Weekly Recipes - Shakshuka

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I’ve read that on any given day, 50% of Americans don’t eat breakfast at home and the most popular breakfast source for that 50% is McDonalds. This week we’ll try to convince you to eat at home.

Shakshuka is a North African dish that has become popular in small cafés in Israel and Palestine. There are many variations, but all are cooked slowly and involve a lot of onions, sweet peppers and eggs. Preserved lemon is a great addition and feel free to use different herbs and spices. It’s great at lunch and dinner too.

 

Ingredients

• 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 
• 3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
• 2 large onions sliced about 1/4" thick
• 2 red bell peppers cut into 3/4" strips
• 2 yellow peppers cut into 3/4" strips
• 2 tbsp agava (use sugar if you must)
• 2 bay leaves
• 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
• 2 tbsp chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs to garnish
• 6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 1 pinch saffron threads
• salt & black pepper
• water
• 8 eggs

Preparation Instructions

In a very large dry pan, roast the cumin seeds on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for five minutes (if you’d like, caramelize the onions as we taught you last week.) Add the sweet peppers, agave (or sugar) and herbs and continue cooking on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. While it is cooking add water as needed to obtain a pasta sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavorful. (You can prepare the mix up to this point, keep it in the refrigerator and use as needed.)

Remove the bay leaves, then divide the pepper mix among four frying pans or place in one large frying pan. Warm over medium heat, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover the pans with lids. Cook over very low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

We'll be back next week with another wholesome recipe.

Happy cooking,
Sunnyside Gourmet

Weekly Recipes - Frittata

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Many people think a frittata is what the Spanish call an omelet – well  not really. An omelet is an egg dish. In a frittata, the eggs play second fiddle. Any Spanish chef will tell you it’s not a frittata unless it begins with onions and potatoes. After that, there are no rules. Frittatas are great at any time of day. It’s perfect for those times when you have to produce something fast, but want it to be something special.

Ingredients

• 2 large sweet Vidalia onions
• 2 large potatoes
• Any leftover vegetables you have in the refrigerator
• Olive oil
• 4 Eggs, stirred not beaten

Preparation Instructions

Heat a cast iron or other large oven proof frying pan over high heat.

Slice the onions (use more if you like) in 1/2 inch slices. Place in a dry frying pan and cover. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring a few times. After 8 minutes sprinkle with salt.

When the onions have wilted and are nicely browned (depends on sweetness of onions), add some olive oil. Immediately add diced or sliced potatoes. Continue cooking, uncovered until the potatoes become crispy.

Lower the heat to medium and stir in the eggs that have been stirred, not beaten. Use a fork to separate the onions and potatoes and let the eggs penetrate and cook. Add more oil if needed.

This is where you may add anything else – garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, artichoke hearts, cheese or anything else. If the eggs seem firm, but the top is still runny, place under a hot broiler for a minute or two. Don’t overcook.

Take a serving plate a little bigger than the frying pan and place it upside down over the pan. Holding pot holders or wearing oven-proof gloves, grasp the edges of the pan and quickly flip the whole thing over. Yourfrittata will slip out onto the platter ready to serve. Grind some pepper on top and decorate with parsley or basil if you like.

We'll be back next week with another wholesome recipe.

Happy cooking,
Sunnyside Gourmet

Weekly Recipes - Preserved Lemons

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Preserved Lemons by Tony Avirgan, Sunnyside Gourmet

This week, we're sharing a recipe for Preserved Lemons. They are easy to make and exotic. They can be used to make almost any dish special. We put them, of course, in any Moroccan dish. They are a great addition to omelets, dips or salads. They are beautiful to keep in a glass jar in the kitchen.

Preparation Instructions

Sterilize a Ball Jar big enough to hold several lemons. Cut lemons twice almost through end to end and butterfly. Open them up and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Stuff lemons into sterilized jar and fill jar with fresh lemon juice. Make sure there are no air pockets. Put optional spices in jar making sure they, and the lemons, are submerged.

Close jar and store out of direct sunlight. In 30 days you will have delicious Preserved Lemons.

We take out a lemon to use and put another salted one at the bottom of the jar. You won't need to sterilize the jar again. There is no harm leaving lemons in the brine longer than 30 days.

We'll be back next week with another wholesome recipe.

Happy cooking,

Tony Avirgan, Sunnyside Gourmet

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Olive Oil

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At Sunnyside Gourmet we use the freshest ingedients available and try to avoid ingedients that are processed.

Olive oil is a particular challenge. (read Tom Mueller's excellent book Extra Virginity) It turns out that that "extra virgin" means almost nothing and that almost all extra virgin olive oil in the United States has been adulterated (the FDA says that is not thier concern) and processed. At Sunnyside Gourmet we source and use the purest, freshest olive oil available. This is expensive and olive oil is often the most costly ingredient in our dishes. But it's worth it.