SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH WILD RICE

The nights where I get home late, it's especially hard to throw together dinner when my mind is full & fatigued but my stomach is not. I find it fitting that the nights where you need a homemade meal the most is when you're the most incapable of doing so.  I try to make a point in these moments to find the simplest dish (1 pot max, if that) that my brain can just barely wrap it's head around. If I can muster up a few minutes to continue standing on my feet to grate a garlic clove and chop an onion, I can have a homemade meal that my soul and stomach with thank me for.

That's where always having eggs on hand comes in handy. For weeknight meals that only begin to cook at 8pm, I need something swift & hearty that won't take an hour. I love frittatas for this reason, and when you have an extra 5-7 minutes, shakshuka (for when you need a punch of flavor). So, a recipe for one (very pretty) skillet meal that will give you quick homemade meals when you need it most.

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4  1 cup forbidden rice, dried  2 teaspoon olive oil  3 garlic cloves, minced   2 jalapeños, minced  1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons  1 shallot, minced  28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes  1 teaspoon ras el hanout  2 teaspoons harissa  1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika  pinch of cayenne pepper  1/2 lemon, juice   3-4 large eggs  1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped  2 oz feta cheese, crumbled  Sea salt to taste  Freshly ground pepper     Heat your oven to 350 degrees.       In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.     In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.     Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4

  • 1 cup forbidden rice, dried
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 3-4 large eggs
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  

In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.

Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SPRING RAMP & FETA FRITTATA WITH TANGY FETA

Spring is in the air! Or at least in my farmer’s market. Even though it has been rainy and cold here in New York, I’m relishing the greener spring vegetables finally available at the market. As it happens each season, I’m completely over all heavy, winter foods and looking forward to light and colorful meals hopefully eaten in sunshine. This frittata is the winter-palette-cleansing kind of meal that will make you lust for Spring and all its upcoming produce. Make this frittata for breakfast, lunch, even dinner (I’ve done it) for the quickest one-pot meal to share.

SPRING RAMP & FETA FRITTATA (GLUTEN-FREE, GRAIN-FREE) SERVES 4-6

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or hemp, soy, whole milk etc. as long as it’s unsweetened)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice & zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Scant 2oz. ramps (or one small bunch), ends trimmed
  • 4 oz. tangy feta, crumbled
  • Flaky sea salt, to top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, garlic, shallot and seasoning. Stir in the zest of one lemon & the juice of half the lemon.

In a (8-9 in.) cast iron, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil. Preheat the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes, then add whisked egg mixture to the pan. Lay ramps on top, overlapping as needed. Crumble feta over top & season with flaky sea salt and more pepper to taste.

Bake for exactly 20 minutes or until puffed up with browned edges. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve immediately! Frittata will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days, so feel free to make it ahead & eat for breakfast all week long.

PRESERVED LEMON GRAIN BOWL

Whenever I’m seeking comfort at dinnertime, I usually end up with a hodgepodge of quinoa, vegetables and some tahini sauce with enough accoutrements to make up for the initial simplicity.  It's a meal I have on repeat, changing up the grain or type of lentil depending on what I have on hand.  They’re uncomplicated, nourishing meals that do the trick when you need warmth (literally and figuratively) in a bowl.

When I’m really in the mode to make “weeknight” dinner into something a little more spectacular than a Topanga Canyon macro bowl, enter preserved lemons.  These salty-sweet lemons are the older/wiser cousin of fresh lemons with an almost indescribable aroma.   Although usually found at specialty food stores, it’s just as easy to make them at home (with a little or a lot of patience). You can make them authentically, quick-preserved or even “pickled” like Ottolenghi. I use them most in my self-described "hippie bowls" to add something lively (when you need some extra inspiration in your life). It's a weeknight win-win.

Grain Bowl with Preserved Lemons (gluten-free, dairy-free opt.) Serves 4

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 3 preserved lemons, rinds only & diced small (save pulp for another use)
  • 4-5 kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped 
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 dried apricots, diced
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • Black sesame gomasio, to top (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

Tahini Miso Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water, depending on desired consistency

In a saucepan, add chickpeas and enough water to cover by about 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, then cover and let sit for one hour.  This method is a quick way to eliminate soaking overnight. Once the hour is up, bring to a boil then simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside to cool.

In another saucepan, add quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 14-16 minutes or until fluffy.  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth & desired consistency.

In a large serving bowl, add chickpeas, cooled quinoa, sunflower seeds, diced preserved lemons, kale, herbs, and dried apricot.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  Top the grain bowl with crumbled feta and gomasio (optional).  Finish each serving with a generous drizzle of tahini miso dressing.  Serve immediately!