Shake it up with Shakshuka!

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Not long ago, my mom and I spent a weekend in New York. In between the many museums, parks and restaurants we went to, we also spent some time in one of our favorite places: a bookstore! While she loves to skim through recent books, I always run to the cookbooks section. That time, I stumbled upon Ottolenghi’s Plenty a vegetable cookbook by Yotham Ottolenghi, a London based chef renowned for his Mediterranean and North African dishes. One of his recipes immediately caught my eye: his Shakshuka! I gues what first attracted me was its name. Shak-shu-ka. Such a fun name! The second thing that I liked was that it had eggs, and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to cook eggs. Before I even got the chance to try it, I went out for brunch back in Philadelphia and the café had Shakshuka too! I saw it as a sign that I needed to dive in. So I ordered it, liked it, then cooked it at home, and loved it! I slightly adapted his recipe and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (I use trader joe’s  “Fire Roasted with Jalapenos”)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • agave nectar (or a pinch of sugar)
  • a bunch of fresh thyme
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Green pepper tabasco (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet. Add the sliced onion, salt, and let it cook on high heat until brown. Next, add the sliced yellow bell pepper, drizzle of agave nectar, thyme, parsley, and a pinch of ground cumin and let it cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Add a splash of water and let it evaporate to further soften and caramelize the vegetables.
  2. Next, add the diced tomatoes, lower the heat and let it simmer until it slightly thickens.
  3. Make two “holes” in the tomato and pepper base, and crack the eggs in them. Cover and let it cook until the eggs are set, about 6 minutes. They will be runny and delicious with the sauce. Adjust the seasoning, drizzle with Tabasco if you like it extra spicy, and serve in the skillet, along with warm pita bread!
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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Every now and then I like to experiment with completely new ingredients. I just go grocery shopping and I pick one thing that I’ve never cooked before. If I’m lucky, I discover a great new flavor and that one ingredient usually ends up on my go-to shopping list. This time, I was wandering along the store’s aisles when I stumbled upon an acorn squash. I liked its shape and its color, so I decided it would be my new ingredient of the week. This recipe turned out to be one of my favorites so far! It’s full of sweet and savory flavors, healthy, filling and beautiful just to look at. Bon appétit!

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This recipe was inspired by Love and Lemons


Prep time: 40 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • a handful of toasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • a pinch of ground cumin and nutmeg
  • Fresh chopped parsley to taste
  • 1 tbs lemon juice, with zest
  • drizzle of agave nectar (or honey)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Scoop the seeds out of the 1/2 squash, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and put to roast flesh down for about 25 min. Flip the half over and bake for another 15 min, until the flesh is tender and the edges are starting to get brown.
  2. Meanwhile, sautée the diced onion with the chopped tomatoes in a pan over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook until translucent. Add the ground cumin and nutmeg and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  3. Bring the heat to low and add the cooked quinoa, a splash of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice with zest and a good drizzle of agave nectar. Then add the fresh parsley and crumbled feta and toss gently.
  4. Once the squash is done, scoop the filling into it and top with another drizzle of olive oil and toasted sunflower seeds.

TIPYou can add dried cranberry, currants or other berries to the toppings for extra sweetness.