eggs

New Year's Shakshuka

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I'm finding it a bit weird to be thinking about New Year's, even though we are well into December, because the weather where I live is balmy. For Connecticut in December that is. It feels more like October.

It is December though and New Year's is coming and Ed and I always spend New Year's Eve with my brother and sister-in-law, Jeff and Eileen, and also cousins Leslie and Neil. Then Les and Neil stay for a few days and we just hang out, watch movies and eat. And drink.

Most of the time we have smoked fish for breakfast 3-4 days in a row but for several reasons we are changing course this year. One day of lox-and-bagels will do.

So then what?

I'm planning to serve shakshuka one morning. I have several versions, some with cheese, some with mergeuz sausage, some all-vegetarian. Some with middle eastern seasonings, some with Mediterranean herbs such as basil or oregano. A quickie or two.

This is the one I'm thinking of for this year, a substantial dish that reminds me of Huevos Rancheros. The pita bread sops up the juices from the vegetables. Also, the eggs aren't poached, but baked under a layer of grated cheese. I can set this up ahead and just pop it into the oven before we are ready to eat.

Huevos Rancheros Shakshuka

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 medium serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pita breads
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and serrano pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables have softened.

Add the tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the ingredients are soft and sauce-like.

While the sauce is cooking, spread the butter over one side of the pitas and place the pitas in a large baking pan. When the sauce is done, spoon it over the bread.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl one at a time then transfer each one next to the other on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Place the baking pan in the oven and cook for 15-18 minutes or until the eggs are cooked but with slightly runny yolks and the cheese is hot and bubbly.

For a crispier looking top, place the pan under the broiler for a minute or so.

Makes 4 servings.



Mock Shak

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It isn't Shakshuka. But this dish is a quick, incredibly satisfying substitute.

Or maybe just it's own thing.

It came about this way: I had some roasted tomatoes left over and wanted to use them in some other way than the leftover reheat.

But I didn't feel like cooking anything extravagant. So I made the leftover reheat.

But then I topped it with sunnyside egg/runny yolks, which I think can make just about any vegetable dish worthier.

This quick Mock Shak is a good bet for lunch, brunch and even dinner when you don't feel like fussing or spending too much time making a meal.

Obviously you can make the tomatoes a day or two ahead and reheat.

Glorious isn't it?

Mock Shak

  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 4-8 large eggs
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  •  

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them cut side up in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Brush the tops with olive oil and scatter the garlic on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and parsley. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Place 6 halves on each of four plates.

When the tomatoes are almost finished roasting, heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat (or use two pans if making 8 eggs). When the butter has melted and looks foamy, crack 4 eggs into the pan (or 4 eggs into each of the two pans) and cook them, sunnyside-up style until cooked to the desired doneness. Place one or two eggs one each dish over the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

Makes 4 servings

 

Eggs: Size Matters; Classic Genoise

Before I buy eggs, I open the carton to see if any are broken or otherwise unacceptable (an occasional egg will not look clean, for example). If the eggs are okay, I close the box and take it. 
 I almost always buy large eggs because they are the most useful. I’m sure you already know this, but just in case you don’t, recipes that have been developed by food writers, chefs and so on, assume you will be using large size eggs, especially for baked goods and custards. It should be noted in the list of ingredients, but if not, large eggs are what they mean. 
 Why is this important? Because if a recipe has been developed using size large and you use a different size, the texture and flavor of the cake (cookies, quickbread, etc.) or custard you are making will be affected and sometimes the recipe may fail completely.  
 Of course you can substitute — if a recipe calls for 4 large eggs, you can use 3 jumbo or 5 medium — but most home cooks don’t and may wonder why a recipe didn’t work. 
 Egg size must meet USDA standards and is measured by weight per dozen, not actual dimensions. Large eggs are 24 ounces per dozen. 
 That could mean the eggs in a carton all look about the same size. OR, they could look like the two eggs in the photo. One looks much larger than the other. 
 I would not normally have bought the particular carton with these eggs because of this differential, but I wanted to take a photo just so I could write this post. Besides, egg size does not matter when it comes to scrambled eggs or French toast or egg salad, so I can use these for that kind of dish. 
 But size does matter for recipes such as genoise, the delicate, classic sponge cake used in so many European style cakes and confections. Genoise has no leavening other than the eggs. They must be the right ones, the right size. 
 Genoise is a building block kind of recipe. For an easy summer dessert, slice it in half and stuff the middle with whipped cream and fresh berries. You can frost it if you like. Or make it into Baked Alaska. And dozens of other recipes (I’ll be posting throughout the next few months). 
 But to begin, here’s Classic Genoise using LARGE eggs 

