Shakshuka – Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

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Food trend alert: shakshuka. I’ve seen this traditionally Middle Eastern egg dish popping up everywhere. I first laid eyes on it on Instagram; someone leaning over the stove, wearing an apron, cracking eggs into a pan of tomato sauce. I was insta-trigued – what was this mystery dish? Then I spotted it again, this time on Plated’s Instagram feed, and finally learned what the dish actually was. Then, a girlfriend forwarded me this New York Time’s article, saying that she and her boyfriend had made it over the weekend (while reading the Financial Times and drinking mimosas – so posh). I was convinced – had to try it. Because I hate following recipes, I made my own version.

Since I was in tomato overload last week, I had a low bar for giving this recipe a try – what else was I to do with all of that tomato sauce? I instantly realized that the hype was real. This dish is easy to prepare, hearty, and can hold up at any time of day. I made it for dinner last night and it was great. I have no idea what a traditional Shakshuka chef would say about this recipe, but it worked for me. (According to Wikipedia, variations of this dish are popular in Moroccan, Algerian, Israeli, Egyptian, Libya, and Tunisian cuisines. As described in the New York Times article, it’s often served at Passover.) The feta added a saltiness to the tomato sauce that was countered perfectly by the cilantro, and the eggs melted in my mouth since they were poached slowly in the sauce. YUM.

As proven by it’s popularity in many different cuisines, this dish is easy to adapt based on your taste. You could add some spices, like cinnamon or cumin, to the tomato sauce and get a totally different flavor profile. Add some different vegetables to the tomato sauce, or try a different cheese – there are all sorts of options here to customize this to your preference. Then have your friends over and impress them with your new favorite dish. (Don’t forget the mimosas!)

Shakshuka – Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

Yield: 1 serving. Per Serving: $5.88, 362 calories, 13g fat, 27g carbs, 16g protein.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat up 1.5 cups of tomato sauce (I used my basic tomato sauce made with farm fresh heirloom tomatoes) in an oven proof saute pan (I used cast iron, but a stainless steel can work too). Use a smaller sized pan so the tomato sauce is at least half an inch deep and fills the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a smaller pan, double the recipe (the more, the merrier). When the sauce is warm and starts to bubble, crack two eggs into opposite sides of the pan Turn off the heat and top with 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it and take it out when the eggs are cooked to your liking (I like medium cooked yolks, so I took it out around 9 minutes). Let cool for 5-10 minutes, top with 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and serve with crusty bread or a toasted English muffin.

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Summer Corn Guacamole

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Over the summer I’ll put fresh corn in just about everything. Compared to canned or frozen corn, it’s basically a different vegetable – crisp, sweet, and juicy. When I’m home in Vermont, we find the best corn at a local farm stand on the side of the road. Payment is cash only, dropped in an old coffee can nestled among the fresh, perfectly misshapen squash and cucumbers. Here in Boston, I buy my corn in the grocery store. Although it’s not as fresh as it is in Vermont, it still beats the frozen or canned version.

This guacamole recipe is a great way to use leftover corn on the cob (if you have any, that is!). I also added a few stalks of celery I had in the fridge, which added the perfect amount of crunch. Mix up your guacamole by adding extra vegetables – bell peppers, tomatoes, or even carrots.

Summer Corn Guacamole

In a medium saucepan (wide enough to hold an ear of corn the long way), boil 1 inch of water. When the water is boiling, add 1 ear of corn (husks removed) and cover the pan. Steam, turning once, for 7 minutes. Set aside to cool when done. This is also a great way to use leftover corn on the cob.

Meanwhile, cut 2 avocados in half and remove the flesh – saving one pit. In a mixing bowl, combine avocado, ¼ cup diced red onion, 2 diced celery stalks, juice of 1 lime, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, a handful of chopped cilantro, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Using a large wooden spoon or a potato masher, mix ingredients together until it reaches your desired guacamole consistency.

When the corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and add to the guacamole mixture. Mix and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container with the avocado pit – it keeps the guacamole fresh and bright green.

Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: ¼ cup. Per Serving: $0.81, 88 calories, 7g fat, 7g carbs, 1.5g protein.