“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”IMG_0036 (1280x853)

I wasn’t planning on using this dish for the Recipe Redux & Davidson’s Choice Safest Eggs Light & Lean Recipe Contest.Slide2

Because, honestly, my shakshuka never looks as good as cooking magazines and the interwebs (known as Pinterest and Google Images) tell me it should.shakshuka

But after months of thinking about it (solely based on our communal viewing of The Great Food Truck Race and support of the Middle Feast food truck) it received the highest praise from The Professor*….IMG_0017 (1280x853)

*”Very good,” said in monotone while briefly glancing over to look at me. (He’s not quite as excitable about food as I am.)IMG_0024 (1280x853)

…and realizing when a friend asked me for the recipe (after enjoying it during my night for The Bachelor/ette cooking) that I’d actually changed the many recipes I had consulted over time enough to be my own…IMG_20150602_090131

…well, this was one dish too good NOT to share.IMG_0052 (1280x853)

Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs are perfect for this dish, because they are pasteurized in a perfectly calibrated water bath that removes risk of Salmonella without cooking the egg, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick if they are still raw, or just slightly cooked.*

*I wish these had been available all those times Mama Smart told me I wasn’t allowed to eat the raw brownie batter or cookie dough.Slide1

And with shakshuka, you’re trying to keep the eggs soft cooked and runny, because that joyously delicious and creamy yolk mixing with the spicy seasoned tomato sauce and eaten with pita (or English muffins, because, well, nooks and crannies people) is what makes shakshuka so good.*

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 *And good for you: welcome to my body choline, protein, complex carbs, Vitamin C, and lycophene!IMG_0043 (1280x853)

So good, in fact, that I ate it two nights in a row, and then for breakfast.IMG_0030 (1280x852)

And I’d probably eat it again right now if I wasn’t out of tomatoes.

Shakshuka

(Serves 4)

  • 4-8 eggs (depending on appetites)*
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 28-oz can whole, peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for serving)
  • feta or queso fresco, for serving
  • warm whole wheat pita bread or toasted English muffins, for serving

*Because a friend asked, I would say 2 is normal, but you may be really hungry, or want to focus on filling up your stomach with the sauce (like me).

  1. Finely chop onion and bell pepper. (I prefer to use an electric chopper.)
  2. In a large, wide skillet or sauce pan–preferably with a high ‘lip’/edge and definitely with a lid–saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper in 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil until softened.
  3. While onion, pepper, and garlic are cooking, open tomatoes and either crush by hand in large bowl or coarsely chop directly in the can with a knife.
  4. Add tomatoes to the pan, stirring well to combine all vegetables.
  5. Stir in spices and bring sauce to a simmer.
  6. Continue to cook and stir until tomatoes are mostly broken down.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low.
  8. Crack eggs directly into the sauce, working in batches if necessary.
  9. Cover pan and cook eggs until whites are (at least mostly) cooked and yolks are just setting up.
  10. Spoon egg(s) into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese, if desired.


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I was going to be lazy, as I’d just made dinner two nights in a row for The Professor, followed by another evening of cooking for friends during The Bachelorette (although that was the same recipe as the night before AND I had help on one evening)…

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…but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make something I wasn’t sure that The Professor would eat, but that my girlfriends at Book Club would probably love to try.*

*I do, in fact, have a Pinterest board entitled “When The Professor’s Away, Sarah Can Play.”IMG_20150602_175923_676 (720x1280)

Besides, cucumbers apparently grow at a rate of none to 400 overnight in a garden. So using them was a good idea.IMG_9624 (1280x853)

And also, I mean, why be self-motivated to work on a PhD when you can COOK?!?!IMG_9685 (1280x853)

Cucumber & Soba Noodle Salad with Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

(Serves 6-8, I would guess)

  • Coconut Almond Satay Sauce (recipe below)
  • 9.5 oz. (one standard package) soba noodles
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro*

*Note: You may want to reserve some from mixing to sprinkle over the top for presentation. :)

  1. Cook soba according to package directions.
  2. Rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss cooked soba noodles with Coconut Almond Satay Sauce.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. [Although really it tastes great right away, too!]IMG_9636 (1280x853)

Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

(adapted from Addicted to Veggies’ recipe)

  • 1/2 cup almond butter*
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp date paste (or 1-2 dates soaked in warm water for a bit)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2  tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 c coconut water (or plain water)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut flour (for thickening
*mine was lightly salted and made with roasted almonds, but you could use raw almond butter I am sure
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or strong blender and process until smooth.
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Orange Bourbon Rosemary Salmon

by Sarah on June 1, 2015 · 2 comments

 The Craftsman work bench table for two has returned along with the still-not-unbearable warm evening weather.IMG_20150531_113919

Last night, I greeted The Professor’s travel homecoming by wearing a dress (!) and making him do all of the cooking.

