Restaurant Inspirations: Shakshuka

Brunch, the most dismissed meal of the day, commonly contributed to lazy millennials and basic canidae.  How did this most appropriately timed meal get such a raw deal?  Situated between the established hours of eating cereal with your pants off and the mostly required pants wearing sandwich hour, brunch is that missing link on the lazy Sunday.  At a certain age in one's life waking up for breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday is about as unbelievable as death.  These fearless youths see brunch as a time to regain steady hands through a few cocktails and $30 omelets, try and tell me what's wrong with that.  I personally enjoy brunch, however I could go without the things I can make at home and I will typically try to search for the unconventional.

Years ago Remy and I would go on the same walk every Saturday to the same national coffee chain.  I would drink my coffee, watch the new apartment buildings being constructed around the small eating area and the forever famished Remy would inhale a small treat.  The treat would give me a few minutes of peace before the ever needy runt would moan, cry and bark telling me "it's time to go...bitch."  On our loop home we would pass the same bakery that was often packed full o' patrons drinking coffee to eating somethings that were not easily identifiable.  After 100 gazes into the storefront I figured I would at least try the coffee and case the joint inspecting it's viability for a casual dating app encounter.

Tatte Bakery & Café, was founded by an Israeli self-taught chef who took a home business to a brick and mortar location ten years ago.  The (several) locations are full of bright white finishes and feel as though you are in someones kitchen and dining room.  Contrary to what I assumed it would be comparable to a Jewish Delicatessen, it was far from that as the challah replaced any resemblance of a bagel.  The show stopper however was the one thing I have never had, the North African delicacy Shakshuka.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • (1) 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup feta
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, chili powder is an acceptable substitute
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Prepare vegetables by slicing the peppers and onions into long skinny sticks (also known as Julienne).  

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Sauté peppers and onions in oil (or bacon fat) until translucent.

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Add sliced or pressed garlic and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Pro tip; if you don't care to set a timer to cook something for a few minutes, try listening to music and figure every song change is somewhere between 3-4 minutes.  This should give you a great gauge for how long something has been cooking.  Warning, after using this trick I was unable enjoy copulation with music after realizing how few songs played during moments of intimacy.

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Add in all spice and stir to incorporate.

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Leave on low heat while you open the can of tomatoes, stir frequently to avoid burning.  This step is useful to have a helping hand.

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Add in the diced tomatoes, juice and all.

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Cook over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, stir frequently as this will burn if unattended.

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Add in 1/2 the feta cheese and stir throughout.  Use the back of a spoon to create 'wells' or tiny shallow graves to crack 4-6 eggs into.

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Cook in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes for medium (runny) eggs, but if you prefer and over hard egg leave in for 3 minutes intervals until done. Finish with extra feta and chopped cilantro for a splash of color.

Enjoy with bread, and if you're not eating gluten well then go fuck yourself.

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