shakshuka o's

Sugar beet harvest is officially dunzo!!!!!!!!!! Eggboy can finally catch up on sleep, there’s a celebratory brisket in the oven, and I still have three entire seasons of Pretty Little Liars to watch, which means that harvest wasn’t nearly has long as it could have been. Last year they were still harvesting on October 20th so the fact that this year they finished on the 13th is reason to party extra hard. We’re having the whole crew over tonight for brisket, Mac and cheese, corn bread, live accordion music by Sheila, and the presentation for the award for whoever transported the last truck of beets from the field to the plant. Then E-boy will probably sleep until it’s time to go to the hockey game tomorrow night. 

Here’s a little recipe that is partially Eggboy’s invention! It’s a riff on the Shakshuka Couscous from Molly on the Range that was invented when I was trying to figure out if we should have Shakshuka or couscous for dinner one night and Eggboy just said the two words together as if they were one dish. It was the same tone in which he suggested the train wreck that was “chicken pot babka” only this time it actually sounded like a good idea. So I went with it and it turned out to be an awesome heartier take on Shakshuka, almost like one of those one pot pasta recipes that are all over the internet. And then when I was in Maine a couple of months ago demoing this dish at Stonewall Kitchen, my friend Jeff (the same Jeff who dragged me for Tahdig Shakshuka) was all why isn’t this actually Shakshuka O’s?? That’s way more fun. And suddenly I was transported back to my Hello Kitty days when the most amount of vegetables I’d eat in one meal would be the carrots and onions in an individually sized microwaveable chef boyardee cup. And the most amount of meat I’d eat would be the tiny meatballs therein... 

And so a very nostalgic dish was born! 

The only special ingredient you need here is large ring pasta, which occupies most pasta aisles I think. I’m sure small rings or stars would work (although I don’t think stars would have the correct mouthfeel), and I really wanted to track down that Manischewitz Hebrew letter pasta since my Hebrew lessons start today (!!!!!) but alas it was discontinued years ago. Sad trombone! This dish is so much fun to eat though, and perfect for rainy nights when you don't feel like going to the store because all of the ingredients are super easy to have on hand (like my endless tub of feta that should have expired months ago but hasn't yet). If you thought that spaghetti-o's was at the height of its tastiness, you clearly haven’t had it with a soft cooked egg mingling its way into the sauce, making it rich and creamy. And with cumin and feta and harissa and all of the other tasty additions that make shakshuka so special. Get on this you guys! Happy weekend!! 

shakshuka o's

makes 4 servings

ingredients

3 tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

kosher salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tb ground cumin

2 tsp harissa, or more to taste

1/2 tsp paprika

black pepper

crushed red pepper

1 tb tomato paste

1 can or carton (28 oz) chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

3/4 c large ring pasta

1/2 c vegetable stock

4 large eggs

a few handfuls of crumbled feta

a handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro or a mix

clues

in a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. add the onion, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. add the garlic, cumin, harissa, paprika, a good pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes and cook until it's all dreamy and smelly, about 2 minutes. stir in the tomato paste, then the chopped tomatoes and sugar. reduce the heat to low, stir in the pasta rings and broth, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

create 4 little wells and crack in your eggs. cover and simmer until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, begin checking at 5 minutes. sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and black pepper, drizzle the whole dish with olive oil, top with feta and herbs, and serve.


-yeh!

tahdig shakshuka

With the way that people talk about making tahdig, you’d think that they were talking about reading Ulysses or something. Not that I would really know for sure since I am about 100% positive that I will die without having read Ulysses but I’ve felt the size of it and I’ve heard Eggboy talk about it and at this moment in time that is the best comparison I can think of because both require time and patience, and 30% of the time, you fail. 

When you do succeed though you’re rewarded, of course. Not necessarily with fireworks and instagrammability, but with satisfaction and maybe some street cred?? They’re beasts. One would take me 10 years to finish, another, it turns out, you can do in an evening so long as you focus and have the right tools.