(Because once you say, “Grilling isn’t work,” you’ve given up the option of ever turning it down.)IMG_20150530_191917_708

Well, except for the prep work.IMG_9595 (1280x853)

You see, although I originally thought I’d make an Asian inspired salmon dish for dinner, to use up the quick pickled kimchi I made with local cabbage…I ended up eating all of that for brunch. (Oops.)IMG_9572 (1280x853)

And then the red potatoes at the farmer’s market looked so good…IMG_20150530_083444

So, I shifted gears, instead thinking of the the jar of locally made (to her, in Pennsylvania) Spruce Hill Preserves Orange Bourbon Rosemary Jelly that Sister Smart had given to me for Christmas and I had, naturally, shoved into the “jelly/jam/preserves” section of pantry and forgotten about.IMG_9582 (853x1280)

But that jelly proved to be just the inspiration for a simple, subtle--my exact word upon eating, actually–slightly tangy marinade [slash] glaze [slash] flavor enhancer for the fish.IMG_9596 (1280x853)

And although you may not be able to use this jelly I figured out how you can recreate it using more commonly accessible ingredients, although you may have to make even more slight flavor adjustments to get it to be the sweetness level you desire.IMG_9590 (1280x853)

As for convincing someone to grill it for you, set up the Craftsman work bench as a table, and bring you a glass of wine, I sadly can’t help you with that.IMG_20150530_191545_991

Orange Bourbon Rosemary Salmon*

(Serves 4)

  • 2/3 cup orange marmalade or jelly
  • 1 Tbsp, bourbon
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • salt, to taste
  • 4  salmon fillets (6 oz.), skin on
  • orange slices (optional), for presentation
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients (orange marmalade through Worcestershire sauce). Mix well.
  2. Adjust salt to taste.
  3. Heat marmalade mixture in the microwave 30-45 seconds so that it is easily pourable.
  4. Marinate salmon for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
  5. When ready to cook, place each piece of salmon in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil, skin down.
  6. Fold up sides of foil, and pour or spread remaining marinade over each piece.
  7. Grill or bake, approximately 10-15 minutes, until cooked.
  8. Garnish with orange slices and additional rosemary, if desired.

*Note: I’ve adjusted the ingredients to reflect four salmon fillets (instead of two, which I cook for me and The Professor), but you may need to adjust amounts according to the consistency of your marmalade and own flavor desires.

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The Chosen Bean Coffee [Review]

by Sarah on May 28, 2015 · 1 comment

Back when I was a more popular food blogger, I reviewed quite an array of goodies, but never had I ever been offered the chance to review my favorite drink:*

*Of the caffeinated variety. Let’s not even get started on how I can’t play favorites with ANY type of food or beverage.IMG_9400 (1280x853)

Oh, coffee. How I love thee.

[I especially love  Costa Rica(n coffee).]IMG_9372 (1280x853)

The story of The Chosen Bean is biblically inspired, and the value system behind it ensures fair trade and fair treatment. The company seeks out individual farmers with small crops, and the beans are roasted with attention to individual technique of farming.IMG_9367 (1280x853)

And if that isn’t enough, just SMELL the beans.*

*Using what The Professor so intelligently calls the “smell hole.”IMG_9374 (1280x853)

There is no doubt these are freshly roasted, and the brew has a subtle sweetness that is almost enough to let me drink it black. (But….sugar….)IMG_9382 (1280x853)

I received a free  2 oz. sample of Costa Rican coffee beans from The Chosen Bean, as mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for this review in any other way. All opinions are my own.