  
 Classic Genoise 

 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
 1 cup cake flour 
 1/4 teaspoon salt 
 6 large eggs at room temperature 
 1 cup sugar 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch or 10-inch cake pan, place a parchment paper circle on the bottom and lightly grease the paper. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Sift the flour and salt together three times. Set aside. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl to use with a hand mixer). Beat the eggs until thoroughly combined. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the eggs. Beat at medium speed for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and pale-cream color and falls ribbon-like back into the bowl when the beater is lifted. Gently fold 1/4 of the flour into the egg mixture with a large rubber spatula, folding just until the flour has been incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour three more times, adding the melted butter with the last addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sides of the cake have begun to separate from the edges of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then invert it on to a cake rack to cool completely. 
 Makes one cake

Before I buy eggs, I open the carton to see if any are broken or otherwise unacceptable (an occasional egg will not look clean, for example). If the eggs are okay, I close the box and take it.

I almost always buy large eggs because they are the most useful. I’m sure you already know this, but just in case you don’t, recipes that have been developed by food writers, chefs and so on, assume you will be using large size eggs, especially for baked goods and custards. It should be noted in the list of ingredients, but if not, large eggs are what they mean.

Why is this important? Because if a recipe has been developed using size large and you use a different size, the texture and flavor of the cake (cookies, quickbread, etc.) or custard you are making will be affected and sometimes the recipe may fail completely. 

Of course you can substitute — if a recipe calls for 4 large eggs, you can use 3 jumbo or 5 medium — but most home cooks don’t and may wonder why a recipe didn’t work.

Egg size must meet USDA standards and is measured by weight per dozen, not actual dimensions. Large eggs are 24 ounces per dozen.

That could mean the eggs in a carton all look about the same size. OR, they could look like the two eggs in the photo. One looks much larger than the other.

I would not normally have bought the particular carton with these eggs because of this differential, but I wanted to take a photo just so I could write this post. Besides, egg size does not matter when it comes to scrambled eggs or French toast or egg salad, so I can use these for that kind of dish.

But size does matter for recipes such as genoise, the delicate, classic sponge cake used in so many European style cakes and confections. Genoise has no leavening other than the eggs. They must be the right ones, the right size.

Genoise is a building block kind of recipe. For an easy summer dessert, slice it in half and stuff the middle with whipped cream and fresh berries. You can frost it if you like. Or make it into Baked Alaska. And dozens of other recipes (I’ll be posting throughout the next few months).

But to begin, here’s Classic Genoise using LARGE eggs

Classic Genoise

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch or 10-inch cake pan, place a parchment paper circle on the bottom and lightly grease the paper. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Sift the flour and salt together three times. Set aside. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl to use with a hand mixer). Beat the eggs until thoroughly combined. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the eggs. Beat at medium speed for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and pale-cream color and falls ribbon-like back into the bowl when the beater is lifted. Gently fold 1/4 of the flour into the egg mixture with a large rubber spatula, folding just until the flour has been incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour three more times, adding the melted butter with the last addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sides of the cake have begun to separate from the edges of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then invert it on to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes one cake

Frittata with Onions, Potatoes, Spinach and Cheese

Eggs are underrated as a dinner item. You really can’t get a better bargain in terms of nutritional value. They’re also easy to make. Most people always have some in the fridge. They’re filling. They’re tasty. They’re versatile — not only can you make them several different ways all by themselves, but you can add a lot of stuff to them for omelets, frittatas and fancy things like Eggs Benedict.  Eggs are also a good go-to food if you are going to be fasting or going on a diet. Because they satisfy but don’t make you feel overstuffed and thinking about your stomach.  Ed and I have eggs occasionally for dinner. Recently I had a leftover baked potato and some spinach that was just about to wilt in the refrigerator, so I used them to make a frittata. I toasted some bread to go with it. I served some mango juice. In less than 30 minutes dinner was ready.            Frittata with Onions, Potatoes, Spinach and Cheese      1 medium baking potato  5 large eggs  3 tablespoons milk, cream or dairy sour cream  1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  1-1/2 tablespoons butter  1 medium onion, chopped  1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach  1/2 cup grated cheese such as Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan or a combination        Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the potato for about one hour or until tender. Remove the inside flesh to a bowl, crumble it slightly with a fork and set it aside to let cool slightly (or let the potato cool, peel and dice the insides). Lower the oven heat to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs and milk together, stir in the parsley and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until it has softened. Add the potato and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly crispy, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally. Pour in the eggs and turn the heat to low. Scatter the cheese on top. Stir once or twice, then cook undisturbed for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom has set. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the eggs are set.  Makes 2-3 servings      

