Archive for May, 2013

When we lived in Pittsburgh there was (briefly) an Israeli restaurant in Squirrel Hill that we went to a few times.  While that restaurant no longer exists, I had the chance to try a dish that I had never seen before.  A fried egg in tomato sauce?  Seriously?  Recently, I had a craving for this dish.  I sought to try to make it from scratch at home.  B suggested adding ground beef to try to get a chili type feel to it.  I was pretty happy with the outcome but I would likely reduce the amount of meat or increase the amount of the tomato component I use in the future.  It ended up being a little too meat heavy.

I made this dish about 3-4 weeks ago so my comments about it are…limited.  Hopefully I’ll make it again soon and provide some updates and pictures.  Share your experiences if you get a chance to make it!

Shakshuka [Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce]
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup olive oil
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped*
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Approx. 1 lb. lean ground beef
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsps ground cumin (I doubled spices because of including beef)
1-2 tbsp paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chiles and onions to oil.  Cook until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add ground beef and brown.
  4. After beef is browned, add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft.
  5. Crush tomatoes with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water
  6. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Season sauce with salt.
  7. Crack each egg into small bowl to aid in poaching.
  8. Add eggs to sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface.
  9. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes.
  10. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk.
  11. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.

* You could also use 3-5 Anaheim chiles instead, 5 would provide a good kick.

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So. I’m a terrible food blogger.  Terrible. And here are some reasons why:

1) I lost all motivation for food creativity
2) Went.  eehhh f**k it, its too much work

Most of this is the result of the changes that have occurred in the past year since I last posted a recipe.  I stopped posting because, at first, I was teaching a summer course and simultaneously preparing for a big move to…well at the time we had no idea.  We officially moved out of Pittsburgh July 15 of last year.  It wasn’t until about a week later that we realized that we would be heading off to Philadelphia for B to start his post doc position at the University of Pennsylvania.  Since our move we’ve been very blessed and lucky to have a wonderful new place, be surrounded by our wonderful friends and family, and receive wonderful news from them (babies..they be a comin’).  But in the process I have focused on my work, my life, and things outside of being creative with food and food items.  But, the time is returning where I need my hobby back.  Sure, I’ve made some awesome things in the past year (I’m looking at you boeuf bourguignon) and some terrible things (ask B about the pizza I made a few weeks ago of the hoagie rolls I attempted to make last week from scratch…they were more like matzoh than roll) but just failed to document both my successes and failures.  In all aspects of life we see successes and failures and its important to see how these failures are important to make me/you a better cook, person, etc.  So, on that note, I’m focusing this post on transformations.  Not just my own in the past year since I last posted but also how its important to transform things in our everyday lives.  To make the bad good, make lemonade out of lemons, etc.

So that is how this recipe started.  I sought to transform the bad and make something good.

I traveled to San Francisco to go to an annual conference to present some of my current work.  Before I left, I prepared a number of “in a bag” meals for B to just throw into our slow cooker since he would be swamped with all that he had to do.  One of those meals was this recipe for pot roast.  So first, another transformation note: I started eating meat again Memorial Day weekend 2012.  This is important because I messed up something I’ve made before: meat.  Although I’ve made pot roast before, I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe (found here).  That came out really, really good.  This recipe, however, was terrible. B only had a little of it while I was away and found it too tomato paste heavy.  Given that we had this big batch of pot roast, complete with meat and potatoes, what’s a girl to do so that I don’t waste food.  I decided to make meat and potato burritos.

So, I started with something that looked like this:

Pot Roast (Before)

What I first strained the liquid out of the pot roast and veggies.  I next took the meat out and shredded it up to kind of get that carnitas aspect for my burritos.  I did this using two forks and just pulling the meat apart.

Shredded meatNext, I chopped up some peppers and onions and added those, along with the pot roast vegetables, to a large saute pan.  I just let them cook up together.  I then moved on to taking the pot roast towards the tex-mex flavor side.  This was accomplished by flavoring the vegetable mixture with about 2 tbsp cumin, 1  tsp cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and about 1 tsp of salt and pepper.  This was adjusted according to my taste after adding in the initial amount (I honestly am not sure how much it ended up being since it was mostly to taste.

IMAG0366Using many of the same seasonings (shown here are cayenne, garlic powder, minced onion, salt, cumin, and chili powder) I made my own taco seasoning mix (many recipes for this can be found by using google or another search engine).  Using the liquid I removed from the pot roast at the start, I added the seasoning to the liquid.  I then added the shredded beef.


I let that simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the meat was flavorful and well coated.  While that was simmering, I preheated my oven to 350 F.  Once the meat was done, I took tortillas, filled them with cheese, meat, and the vegetable mixture, then wrapped them into burritos and put them in a baking dish.  I repeated until I ran out of tortillas.  I then topped the burritos with jarred salsa and cheddar cheese.

Viola, transformed pot roast.  B went into it with a “I’m skeptical about this” attitude but left being pleasantly surprised.

So this begs the question of, what else that starts out bad can be transformed into something good?

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