Better late than never

About this time last year, I mentioned some recipes that we had in the hopper to try out in the cooler winter months. For our RSVP cards for the wedding, we had asked our family and friends to return a postcard with a vegetarian recipe on it that we could add to our repertoire. Two recipes caught our eye as we flipped through the cards over the weeks leading up to the wedding, and we have been anxious to make them ever since. Admittedly it’s now been 14 months…but better late than never!

front of the postcard

front of the postcard

Shakshuka (suggested by our friend Harry)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 peppers, diced (Harry likes red/yellow bell peppers, we like a combination of bell pepper with Cubanelle and Poblano)
  • 2 14oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 loaf of reallllllly good crusty bread (we particularly love this Dutch Oven Crusty Bread recipe…easy, low maintenance, and incredible texture!)
  • Spices to taste: paprika, za’atar, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and basil

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil in a large saute pan until softened, then add in peppers. Once soft, stir in tomatoes and season to taste – you want a warm, slightly spicy combination of flavors from the spices. Drop in the tahini and stir, it will melt into the onion/pepper/tomato mixture. Bring to a boil  and then simmer for 15 minutes. Taste the tomato base and adjust seasonings as desired- when you’re ready crack eggs one at a time into a small bowl and then gently nestle into the tomato base. Cover the skillet until the eggs are opaque and soft boiled- about 4 minutes. Serve with slices of crusty bread and try to avoid eating the whole pan – but good luck! The tomato sauce is a combination of marinara sauce and a minestrone soup, with a creaminess from the tahini. The eggs are perfectly tender and if allowed to remain just a bit raw, the rich yolk mixes with the acidic tomatoes for a winning combination.

IMG_20150104_094825

Look at those eggs, nestled perfectly among a simmering tomato base!

IMAG1066

The sign of perfect homemade bread- air bubbles throughout and a crusty exterior!

Mujadara (courtesy of Aunt Jane, culinary mastermind behind the blueberry chutney!)

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice (see directions below – you could also use cooked white rice)
  • large pot of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups onions (about 3 large onions) – halved and sliced thinly
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • Spices: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder

Cook lentils in 4 cups of simmering water (with 3 cloves of garlic and 2 bay leaves) until soft, but not mushy (approx 15-20 minutes). Set aside.  In a separate large stock pot, bring a full pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 cup of brown rice and boil uncovered for 30 minutes (think of it like pasta). Drain, turn off heat, and return rice to the pot – cover and let steam for an additional 10 minutes. Set aside. In a deep, wide saute pan, cook onions, butter, and olive oil for 5 minutes on low, seasoning with salt and above spices – a sprinkling of each. Raise heat to medium and cook 10 more minutes. Cook another 3-4 minutes at high heat until caramelized. Combine rice, lentils, and onions in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Add a dash of chili powder and 3 TBSP chopped mint, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, and salt. Serve lentils with a dollop of yogurt.

The texture of the rice and lentils together, plus the sweet, crunchy onions and the tang of the yogurt was a winning combination. This is such a hearty meal due to the lentils (protein) and the rice (starch), and yet isn’t overly heavy – it still feels fresh and light because of the brightness of the yogurt on top. The leftovers are even better than the first time around, so if you have the time plan to make this the day before you plan to serve it. This may be our new go-to potluck dish, as it’s incredibly simple to assemble (basically 3 components all combined together at the end) and is well spiced without being overly aggressive. It also travels incredibly well- just 1 container for the mujadara itself and another for the yogurt! Try this for your next weeknight dinner or group get-together and thank us (and Aunt Jane!) later!

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