

 

Optional

 

  • Zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, hot peppers, carrots, broccoli and green beans are all possible additions to this dish and a great way to minimize food waste by using up odds and ends of leftover vegetables. 

 

Shakshuka ingredients

Directions

Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once heated add oil and then place sliced onions in hot oil. Sauté for 8 -10 minutes until translucent and beginning to slightly caramelize. While onion is cooking, dice the eggplant and any other vegetables you’re using into a medium dice, about 1/2 inch cubes. There is no need to peel the eggplant. 

Add garlic, eggplant and any other vegetables to sauté with the onions for 5 minutes to slightly brown the vegetables. You can add some minced jalapeño or Serrano at this time if you like extra spice.

Add tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush them in a bowl before adding to the skillet. Or you can do what I did and squeeze them with your hands as you add them to the skillet. Add the spices and sugar to the pan and stir to combine well. Let simmer over medium low for 10 minutes. Carefully taste and adjust salt to your preference.

While simmering you can rough chop the parsley leaves to have them ready. Keep the stems to either add to a pesto, chimichurri sauce or freeze them with your other vegetable scraps to make a simple, homemade broth. 

After 10 minutes, gently crack the eggs onto the shakshuka while it’s still cooking. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are fully cooked to your liking. You can cover with a lid to cook the eggs faster if you’d like. 

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley for serving. Serve hot with a side of hearty, crusty bread, pita or couscous. Goes well with a fresh salad topped with feta cheese. 

Enjoy! I’d love to know how you like it and how you adapt it to make it your own. You can easily add sausage to this dish. Just cook it while cooking the vegetables and before adding the tomatoes. Another spice that is a great addition is Aleppo pepper, which adds a warm earthy spiciness to the dish.

Shakshuka simmering in tomatoes

Eggs cooking in shakshuka

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Mmm…summer is officially here and strawberries are bursting with flavor! Take advantage of the fact that they’re cheaper right now and they taste the best they will all year long! Make strawberry cakes, smoothies, put in your oatmeal, add to yogurt and ice cream…dip them in chocolate and just savor their wonderful sweetness all by their lonesome. 

I decided to make a twist on a classic French dessert that is usually made with cherries. This recipe was inspired byJulia Child’s Cherry Clafoutis Recipe (pronounced: clah-foo-tee). It’s wonderful either hot out of the oven or chilled and is a wonderful addition to any summer party. Great to make a day ahead and serve chilled after dinner. 

It’s kind of a custard and is SO easy to put together. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. I’d LOVE to hear about your variations. Check tips at the end for ways to experiment with different fruits.

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Yields: 1 (9 inch pie pan) clafoutis

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar (divided in half)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 ounces or 2 cups strawberries
  • Zest of half of a lemon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 inch pie dish or circular baking pan. Ceramic or glass is best. Cut off the strawberry tops and them into quarters. Zest the lemon and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, ¼ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla or almond extract, salt, both flours and lemon zest. Blend well with an electric blender.

Pour about ⅓ of the batter into the greased pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom will start to cook, but it will not be solid. Remove from oven and gently add the strawberries. Sprinkle the other ¼ cup sugar on top. Pour the remaining batter over the fruit.

Return pan to oven and cook for about 1 more hour. Check the clafoutis at 45 minutes for doneness. It will be finished when a toothpick comes out clean, but it won’t be brown when it is finished cooking.

The clafoutis will naturally deflate after being out of the oven for a few minutes. You can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if you’d like, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a pretty effect. It is delicious served hot or cold. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Plums, peaches, apricots, other berries or cherries can all be substituted for the strawberries. You could also experiment with adding orange or lime zest, ground cardamom, cinnamon or other spices to create new flavors.

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