Shakshouka

Break out the good plates and champagne. I’m back! There were some technical errors on the site, as well as some human error (read: writer’s block…okay okay, laziness), but the hiatus has come to an end…pending the next onset of human error.

While I’m here, I might as well drop a recipe on you folks. So voila: my shakshouka. This was inspired by a trip to Balaboosta, an Israeli restaurant in SoHo, for Sunday brunch. I was stupid and ordered a sandwich, but watched, mouth-open and drooling as waiters shuffled around with tiny, steaming cast iron cauldrons of the Mediterranean classic. The dish consists of a flavorful tomato sauce functioning as both stew and vessel to to gently poach eggs. It is usually served with a side of toasty bread for dipping.

Unable to get shakshouka off the brain, I went home and made my own the following Saturday. I spiced it with cinnamon, deepened it with honey, and sprinkled roasted olives (ask your grocer or just throw some olives in an oven with olive oil), feta and herbs on top. It’s an elegantly messy start to your weekend, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Until next time!

Shakshouka
Serves 3-4

1 medium onion
1/2 stalk celery
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 small jalapeno (prefer chiles)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 zucchini
1 28-oz can diced (or crushed) tomato
1 tbsp honey
4 eggs

1. Sautee the onion on celery until softened*. Add the garlic and ginger and sautee for another minute. Season with S&P, cinnamon and crushed red pepper. Add the yellow pepper and zuchini and sautee until soft.
2. Add the tomato to the softened vegetables, season with salt and pepper, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minute.
3. Uncover the pot and allow the mixture to thicken and the water to reduce for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
4. Make four wells into the mixture and crack and egg in each well.
Cover the pot and cook for 6-7 minutes for a slightly runny egg.

*try and use a castiron pot if you can

Shakshouka 1

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Oh Fudge Brownies

Brownies 1

I’m not Catholic, but I’m more than happy to celebrate Fat Tuesday. While I don’t generally break out the beads and party topless Mardi Gras style, I’m more than happy to gorge on my favorite foods.

Speaking of overindulgence, I never really understood why it’s a sin. Aside from the whole health thing, what’s the big deal? I’m fairly certain I can think of worse things I could do with my time than gorge myself into overfed bliss.

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So here is the recipe for my wickedly addictive and delicious “Oh Fudge” brownies. The first time I made them I had to throw them away so I would stop eating them (now that should be some sort of moral offense). Be forewarned. And Happy Fat Tuesday!

(And don’t bother pointing out my hypocrisy because I already know)

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“Oh Fudge” Brownies
serves a party (or one very greedy individual)

Ingredients
2/3 cup Semi-Sweet (or Bittersweet) Chocolate Chips
11 tbsp Butter (about 1 1/2 sticks)
3 Eggs
1 tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 tbsp Instant Coffee
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium-sized bowl (either in the microwave or in a double boiler).
3. Cool the chocolate, then mix in the eggs, vanilla and sugar.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, coffee, baking powder/soda and salt.
5. Fold the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
6. Line a baking dish (about 9×9 or so) with tin foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
7. Empty the batter into the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

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A Shot of Love & Hot Chocolate

Hot Coco Shot 1

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!

Brooklyn was walloped by the storm yesterday. The morning forecast said “winter warning,” to which my reaction was “shouldn’t it be winter storm warning?” Given the frequency of storms we’ve been having, I no longer think it was a typo.

I suggest seeking refuge from the blistering cold this Valentine’s Day with one of my favs: HOT CHOCOLATE! My shot of love and hot chocolate is super simple, and so chocolatey that it’s probably as hard to shoot as tequila. Sip it, dip some marshmallows and strawberries in it, and have fun!

Hot Coco Shot 2

A Shot of Love & Hot Chocolate
Serves…a lot (save the rest in the fridge!)

