"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child



So you get home at 7:30 p.m.  and you’re exhausted. And you still need to make dinner for the nits. BUT, you have in your possession one dozen freshly laid farm eggs from the fabulous Kelli, urban farm woman about town, who keeps chickens in her yard, and who texted you a photo of their output just today. She lives close to the train station so you swung by to procure. She has also booned you with fresh chives, parsley, and two kinds of chard.


So you post this bounty on Facebook, because you are happy you have urban farm friends who provide you fresh produce. What shall I make for dinner? You ask the madding crowd. Somebody suggests you make shaksuka, a Middle Eastern home staple of eggs in spicy tomato sauce and you think, heck yeah. THIS is what will nourish my children and myself this evening. No Chinese, no In ‘n Out, no anything a hardworking middle class mom turns to when she gets home on the downslope to bedtime, children still unfed, not to mention herself.

BUT, your kids are growing up. The girl is out with friends. The boy, now taller than his own father and hungrier than anyone you’ve met in the last decade, reacts to what you propose to make for his dinner with a pained look, then asks for pasta.

You realize you will be making shakshuka for one.

Fine. Here is how you do it:


The recipe: (for one. This is 1/2 the original recipe.) 

Half an onion, thinly sliced

half a red pepper, thinly sliced

two tablespoons olive oil

Teaspoon of cumin

Teaspoon of sweet paprika

dash of cayenne

1/3 cup feta cheese

one can diced tomatoes in their juice

however many eggs you desire

salt and pepper to taste.


How you do it:

It couldn’t be easier. Saute the onions and peppers in the heated olive oil, gently for about 20 minutes, until they are soft. Add your spices. You can adjust as you like heat or not. And improvise with what you like. Second time I made this, I used some sumac. Not bad.


The origin: Onions and red peppers.

The origin: Onions and red peppers.


Saute for about 20 minutes or until soft and fragrant….


The spice.

The spice.

Add the spices….

The recipe at the Times calls for using whole tomatoes and crushing them with your hands. Quaint. But no. I opened a can of diced tomatoes in their juice and dumped that in whole. Crush with my own hands. Ain’t nobody got time for that…

Add that feta. Trust me on that…

Anyway, when the tomato sauce is all heated through and it’s smelling up your kitchen with anticipation, gently break your eggs onto the top of the mix.

How many eggs? Your choice. I love eggs.

I used three. Because eggs.

Season expertly with salt and pepper.

Use an oven mitt and place the whole pan into the preheated oven until the eggs set, about 7 – 10 minutes.

This is what you get for your trouble:




The miracle.

The photo maybe doesn’t do it justice. I took it with my cellphone.

Is it good? Of course it’s good. Millions of Middle Eastern moms can’t be wrong. Toast some pita bread and you’re gonna feel pretty smug eating this down for dinner. It’s delicious. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Whatevs.

I’ve already made this twice. It’s that easy. And that good. The girl tried this and pronounced it good. The boy? Stay tuned.

Read more about Shakshuka here, and here, and here. Once again, I am late the the party. But no matter.




pumpkins for soups

They’re here

I know. You’re buried from all sides with Thanksgiving recipes from every corner.

Ignore them. Make this one.

And trust me, it’s easy and delicious.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
  • 1 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
**To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Yeah. And you can make little pumpkin shell bowls for this too if you’re that Martha. I’m not. I used canned pumpkin.

How to assemble after the jump:

Pump it up!


The leftovers: Lebanese chickpea and chicken stew

November 9, 2014

In my new world as a worker bee, any dish that makes a good dinner and a better lunch is a dish that is immediately added into the rotation. Lebanese chickpea and chicken stew. Roll that around on your tongue for just a moment. Imagine those flavors. Now imagine those flavors once they’ve had a […]

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A Passover repast…and a farewell

April 17, 2014

God knows what possessed me to throw a Passover seder this week. Maybe it was the Drama Teen telling me she wanted to do more “Jewish things.” Maybe it was the fact that I’d attended two seders already. Possibly it was the idea that, these days at least, I have the notion that I can […]

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