Shakshuka with Eggplant and Cauliflower

single skillet shakshuka

My go-to on a busy weeknight is always breakfast for dinner. There’s not much else that’s as simple and satisfying than fried eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon. But that’s not necessarily the healthiest meal to end the day with. I’ve been completely obsessed with middle eastern food lately so I decided to put a spicy spin on our usual Monday night meal.  Shakshuka is typically served for breakfast in Israel and is a great way to start the day with a kick. Eggs are baked in a spicy tomato sauce flavored with cumin and turmeric and then scooped up with warm pitas. My version is a little more on the hearty side and includes sauteed cauliflower, egg plant, and serrano peppers simmered in a rich sauce of San Marzano tomatoes with a touch of feta. What Max and I enjoyed most about this meal was how fun it was to eat. We simply plopped the skillet onto our coffee table and dug in while watching the new X-Men. Monday nights don’t get much better than that!

shakshuka with eggplant and cauliflowerShakshuka with Eggplant and Cauliflower

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup of diced cauliflower florets
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4 oz feta
  • 4-6 free range organic eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley
  • warm pitas for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add eggplant, cauliflower, and onion. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are softened and the onion is transluscent. Add the diced pepper, cumin, and turmeric. Saute for 5 more minutes. Add garlic and stir.

2. Add the tomatoes to the veggie mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in half of the feta. Taste the sauce and season accordingly. Crack each egg into individual bowls. Use the back of a wooden spoon to make a slight indentation in the sauce for each of the eggs. Carefully slide each egg into place. Once all of the eggs are added, carefully place the skillet onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake the eggs for 8-12 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are firm.

3. Remove the skillet from the oven and sprinkle the remaining feta on top. Garnish with parsley. Serve with warm pitas.

shakshuka with eggplant and cauliflower

The sauteed eggplant and cauliflower spiced with cumin and turmeric provide the foundation for the spicy tomato sauce.

shakshuka sauceThe hearty tomato sauce is ready for eggs.

shakshuka with eggplant and caulifower

Breakfast for dinner will never be the same!

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The Ultimate Spicy Bloody Mary

I’m already thinking about your weekend, even though it’s only Thursday. I’m thinking about a boozy Sunday brunch with your girlfriends where you obsess over your latest Home Goods purchase (I’m not the only one who does this, right?!). You will serve these eggs with these pancakes. Your girlfriends will love them. I’m sorry for coming off a little bossy. It’s just that I live for boozy Sunday brunch and I want you to have the best Sunday Funday possible. My Spicy Bloody Mary recipe will do just that.

I’ve never been a sweet cocktail girl. Fruit juice of any kind makes my stomach very unhappy and grenadine makes me cringe. I tend to drink more refreshing and savory cocktails than anything. If anyone were to ask me what my absolute favorite cocktail on the planet is, I would tell them it’s the Spicy Bloody Mary from The Smokey Barque in Frankfort, Illinois. It’s perfection in a glass. I even order it when I go there for dinner, it’s that good. At The Smokey Barque they infuse their vodka in-house with jalapenos, lemons, and limes which makes for the most perfectly delightful spicy kick. In my version, I spice it up with the addition of horseradish and tabasco sauce. This way, you can control how spicy they are without skimping on liquor.

My tips for Boozy Perfection

As far as toppings go, I’m kind of obsessed with these Bloody Mary pickles from Archer Farms. I’m not a fan of super briny Bloody Marys and this eliminates that. I also think bacon is pretty essential but maybe that’s just me. But whatever you do, please don’t feel like you have to put a giant celery stalk in your drink. No one eats it and it will just get thrown out. There are 2 factors that contribute to the perfect Bloody Mary, and they are the quality of the vodka and the amount of ice. When you’re purchasing vodka to make in a specialty cocktail, go the extra mile and buy Grey Goose. It really is worth it. If you buy cheap liquor your cocktail will taste cheap. Another key factor is the amount of ice. Bloody Marys taste better with a lot of ice. They go down much smoother when they’re icy cold.

