Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)

Shakshuka

During the last few months of my pregnancy, I had to increase my protein intake. Lucky for me, J found several recipes that tasted good, included several servings of vegetables and had lots of protein. This one from Tori Avey with a few modifications quickly became one of our favorites.

You can modify the spice level based on your tastes. If you want to add more eggs, feel free! It’s just as good the next morning on toast like huevos rancheros.

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Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium (we use our cast iron skillet for this).
  2. Heat olive oil in the pan.
  3. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  4. Add garlic and continue to sauté until mixture is fragrant.
  5. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir to blend.
  7. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes until it starts to reduce.
  8. Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.
  9. At a minimum, add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. You can also add more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka.
  11. Sprinkle the feta over the dish, or mix it in if you like.
  12. Then crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. In our cast iron skillet, we can get about five eggs around the outer edge and one in the center.
  13. The eggs will cook over easy on top of the tomato sauce. If you prefer more done eggs, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook in the oven until set (when the skillet is jiggled, the eggs don't jiggle back).
  14. We leave the mixture uncovered and let simmer for between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced.
  15. Be careful at this point, because the mixture can go from reducing to burning quickly. 
  16. Serve in a bowl alone, over rice or with some french bread.

My opinion:
This dish is delicious hot or cold. With sides or alone. It’s easy, filling and perfect for a late fall evening.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, our toddler loves this dish. We just add the extra spices onto our own plates. 

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Jeb’s Chili

 

One of J’s favorite dishes is his father’s chili. It makes more than enough for three meals and a few lunches for us. Like most of our favorite meals, this one gets better the longer it simmers. It looks complicated, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.

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Jeb's Chili
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Ingredients
Base Ingredients:
Sauce Ingredients:
Servings
Ingredients
Base Ingredients:
Sauce Ingredients:
Instructions
  1. Brown the meat.
  2. Add the chopped bell peppers and onions and cook until desired caramelization.
  3. In a separate pot make the sauce by adding the first 11 ingredients and simmering for about 45 minutes until smooth.
  4. Then add the tomatoes and meat and peppers and onions. Simmer one to two hours.
  5. Add 1 to 4 tablespoons massa flour to thicken if needed (most of the time we leave this step out).

 

My opinion: This is delicious with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lime juice and tortilla chips. J prefers his with corn bread. It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night.

Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Tom Yum Noodle Soup
Or as a dear friend of mine calls this, sick soup. It’s perfect when allergies are high or a cold is settling in. We like ours a bit on the hot and sour side, so if you don’t feel the same way, make sure you adjust the spices. A good rule of thumb is you can add spice easier than you can take it away. Like the last recipe, J found the base on RasaMalaysia.com and with a few modifications, it is thisclose to our favorite Thai restaurant in town. If only we could get our hands on fresh ingredients…

Ingredients:
1 roll packaged soba noodles (We used rice noodles because we had a hard time finding soba noodles)
1 1/4 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, pounded and bruised (we finally found dried lemongrass from Thai Kitchen at our local grocer. If only we could find fresh…)
5-6 kaffir lime leaves, bruised (just like with the lemongrass, we could only find these dried from Thai Kitchen, but dried is better than none!)
4-5 slices fresh galangal (if you aren’t already noticing a trend, this is also only available in our area dried from Thai Kitchen, if you can’t find anything fresh ginger root will do in a pinch)
1/2 small tomato, cut into 3 to 4 wedges
6 medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined (we just used a whole bag of frozen, shelled, deveined ready to use. But we like shrimp)
one can straw mushrooms pieces (pieces were the only kind available)
1 1/2 tablespoons Nam Prik Pao (Thai roasted chili paste, we couldn’t find this so we just used Thai chili paste, it was a bit sweeter than we expected)
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (we ended up using at least 1 and 1/2 tablespoons)
3 dashes chili powder (we used three squirts of Sriracha sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
Cilantro leaves, for garnishing

Directions:
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water and set aside. At the same time, bring the 1 1/4 cups water to boil in another small pot. Add in all the aromatics, follow by the shrimp, mushrooms and Thai chili paste.

Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Keep boiling until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the fish sauce and Sriracha. Turn off the heat, add in the lime juice. Stir to combine well. We opted to remove the lemongrass stalks and the kaffir lime leaves because they didn’t taste very good on their own. We added the cooked noodles and stirred to combine.

Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Top with some cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

My opinion:
This was one of the fastest dinners we’ve made in a long time. I’m sure if we had let it simmer a little longer, the flavors would have been even better, but we were hungry. Next time, we will add more vegetables like zucchini and onions. I was surprised at how much the noodles absorbed the broth, which I think is the best part. By the time we got around to a second bowl, there wasn’t a drop of broth left. To remedy this, we plan to add at least a cup  more water at the beginning.