Tahdig is a Persian dish that consists of the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pot. It’s often flavored with saffron and can also be made with vegetables or bread. It is so good and I can’t believe it took me until 2017 to make it for the first time. I think I first heard about it from Naz at the Saveur awards back in 2014. I remember her talking about how much patience you need to make it and how exciting it is when it works. I love her post about Tahdig, where she compares it to a coy lover. Ok maybe that’s better than Ulysses. A while back in New York, a few friends attempted it for our Shabbat potluck but I remember them not being so satisfied with how it turned out. It’s just so hard to tell when the crispiness forms and then once you flip it out, I don’t think you can crisp it up anymore. In Berlin, Sophie and Xenia turned out like 12 perfect Tahdigs in a row, it was super human and they all looked like gorgeous yellow cakes destined to sop up short rib juices. Shortly thereafter I had a miniature tahdig at Zahav with their legendary braised lamb, and then finally it was time to make it at home. 

It was not a total failure but, you’ve seen my little stove coils, they can only heat so much and tahdig requires a very even heating element. So I tried it out in my mini cocottes and it worked for a few but then got fussy when I tried to make 30 of them for a dinner party. It was actually really traumatizing and I didn’t make tahdig for a long time after that. I kind of came to the conclusion that my go-to cast iron pots weren’t necessarily the right option for tahdig and started creeping around the internet for alternatives. Anytime tahdig would come up on my IG feed, I’d kind of stalk the account to see if they posted the pot they made it in…

And then a few months ago Alana started raving about her GreenPans and how nonsticky and easy to clean they were (I think she has become my new kitchenware curator btw), so when GreenPan got in touch to work on this post I figured I’d better at least try a Tahdig in one before making any decisions, so I did and guess what! I nailed it the first time. And the second, third, etc., etc. The coating on the pans is not only so nonsticky that the tahdig practically slides out of the pan and into my mouth, but it also heats so evenly that I can use their 12” pan on my 8” coil and still get an evenly yellow saffrony ghee-y crust. And it doesn’t contain the crusty nonstick stuff that peels off and kills u. I am hella sold. (the pan i'm using is part of their 10th anniversary set and it's on sale rn!) I know Alana likes making eggs in them and now that it’s fall I’d like to try making caramel for my apples in them but for now I’m just really glad to have filled the void in my life that was a perfect Tahdig pan.

Let’s talk about why this Tahdig is different from all other Tahdigs: In a shakshuka-inspired move, it’s got poached eggs all up in it. “Just because it has poached eggs doesn’t make it a shakshuka” wrote Jeff after I IG-ed it. It spurred a long argument that is still not over. He thinks it is more similar to Maqluba and that shakshuka requires a sauce. My argument was that even though most shakshukas have tomato sauce, shakshuka isn't required to have tomatoes or even a sauce (see: green shakshuka). darya said it might be similar to mirza ghasemi! which i've never had but sounds delicious. What do you think? I love shakshuka and I also love this dish and definitely feel like shakshuka doesn’t really need to have tomato sauce… but… tomato tomahto? 

This dish is crispy rice, eggs, and a party full of toppings. I basically just pulled a bunch of pretty things from my garden and threw them on top. I would def recommend topping this with at least pickled onions, fresh lemon juice, herbs, and tomatoes if you have them. Feta was also great! But you can really go wild and use whatever toppings you have on hand. This recipe makes a big batch and is perfect for a brunch party. And seriously with an even nonstick pan like this one, you can go confidently in the direction of tahdig, even on your first try.


tahdig shakshuka

makes 6 servings

ingredients

540g basmati rice

kosher salt

1/8 tsp saffron

3 tb ghee

6 eggs

for topping: black pepper, crushed red pepper, fresh basil and mint, pickled onions, lemon wedges, feta, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, other herbs/cheeses/sauces as desired

Clues

In a large bowl, cover the rice with enough water so that it comes up a couple inches above the rice and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and then rinse it well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Boil the rice until it’s soft on the outside but still has a bite on the inside, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. 

Crush the saffron using a mortar and pestle and then dissolve it in 3 tablespoons boiling water. 