Eggs are underrated as a dinner item. You really can’t get a better bargain in terms of nutritional value. They’re also easy to make. Most people always have some in the fridge. They’re filling. They’re tasty. They’re versatile — not only can you make them several different ways all by themselves, but you can add a lot of stuff to them for omelets, frittatas and fancy things like Eggs Benedict.

Eggs are also a good go-to food if you are going to be fasting or going on a diet. Because they satisfy but don’t make you feel overstuffed and thinking about your stomach.

Ed and I have eggs occasionally for dinner. Recently I had a leftover baked potato and some spinach that was just about to wilt in the refrigerator, so I used them to make a frittata. I toasted some bread to go with it. I served some mango juice. In less than 30 minutes dinner was ready.

 

 

 

Frittata with Onions, Potatoes, Spinach and Cheese

 

1 medium baking potato

5 large eggs

3 tablespoons milk, cream or dairy sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach

1/2 cup grated cheese such as Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan or a combination

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the potato for about one hour or until tender. Remove the inside flesh to a bowl, crumble it slightly with a fork and set it aside to let cool slightly (or let the potato cool, peel and dice the insides). Lower the oven heat to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs and milk together, stir in the parsley and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until it has softened. Add the potato and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly crispy, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally. Pour in the eggs and turn the heat to low. Scatter the cheese on top. Stir once or twice, then cook undisturbed for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom has set. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the eggs are set.

Makes 2-3 servings

 

 

Shakshuka

I like breakfast but don’t usually get the opportunity to eat the kind I would like (unless I am on vacation). I mean not only delicious food that takes more than 40 seconds to put together but also more time to sit and enjoy the meal, the surroundings and hopefully good company. Or maybe read a newspaper, enjoy the scenery.  Stuff like that.  So what I do is make breakfast for dinner, when there’s more time to relax and actually enjoy what I’m eating. When I can sit down at the table and use real dishes, not stand at the sink scooping yogurt from a plastic container.  And when I say breakfast for dinner I don’t mean cheerios and milk or a doughnut and coffee or frozen waffles.  I mean something like shakshuka. Peppers and eggs. An Israeli specialty made with sauteed tomatoes, onions and lots of red hot chili pepper. After this “salsa” cooks and softens you break eggs on top, cover the pan a little longer until the eggs are steamed done. I like this dish sprinkled with salt and zatar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). I love when the egg yolks are still runny and the rich, dark yellow liquid oozes into those hot vegetables.   Perfection. Rich and hot. Feisty. Filling.  Perfection. For breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.      Shakshuka      1/4 cup olive oil  1 medium onion, chopped  1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped  2 small habanero or other chili peppers ,  deseeded and minced  1 large garlic clove, minced  6–8 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped  1 tablespoon minced fresh basil  1 tablespoon lemon juice  8 large eggs  3/4 teaspoon zatar  Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and habanero peppers. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice, stir, cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are very soft and saucelike. Crack the eggs into a small bowl one at a time then transfer each one next to the other over the vegetables. Cover the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes or until the eggs are set but yolks are still slightly runny. Sprinkle with zatar. Serve each person 2 eggs and some of the vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

I like breakfast but don’t usually get the opportunity to eat the kind I would like (unless I am on vacation). I mean not only delicious food that takes more than 40 seconds to put together but also more time to sit and enjoy the meal, the surroundings and hopefully good company. Or maybe read a newspaper, enjoy the scenery.

Stuff like that.

So what I do is make breakfast for dinner, when there’s more time to relax and actually enjoy what I’m eating. When I can sit down at the table and use real dishes, not stand at the sink scooping yogurt from a plastic container.

And when I say breakfast for dinner I don’t mean cheerios and milk or a doughnut and coffee or frozen waffles.

