Shakshuka is something I never thought would go well in sandwich form. Yet, here we are, and Ive got enough for breakfast for at least a week or so.

Adding bell peppers heartens up the shakshuka even more, and it turns out that the pita is really good at holding the shakshuka and not making it too messy. I didn’t have za’atar on me, so I ended up mixing ground oregano, marjoram, sumac, and cumin (didn’t have any toasted sesame seeds, just raw); I should probably either buy or make it soon, because I definitely liked the flavor. 

Three Pepper Shakshuka Pitas With Feta and Za’atar

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • half a small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, then minced
  • 2 to 3 bell peppers, cored and sliced thin (use any colors you like)
  • jalapeño, cored and sliced thin
  • .5 t cumin
  • 1 t smoked paprika (I used Spanish)
  • .25 t salt
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (recipe recommends fire roasted if you can find them, I went with plain as they’re pretty expensive around here)
  • 6 eggs
  • .5 c crumbled feta
  • za’atar to taste (if you don’t have it, mix oregano, marjoram, sumac, cumin, and toasted sesame seeds)
  • pitas

Heat your olive oil in a large pan over medium high. Once warmed, add your onion and cook until it softens, about five minutes, followed by the crushed, minced garlic, and cook for another minute. Add your bell peppers and jalapeño and saute until they soften, about another five minutes, followed by the cumin, paprika, and salt, cooking for an additional minute.  Then, pour in your can of crushed tomatoes, along with half a can or so of water, and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasonings.

After fifteen minutes, make six shallow indentations in the sauce and crack your eggs into them. Cover and simmer for between 3 to 6 minutes depending on how you want your eggs; 3 to 4 minutes gets set whites and loose yolks, 5 to 6 for firmer yolks. Remove the cover and sprinkle with feta and za’atar.

If you’re going to eat these right away, warm your pitas, open them up, and scoop an egg and the surrounding sauce into the pita. If you want more garnish, add more feta and za’atar. 

If, however, you’re like me and you’re taking these to work, put the sauce into a container.  The morning that you’re going to eat them, put an egg and sauce in the pita, and reheat (either by warming up the sauce and pitas separately, or doing what I do and just tossing the thing in a microwave). 

Life’s been a touch on the crazy side in the last few weeks.  I’ve started seriously looking at buying a condo, doing the associated wrangling with banks, my baby sister graduated from high school and moved into college, and been just generally busy enough that this blog has kind of fallen to the side.  Sorry guys, I kind of suck.  This first post tonight is the start of a major catchup effort, though. 

This is a fantastic, summery little side dish.  And it’s also technically two separate dishes, but screw it. Most of the stuff for this came from my garden, if not from the farmer’s market.  If you’re in a position to do something similar around this time of year, go for it. 

This recipe comes from A Girl and Her Pig, a cookbook I’ve used before (for those white wine stewed tomatoes, which I definitely need to make again), and I look forward to using again.

Roasted Tomatoes and Marinated Roasted Peppers

Ingredients

Marinated Roasted Peppers

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 3 T sherry vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 5 large basil leaves

Take a cast iron pan and slowly heat over high heat.  Once fully heated, add your peppers, laying them on the long side.  How do you know if your pan is ready? When you add the peppers, the peppers should hiss a bit. Cook the peppers for about five minutes on each side, until there are large charred areas with wrinkly skin in between (see the difference between pics one, two, and three for a good idea of how this progression should look), for a total of twenty to twenty five minutes.

Remove the peppers to a medium sized bowl and cover it with wrap of some sort (April recommends plastic wrap, I used aluminum foil, it all worked good). Let the peppers steam and cool until they’re cool enough that you can handle them; this takes about twenty minutes. 

Remove the deflated peppers, peel the skin off (starting from the charred areas is a good idea), and then split the pepper along a seam, tearing a circle around the top to remove the stem and seeds, but catching the pepper juice in a glass bowl.  Tear the pepper into thin strips and put in a glass bowl, layering with the garlic, sea salt, and basil as you go.  Then, add the vinegar, and toss and massage the peppers a bit.  Top with olive oil, and put in the fridge.

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • .25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 pound tomatoes (about 5 medium tomatoes), peeled, blanched, and cored (see technique for this in paragraph 3 of this recipe)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix together everything except the tomatoes in a large bowl until the mixture is a bit viscous. Add your tomatoes, toss gently to coat, and let them sit for about five minutes to absorb the marinade. 

Transfer the tomatoes to a medium baking dish so that the tomatoes are spread in one layer, and then pour the marinade over them. Roast the tomatoes for 1.5 to 2 hours, until they look noticeably smaller, and softer.  (I’m pretty sure I went for the full two hours on these. This was a while ago so I don’t remember the exact length of time.)  About halfway through, start basting the tomatoes and pressing down on them with the back of a spoon every fifteen minutes or so – not enough to deflate them fully, but to just get them leaking a bit. Once the two hours are up, remove them from the oven and let them cool. 

To serve, combine the roasted tomatoes and marinated roasted peppers, toss, and nom!

This is the start of the garden for this year – I finally decided to use the front wired off space, as no one seemed to be using it, and with the exception of a few smaller herbs from one of my neighbors, it is just me.

So far, except for the strawberries, which haven’t shown up at the market yet in the form I want to plant them, this is likely gonna be my final garden. I might add another oregano and peppermint, or marjoram, and maybe another cherry tomato plant, but for the most part, I’m happy with what I’ve got going.

The back wall is herbs, either in planters or in the cinder blocks. In order, l to r, there are: peppermint, African blue basil, Genovese basil, chocolate mint (in the orange pot) and Greek oregano. In between the Genovese basil and the chocolate mint, there’s what I’m pretty sure is a lavender plant, and overthrowing most of the garden, what I’m 99% sure is coriander. Can anyone confirm?

The front row are my veggies: l to r, there are cherry tomatoes, two bell peppers (red and orange), and a large tomato plant (husky reds).

All of these are two to three weeks in my care now, and doing spectacularly; the herbs are growing and flowering, and all the veggies are flowering (in the case of the cherry tomato, already putting out small fruits).

If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Using the broiler on a hot day like today may seem a bit counterintuitive, but these bell pepper bites are absolutely worth it.  A lot of stuff for this can be substituted if you don’t have it on hand, especially the type of cheese you use.

Bell Pepper Bites
Unable to tell how long exactly this lasted; at least three sides, but the leftovers were destroyed when the old fridge shat out

  • 4 assorted bell peppers, deseeded and cut into bite size pieces
  • cheese enough to cover each bell pepper piece (I got an 8 oz block of smoked cheddar goat cheese, there’s probably 2 to 3 oz left)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t rice vinegar

Take your bell pepper pieces, and slice up your cheese (or sprinkle if shredded) and assemble on a foil lined baking sheet, so that the bell peppers are topped with cheese.  Turn on your broiler, and cook for appx five minutes, until the cheese is melty and almost golden brown (see pic 2). While they’re cooking, combine your olive oil and rice vinegar. Once done, remove, put in your container, and sprinkle with the olive oil/rice vinegar mixture.