pickles

ice

The Perfect Amount of Ice


ingredients 3

The Ultimate Spicy Bloody Mary

Yields 1 Serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a lime cut into wedges
  • Lawrys seasoning salt, for rimming the glass
  • plenty of ice
  • 1 and 1/2 shots of Grey Goose
  • dash of celery salt
  • 2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 shakes of Tabasco sauce
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of horseradish
  • 1 cup of V8 tomato juice
  • Bloody Mary pickles (for garnish)
  • bacon strips (for garnish)

1. Rub a lime wedge over the rim of a glass. Dip the rim into a plate sprinkled with Lawrys to line the glass. Very carefully fill the glass 3/4 of the way full with ice. Pour vodka, celery salt, Worcestershire, Tabasco, black pepper, horseradish, and the rest of lime, onto the ice. Then stir well. You want the ingredients to coat the ice.

2. Very carefully pour the tomato juice into the glass and stir some more. Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy your weekend!

rim 2

goose

Grey Goose is even better if it’s a housewarming present from your friend Joe ❤

finished drink 2

Apple & Oat Muffins

There’s something about fall mornings that make it so hard to get out of bed. The crisp air and colorful trees make me want to stay under the blankets all day with the windows open. Sometimes, the only thing that can get me out of bed is the promise of a good breakfast. If I don’t have time to make eggs and toast, I’ll pull one of these gorgeous muffins out of the freezer and pop  it in the microwave. The tender apples, crunchy walnuts, and chewy raisins combine with whole wheat flour and oats to give me the burst of energy I need to get my day going. I’m a big fan of starting my day off with something healthy in my belly. It sets the precedent for good choices to follow. My 9 year old sister told me that she wants to eat these muffins everyday so I can assure you that your kids will love these delicious fall-y, apple-y muffins as much as my sister.

ingredients

 

Apple & Oat Muffins

Yields 16 Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 large green apple, chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine whole wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the chopped apple, raisins, and walnuts to the dry ingredients and coat with the flour and oats. This will ensure that the apples will stay suspended in the muffin instead of sinking to the bottom.

2. Add the beaten egg, milk, and apple sauce to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is moistened. Do not overmix!

3. Pour 1/4 cup portions into greased or paper lined cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

4. Muffins will keep in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for 6 months.

 

muffins 1

 

The King of Pancakes

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s disease and was pretty bummed out about all of the things she can no longer eat. I of course felt terrible because we’re both such foodies. I made a joke about how I would eat bacon with every meal and justify it by saying that it’s gluten free. That conversation is what inspired this post. I couldn’t imagine living a life without the occasional short stack of fluffy pancakes.

Since no pancake breakfast would be complete without maple syrup and bacon, I thought I’d make it easier for you and just combine the two. You can thank me later for all of the time I saved you now that you don’t have to dip your bacon in syrup anymore.  We’re also going to top our pancakes with bananas because that’s what Elvis would have wanted.

Since I know almost nothing about gluten free cooking, I picked up this really great pancake mix made by Bob’s Red Mill (this is not a paid advertisement. I don’t know Bob and he doesn’t know me).  I’m sure that if my little grocery store carries it in their rather pathetically tiny gluten free aisle then yours does too. I doctored up the mix a bit by adding cinnamon and dark rum to give it a little kick. I was amazed at how fluffy and tender the pancakes turned out. I was afraid that they would taste “healthy” but they tasted a lot like Bisquick. The only thing I missed about regular pancake mix was the saltiness. Bisquick has an indistinguishable salty quality that balances out the sweetness. I think it’s essential to a quality pancake. However, once I tasted it with the bacon maple syrup, there was no need for added salt.

 

ingredients

Gluten Free Banana Pancakes with Bacon Maple Syrup

Serves 2

Bacon Maple Syrup

Ingredients

2 strips of thick sliced smoked bacon

1/2 cup real maple syrup, don’t use that fake stuff!

reserved bacon drippings

Preparation

1. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it’s very crispy. You don’t want there to be any soft sections. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate and blot away the grease.