I mean something like shakshuka. Peppers and eggs. An Israeli specialty made with sauteed tomatoes, onions and lots of red hot chili pepper. After this “salsa” cooks and softens you break eggs on top, cover the pan a little longer until the eggs are steamed done. I like this dish sprinkled with salt and zatar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). I love when the egg yolks are still runny and the rich, dark yellow liquid oozes into those hot vegetables. 

Perfection. Rich and hot. Feisty. Filling.

Perfection. For breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.

 

Shakshuka

 

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped

2 small habanero or other chili peppers, deseeded and minced

1 large garlic clove, minced

6–8 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon zatar

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and habanero peppers. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice, stir, cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are very soft and saucelike. Crack the eggs into a small bowl one at a time then transfer each one next to the other over the vegetables. Cover the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes or until the eggs are set but yolks are still slightly runny. Sprinkle with zatar. Serve each person 2 eggs and some of the vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

Egg Salad — My Go-To Staple

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Egg Salad — My Go-To Staple

The kids are coming for the holiday weekend, so I’ve just made some egg salad. There’s always egg salad in my fridge. It’s like having salt and pepper in the cabinet, a no-brainer nibble. I make egg salad because everyone eats it. On a sandwich or crackers or cucumber slices or just plain on the plate. For lunch or as a snack or even for breakfast. 

Egg salad is my all-purpose go-to dish.

My son-in-law Jesse teases me about it. He rolls his eyes when he sees the fresh batch in the fridge. But then he takes it out and has some. If there weren’t any egg salad there he’d be upset that something was wrong.

I’ve tasted all sorts of egg salad over the years. My mother made it with onion and sometimes cooked potato. That was delicious. I’ve tasted egg salad with fresh dill. That’s good too. And there have been tastes of egg salad with olive, tuna, salmon, cooked peas and carrots and so on.

All good. But not plain old egg salad. I am an egg salad purist. I like it plain and always make it the same way. People say they like it because it’s dry, not overly loaded with mayonnaise — I use a microplane to crush the hard cooked eggs (you use less mayo that way). The only thing I change is the dish I serve it in. 

Everyone loves my egg salad, which is basically this: 

Egg Salad

  • 8 hard cooked eggs
  • 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard if you must

Crush the eggs using the finest grater possible (microplane is best) into a bowl. Add 2-1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, season with salt, pepper (and mustard if you like it) and mix with a fork. Add slightly more mayonnaise if the egg crumbles don’t hold together.

Makes 4 servings

Asparagus and Feta Frittata

When I’m developing recipes for an article I’m writing I need to experiment, so my family gets to be the guinea pigs (also my neighbors and friends and sometimes any repairman who happens to be in the house). 
 This past weekend, being Mother’s Day and all, my children and grandchildren were here so I tried this frittata recipe on them and it got good reviews. It makes a good hors d’oeuvre if you cut it into slim slices, but can also be a good vegetarian dinner item. I like it hot but it’s also good at room temperature and even cold. 
 Asparagus and Feta Frittata 
 12 medium asparagus spears 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 1 medium onion, chopped 
 8 large eggs, beaten 
 2 tablespoons milk 
 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
 2 tablespoons butter 
 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 
 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
 freshly ground black pepper to taste 
 Preheat the oven broiler with the rack about 6-inches from the heat. Cut the tips from the asparagus and set them aside. Cut the remaining part of the spear into 2-inch chunks and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cut asparagus spears and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and cook for another minute. Remove the vegetables and set aside. Mix the eggs, milk and parsley in a bowl. Heat the butter in the saute pan. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, return the vegetables to the pan. Scatter the feta and Parmesan cheeses on top. Pour in the egg mixture and turn the heat to low. Stir once or twice then cook undisturbed for about 8 minutes or until the bottom has set and is golden brown. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for up to a minute or until the top of the frittata is puffed and golden. Season to taste with black pepper. Makes 4 servings

When I’m developing recipes for an article I’m writing I need to experiment, so my family gets to be the guinea pigs (also my neighbors and friends and sometimes any repairman who happens to be in the house).

This past weekend, being Mother’s Day and all, my children and grandchildren were here so I tried this frittata recipe on them and it got good reviews. It makes a good hors d’oeuvre if you cut it into slim slices, but can also be a good vegetarian dinner item. I like it hot but it’s also good at room temperature and even cold.