2 cups low-fat milk
3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli’s 60%)
1 tbsp coffee
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar

1. Heat the milk until just before it boils. Stir to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
2. Pour the chocolate into a large cup. When the milk is hot, add it to the chocolate and stir.
3. When the chocolate is fully combined with the milk, add the coffee, vanilla and sugar.
4. Allow to cool slightly (scalding hot liquid and glass don’t always mix).
5. Pour into shot glasses and enjoy!

Hot Coco Shot 3

Mini Frittatas

Frittata 3

#FRITTATAS. Mini frittatas, actually. #MINIFRITTATAS!

My lazy Saturday mornings can’t be spent stressing about keeping a pizza-sized frittata intact. I’m always turned off by the “now flip and voila” step that chefs make look so easy but never actually works the fist time you do it (like when you made pancakes for the first time and accidentally flipped one pancake on top of another and cursed your apparent lack of decent motor skills).

All this to say that I went mini. If one breaks…so what? Who cares? Have a glass of Pinot Grigio and go to bed #JoyBehar.

Frittata 1

Here are my arguments for why you should always go mini:

1. You can have more more MORE!
2. You can make them for a party and it looks like you did so much work…but you didn’t. You Martha Stewart you.
3. Doesn’t it look so fancy!? And cayute!
4. No sharing! #selfish
5. It’s more likely that you have a muffin tin than an oven-proof skillet. (Statement not based on actual facts)

Frittata 4

Ingredients
3 Eggs
1 tbsp Sour Cream
2 tbsp Milk
1/4 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
1/2 small Zucchini, cubed
Cilantro
S&P

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Separate the egg whites and yolks into two medium-sized bowls.
3. Beat the egg whites until frothy.
4. Add the sour cream, milk, cheese, zucchini and cilantro to the egg yolks. Season with a few pinches of salt (I generally do one pinch per egg) and pepper.
5. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
6. Spray 6-8 muffin tins with baking spray and fill them about 3/4 full with the egg mixture.
7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until they are set.
8. Let them cool, invert the pan to release and enjoy!

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Big A$$ Latkas with Tomato Jam and Herbs

Latkas 5The holidays are upon us!!!

This year boasts the shortest amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, meaning there are the least amount of shopping days. Department stores are FREAKING. OUT. Does Kmart’s layaway program even make sense if you don’t have time to pay off those hot wheels before the holiday?!

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But what about Hannukah!? For the first time since 1861, the first day of Hannukah is on the same day as Thanksgiving. Go figure!

In honor of Hannukah, I made a big a$$ latka. It’s essentially the lazy man’s potato pancake. Instead of making individual patties and frying them one by one, I just dump the whole thing in the pan and eat it pizza style.

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I like to give mine a Mediterranean feel with a sweet, spicy and cinnamonny tomato jam, mint and cilantro leaves, and of course a dollop of daisy (sour cream).  Actually, it was Breakstone’s sour cream because that’s what was on sale. But kudos to the marketing team at Daisy.

If you’re having it for breakfast, try it with some eggs! And top it with some crumbled bacon (but then it’s no longer kosher…so don’t tell your mom!)

Enjoy!

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Big A$$ Latkas with Tomato Jam and Herbs
Makes 2 big a$$ latkas

3 medium russet potatoes
1 medium onion
1 egg
1 tbsp flour
S&P
Tomato Jam
Cilantro
Mint
Sour Cream

  1. Peel and shred the potatoes into a bowl, and squeeze out the liquid.
  2. Shred the onion into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  3. Add the egg and mix well. Finally add the flour and mix well.
  4. Heat a oven-proof skillet on high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to gather half of the potato mixture and drop it into the pan. Flatten and shape it into a circle on one side of the pan. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
  6. Fry on one side until it is browned. Flip and fry the other side.
  7. If you’re not going to eat the latkas right away, put the pan in a 425 F oven and allow them to warm through. If not, continue cooking on the stove-top until they’re cooked through.
  8. Place the latka on a plate. Top with tomato jam, roughly chopped herbs and sour cream.

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