2. Spoon off half of the bacon drippings and discard. Pour half a cup (or more) of maple syrup into the pan you made the bacon in. Stir the bacon drippings and syrup together and keep the heat as low as it can go.

3. Once the bacon is cool, dice the bacon and stir into the syrup mixture. After the pancakes are ready, pour the syrup into a gravy bowl or syrup canister and serve.

Gluten Free Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of your favorite GF pancake mix. I like Bob’s Red Mill

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t dark rum

1 Large Egg

3/4 c milk. I used buttermilk because I’m old school, but milk alternatives will also work.

2 bananas

Pam nonstick spray, for greasing the skillet

1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Vigorously whisk the rum, egg, and milk in a separate bowl. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are wet. I felt like my mix was too dry so I added 2 additional tablespoons of buttermilk.

2. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and turn the flame on medium-high. Once the skillet is heated, use a dry 1/4 cup measure to scoop out pancake batter. Flip the pancakes when the edges are bubbly and the bottoms are golden brown. Please note that it is completely normal for  gluten free pancakes to take longer to cook than traditional pancakes.

3. Once the pancakes are all cooked, stack them as high as you like and top with copious amounts of bananas and bacon maple syrup. Enjoy being sinful while still maintaing your gluten free lifestyle!

mix

The Perfect Consistency

pancakes 1

My Favorite Breakfast

When I was a little kid, I used to hate breakfast. I would always argue with my parents when they would make me eat cereal before school. Well, I still hate cereal, but I love breakfast. It has quickly turned into my favorite meal of the day. I love making myself a really special breakfast on the weekends. It always feels like such a treat to eat eggs instead of a cold yogurt. I first saw this recipe in Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris when I was in high school and I’ve been tweaking it for years. By the time I was in college, I had perfected it. This dish feels so luxurious and the presentation is so beautiful. It would be perfect to serve guests at an Easter brunch. Best of all, it’s so simple to prepare. The first time you make it, you’ll be sad you’ve gone all of these years without it. The eggs taste so rich from the small amounts of cream and butter, you’ll be surprised at how little you actually need. This dish is also easily customizable. Feel free to use whichever seasoning and cheese pairing you like. I’ve made it with Lawry’s seasoning salt and cheddar cheese, which was amazing. I’m partial to the Lake Shore Drive Seasoning from the Spice House in Chicago. It is by far the best seasoning blend I’ve ever had in my life (this is not a paid advertisement from The Spice House. I’m just obsessed with them and they don’t even know I exist). You can buy it here. The most important thing to keep in mind about this recipe is that the timing is very important. I’ve overcooked my eggs far too many times than I’d like to admit. If you follow this recipe closely, it will turn out beautifully!

Ingredients 1

Herb Broiled Eggs

Serves 1

  • 2 eggs, the fresher the better
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 1 T butter 1/4 t of your favorite seasoning blend
  • 2 T of your favorite cheese
  • toast, for dipping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Special equipment A small, shallow baking dish, such as a gratin dish.

1. Preheat broiler to a medium heat. I set mine at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour cream and seasoning into the baking dish. Then cube butter and scatter in the dish, as pictured above.

2. Carefully crack the 2 eggs without breaking the yolk, and place in a small bowl near the oven.

3. Put the dish with the cream and butter in the broiler for 3 minutes, or until bubbly. Put the bread in the toaster.

4. Once the cream and butter are visibly bubbly, carefully slide the eggs into the dish. Do not break the yolk! Broil for 2 minutes, or until the whites are just set, as pictured below.

5. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil for another minute. Carefully remove the dish from the broiler and serve with a towel or pot holder underneath. Serve with toast and enjoy your weekend!

cooked eggs  You want the cream and butter to be bubbly and the whites to be firm before you add the cheese.

finished 2