Asparagus and Feta Frittata

12 medium asparagus spears

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

8 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven broiler with the rack about 6-inches from the heat. Cut the tips from the asparagus and set them aside. Cut the remaining part of the spear into 2-inch chunks and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cut asparagus spears and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and cook for another minute. Remove the vegetables and set aside. Mix the eggs, milk and parsley in a bowl. Heat the butter in the saute pan. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, return the vegetables to the pan. Scatter the feta and Parmesan cheeses on top. Pour in the egg mixture and turn the heat to low. Stir once or twice then cook undisturbed for about 8 minutes or until the bottom has set and is golden brown. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for up to a minute or until the top of the frittata is puffed and golden. Season to taste with black pepper. Makes 4 servings

Shakshouka - Peppers n' Eggs for Meatless Monday

Just because there’s a Meatless Monday doesn’t mean your only alternative at dinner is a plateful of boring steamed vegetables.

The idea of eating “meatless” for an entire day started in World War 1 and continued through the Second World War as an effort to ration meat to make it available to the troops. Anyone growing up just after WW11 has heard about the ration stamps; my Mom always talked about how difficult it was to get meat back then. But she was a creative and good cook so she’d make macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and tomato sauce, potato omelets and other wonderful dinners when she couldn’t buy meat.

She continued those meals occasionally even through the 1950s and 60s. No one complained. When food tastes good you don’t complain whether there’s meat in it or not. In fact, you don’t miss the meat.

Today we’ve latched onto the Meatless Monday idea as a health matter. Americans typically eat too much meat so giving it up for a day could make us healthier.

Still, for people who love to eat well, the best reason to cook any dish is because it tastes delicious. Try this meatless recipe for Peppers and Eggs. It’s from my book, Hip Kosher. It’s a quickie version of Shakshouka, an Israeli dish that has stewed tomatoes and peppers and then you cook an egg right on top of the vegetables, in the same pan. This dish is spicy, filling and easy to cook. Add a piece of pita or chunk of bread and you’re done with dinner. It could be preceded by cold soup or with a salad.

The recipe calls for zatar as a final seasoning; zatar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture. You can make Shakshouka without it, but zatar is so tasty, why not get a jar and use it for vinaigrette dressing or on top of chicken and so on and so on?

Peppers and Eggs

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped

2 small habanero or other chili peppers, deseeded and chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

6-8 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon zatar

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the tomatoes, basil and lemon juice, stir, cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are very soft and sauce-like. Crack the eggs into a bowl one at a time (to make sure they are okay), then transfer each one to the pan over the vegetables. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the eggs are set but are still slightly runny. Sprinkle with zatar. Serve each person 2 eggs with some of the vegetables. Makes 4 servings

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Guacamole and Piperade for World Cup June 11, 2010

Years ago Americans barely knew about soccer. My kids played on school teams on the weekend, but it wasn’t a TV sport.

Now the World Cup is news and everyone’s talking about it. There are official Soccer Bars all over the country so you can watch with other fans. Go to www.bigsoccer.com for details about events in your area.

If you’re home and entertaining though, here are some snacks to make for the first game, played today,  June 11th. I am going to match the food with at least one of the teams playing each day.

First game between South Africa and Mexico. This is an easy one. Make Guacamole!

Here’s a recipe:

Guacamole

1 habanero pepper

1 medium tomato

2 medium ripe avocados

2-3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

salt to taste

chips

Discard the stem, white parts and seeds of the pepper. Chop the pepper into small pieces. Chop the tomato into small pieces and add to the pepper. Peel the avocados, discard the pits and add the flesh in chunks into the bowl with the pepper and tomatoes. Mash the avocado, incorporating the pepper and tomato into the mixture. Add lime juice and some salt. Taste and add more juice or salt as needed. Serve with chips. Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Afternoon match is between France and Uruguay. For that you could make Piperade with Eggs, spicy, delicious and filling. Serve it with crusty French bread of course.

Piperade with Eggs

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 green bell peppers, deseeded and chopped

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

5 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

cayenne pepper

8 eggs

1 cup chopped ham

salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep sautepan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with parsley and cayenne pepper to taste. Beat the eggs and pour them over the vegetables. Cook, stirring gently until the eggs have the consistency of scrambled eggs. Scatter the ham on top. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve. Makes 4 servings

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