Heat a 12” lidded nonstick Greenpan over medium high heat and add the ghee and the saffron water and swirl it around so it coats the pan evenly. Add the rice and pack it down firmly with the back of a spatula, making a pyramid shape in the center. Use the handle of a spatula to poke a few holes in the rice, stopping right before you get to the very bottom of the rice. Carefully cover the skillet with a clean dish towel and then the lid, folding the corners of the towel up around the lid so they don’t touch the stove (if you’re working with a gas range, you may want to fold the towel up around the lid before putting it on the skillet to be extra careful that your towel doesn’t get in the flame). Cook on medium high for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium low. Carefully uncover the pot, keeping the cover level so that any moisture collected under the towel doesn’t spill out and burn you or fall back into the rice. Using a spoon or spatula, create 6 egg-sized divots about an inch apart and crack in your eggies. Cover (you don’t need the towel for this step) and cook until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Top with black pepper, crushed red pepper, fresh basil and mint, pickled onions, a few squeezes of lemon juice, feta, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, and/or other herbs/cheeses/sauces as desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy! 


Thank you GreenPan for these pans and for sponsoring this post and for making the perfect Tahdig pan! the lidded one pictured is part of their limited edition 10th anniversary 5-piece set ($59.99) which includes a smaller 10” pan, a bamboo spatula, and a recipe book, and all greenpans are 20% off from 9/15-9/24. greenpans have a ceramic nonstick coating, thermolon, that is made from a sand derivative. it is high heat resistant and won’t ever peel off or emit harmful fumes. 

All photos are by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen! 

humshuka

wheat harvest is underway! yee haw. eggboy has been spending his days plucking wheat from the stalk and i’ve been spending my days using it all. well not the exact wheat that he picks on that day but just wheat in general. cause baking is fun. so in other words it’s business as usual for me, but a little bit more business since eggboy’s days are longer and when he works longer i work longer because normally i just work until he comes in for supper. and he’s been coming in for supper at like 9! look at us, staying up late like teenagers. 

i have been taking some time to get out of the house by going to the gym though and watching the olympics from the treadmill. go simone! go aly! go equestrian people who wear the most elaborate fancy downton abbey-era costumes and can make their horsies trot in such mesmerizing/majestic/superhorsey ways! and if they had an olympic event for best farmer's tan, eggboy would win right now fyi. i think one year i’d like to go to the olympics and go hospitality house hopping. i’d probably go to a winter olympics though because of the ice skating. 

today i’m posting a recipe for this great awesome tasty thing that my friend inbal introduced me to in tel aviv last week, hummus with shakshuka on top. humshuka! i saw it a little while ago on green kitchen stories but only ate it for the first time in tlv and it was so mind blowing. the hummus came together with the tomato sauce to become like a creamy hearty tomato soup, and of course a runny yolk never hurts in that situation. i feel like this would be the *perfect* sunday brunch so, yay, happy weekend and here are your brunch plans!  


humshuka

makes 3-4 bowls

1 c dried chickpeas

1⁄2 tsp baking soda

1 tb lemon juice

1⁄2 c tahini

3⁄4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste 2 cloves garlic (optional)

1⁄4 c cold water

1 batch shakshuka (recipe follows)

chopped fresh parsley, for serving

freshly baked pita, for serving

onion wedges, for serving

 

 

in a medium bowl, cover the chickpeas with enough water to reach 2 inches above the height of the chickpeas and soak them for 12 hours. 

drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan with the baking soda. cover them with 1 to 2 inches water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the chickpeas are very soft, about 2 hours. drain them and let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor. 

add the lemon juice, tahini, salt, and the garlic (if using) and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. with the motor running, drizzle in the water and continue to blend for 2 to 3 more minutes. taste and season with additional salt if needed. 

spoon into bowls, creating a large well in the center. top with shakshuka and fresh parsley and serve with pita and onion wedges.


shakshuka

serves 3-4

3 tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling 

1 medium yellow onion, chopped 

kosher salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tb ground cumin 

1 tsp harissa, or more to taste (different brands vary in spiciness) 

1⁄4 tsp smoked paprika

black pepper 

crushed red pepper

1 tb tomato paste 

1 can or carton (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes 

1 tsp sugar

3-4 eggs

in a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. add the garlic, cumin, harissa, smoked paprika, a good pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. stir in the tomato paste, then the chopped tomatoes and sugar and bring to a simmer.

create 3-4 little wells and crack in your eggs. either baste the eggs by spooning the hot tomato sauce over them, or just let them be in a sunny-side-up situation. when the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, remove from the heat. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and black pepper.


-yeh!