Shakshouka

So I made some Shakshouka

Awww yeah….

Basically, it’s a eggs poached in a fiery tomato and pepper sauce. But let’s hear about the dish from the always-reputable Wikipedia:

From Wikipedia:

“Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.[1] It is believed to have Algerian and Tunisian origins

Shakshouka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews.[3] In Libya, Shakshouka is a traditional breakfast meal.[citation needed]

In Israel, the dish has been said to challenge hummus and falafel as a national favourite, especially in the winter.[4] According to some food historians, the dish was invented in the Ottoman Empire, spreading throughout the Middle East and Spain, where it is often served with spicy sausage. Another belief is that it hails from Yemen, where it is served with zhug, a hot green paste.”

Anyways, I basically adapted my recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s. Perhaps I ought to say, I used it as a guideline, because as usual, once I start cooking, I do what I want (Meghan hates that.)

Start by mincing your garlic and dicing your onions and peppers. 1/2 an onion, three to four jalapenos or five to six anaheims, seeded. Don’t skimp. I used 2 jalapenos (It was all I had. Thanks Gena!) and it definitely could have been hotter. They’ll mellow in the pot. Brown all this up with two TB or so of olive oil.

Next, and yes, I’m doing this step-by-step…

Add a bit of tomato paste. I don’t remember if Smitten’s recipe had this, but the aromatics seemed lonely…

Then…

Then add your freshly diced and seeded ‘maters.

Simmer.

Simmer damn you! Once it looks nice and saucy….

Add Dem Eggs!

Dem Eggs. Or one a dem, anyway.

Use your spoon or what-have-you to create a little hollow for each egg, then gently crack into the sauce, and cover, simmering gently.

Dem Eggs! Again!

You’ll simmer ’til the whites harden up. While you wait, toast your pita. Or in my case, miniature pizza crusts that are the closest thing you have to pitas…

MMMM-Mmmmmhh! So close to a pita, I can’t tell the difference.

Ahh, and your eggs should be set…

Lookee– They are set!

Now, spoon some of that sauce over the whites and carefully scoop your eggs out with a slotted spoon. Or a non-slotted one, if you like. I don’t care what you do, they’re your eggs. Then, to serve, place them on a plate and surround with more of that wonderful sauce. Finally, add diced parsley and crumbled feta cheese to garnish. The feta doesn’t taste all ridiculously strong in this dish, so feel free to go to town. It should look like the first photo.

Yep, this one.

Eat immediately, sopping up excess sauce and unset egg yolks with the pita. You could cook your egg yolks until set if you want, but why? Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Salsa time!

From the top, we’ve got saucy salsa, corn salsa, and pico style salsa.

As you may have noticed in a previous post, we have fresh tomatoes from our garden. Due to a combination of drought conditions, lack of a hose and laziness, we haven’t had too much luck with the other denizens of our garden, but tomatoes we’ve got.Among these are a fairly good amount of Roma-type tomatoes for me to make sauces and salsa with. And Meghan has been bugging me to get on it and make some before the ‘maters go bad…but it’s been so freakin’ hot!

This morning it wasn’t though. I got my motivation together and made three kinds of salsa, as shown above. I use a handmill type chopper to cut up my ingredients, it’s sort-of a like a small food processor with only one blade and a hand crank to operate it.

I quartered onions and the tomatoes and cut the stems off of the pitifully few anaheim peppers from the garden. Tomatoes I cut the stems from and halved or quartered.

For the corn salsa, I mixed frozen corn with fresh chopped cilantro, some of the tomatoes, some canned green chilis, some diced jalapenos (unfortunately, from a jar), salt, pepper. and lime.

For the saucy salsa (I don’t really know what to call it, but it comes out like a salsa you might buy at a store in a jar, just much fresher), I added a can of Rotel tomato and green chili sauce, diced canned green chilis, the rest of the anaheims, more jalapenos, garlic from a jar, and the salt, pepper, and lime again. This was all simmered on the stove for about half an hour.

Finally, for the pico de gallo style salsa, I used the same ingredients as the saucy salsa, but omitted the Rotel sauce. When I finished running it through the mill, it was very green (and probably still really tasty), but I wanted some more tomatoes, so I cut up a  few more fresh ones (They weren’t quite as ripe as the others I used, but still, they were good.)

Overall, my favorite was the saucy salsa. It gained a bit of sweetness from the cooking. I’m not a huge fan of corn salsa for dipping, so that one’s standing may improve as I make some tacos or something to put it on. They were all awesome, and all better than salsas without garden-fresh stuff in them. Next season, I’ll improve my gardening technique and will have even more to work with.

We got ‘maters!

Our harvest in its “ripening spot.”

We’ve got a garden this year. We tilled a 25X5 foot plot behind our house and planted it with assorted vegetables.We have had some…setbacks, especially one with a rotted out head of cabbage that sort of surprised me. It’s been hot and dry here too, and we have no way to easily water our garden. However, the tomatoes have been doing pretty good.

Don, my father-in-law, says, “Be sure to pick ’em right when they first start to turn orange, otherwise, the squirrels will get ’em!”

I was skeptical, but I defer to Don, because, A) These things ripen up super fast and taste amazing, and B) One that got left on maybe a day too long had a nice little squirrelly bite taken out of it. Bastards.

Anyways Meghan and I got home last night from a drive and as we’re walking to the house, she shouts, “We’ve got ‘maters!” Sure enough, we had plenty that were ripe or near-ripe. Between the two of us, we could barely carry them all back to the house. I asked her to be my stylist for a few photos. The one on top I set up, this one is hers. (She admits to kind-of having a fetish over nice glassware and bowls).

Meghan got one of her favorite bowls for this, a wedding present. I’ll serve something up in a torn piece of cardboard if it’s relatively clean. That doesn’t fly with her.

Of course, since we were taking pictures of something on a table, we had the usual visitor. I took his picture after I finished with the tomatoes. Swear to God, I couldn’t get rid of the little booger when I wanted to shoot the tomatoes, but when I try to get him up there, he wants no part of it. Cats.

“I only do this to vex you” – Eddy. And really, all cats.