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Salmon Cakes

by Sarah on May 22, 2015 · 0 comments

You’d think with my new Pinterest obsession, the inspiration for what to finally do with this random can of salmon in the pantry would have some from there.IMG_9010 (853x1280)

But you’d be wrong.*

*Sort of. I did consult the almighty pins during an interim period. And I had pinned this recipe.

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The inspiration came from my Relay Foods newsletter, which, although I no longer live anywhere near the distribution area, still provides me with weekly e-mails of delicious meal plans.salmon cakes

Including these Salmon Cakes.IMG_9091 (1280x853)

I pretty much followed the recipe, but I made my own bread crumbs with toasted multigrain sourdough (good plan)…IMG_9029 (1280x852)

…and halved it, yet came away with 3/4 of the intended servings.IMG_9073 (1280x853)

I also added lemon juice, dill…and a secret ingredient.IMG_9055 (1280x853)

Apple!IMG_9036 (1280x853)

 (Because why not.)

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Truth be told, the addition of all those flavors to the already very mild canned salmon made it likely that these could have been any type of fish cake you could guess.IMG_9060 (1280x853)

It didn’t stop me from devouring them, though.IMG_9071 (1280x853)

As for The Professor, he said they were “very moist,” and even called them burgers.IMG_9080 (1280x853)

Which, for the man who won’t even entertain the thought of eating Chicago style “pie” because it doesn’t resemble pizza, I guess that’s saying something (hopefully good)?

Salmon Cakes

[Makes 8 cakes]

Adapted from Relay Foods

  • 1 14.75-oz can pink salmon, drained, large bones and skin removed
  • 2 stalked celery
  • 1/4 Vidalia (or other sweet) onion
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper
  • 1/2 Gala apple
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. capers
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill
  • 3/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup homemade bread crumbs (or substitute crushed crackers or Panko)
  1. Using an electric chopper (or super finely chopping yourself), chop onion, bell pepper, celery, and apple.
  2. Saute vegetable mixture over medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Combine salmon, vegetable mixture, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Stir well with a fork to combine.
  4. Beat in egg to the mixture.
  5. Add bread crumbs in 1/4 cup increments until mixture can be formed into patties.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sear patties on both sides.
  8. Transfer patties to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
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There was a good week when I was eating kale salad as though my life depended on it.

IMG_8892 (1280x853)

(This was conveniently tied to a period of time when the anti-kale Professor was out of town.)IMG_20150509_072705_709

The consumption of kale covered in champagne vinaigrette had reached an all time high when I decided that the “dinosaur” kale I’d purchased from the Druid City Garden Project at the Farmers Market deserved some special attention.IMG_8849 (1280x853)

After an embarrassing amount of time searching for potential lacinato kale recipes, I realized that most of the dressings resembled the (highly addictive) Zesty Tahini dressing from Whole Foods that I’ve already attempted to recreate (and modify) before.IMG_8858 (1280x853)

This time, I took it to a whole new level.*IMG_8834 (853x1280)

*Mostly because I had just the perfect amount of almond butter left and that was so gratifying.IMG_8867 (1280x853)

The orange, the cranberries, the chia…just seemed right (for color pleasing purposes) at the time, but it was a close call between just adding a shake of hemp seeds and calling it a day.*

*I didn’t want to open the unopened Costco-sized bag, though, so…chia it was.IMG_8878 (1280x853)

I’m not saying I ate it all by myself.IMG_8868 (1280x853)

I’m saying I ate it all by myself in only two sittings.*

*Technically “standings” at the counter in the kitchen, but…

Kale Salad with Orange, Chia, & Almond Miso Vinaigrette

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 2 large oranges (you’ll want to eat pieces while you chop, I’m sure)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. yellow miso
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice (optional)
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Blend together all dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  2. Wash, de-stem, and chiffonade (or chop) kale.
  3. Peel, segment, and chop oranges.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine kale and oranges.
  5. Toss salad with dressing.
  6. Sprinkle chia seeds on top.
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So not all of the cauliflower ended up being drizzled with (or dunked into) avocado dressing or spicy “secret sauce.”IMG_8614 (1280x853)

Because when it’s summer, and motivation to work on that thing we call a PhD is low, why make up one recipe when you can make two?

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Plus, this is a great way to treat Thai food obsession without ingesting massive quantities of coconut milk.

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Although that is clearly still an optionIMG_8603 (1280x853)

Coconut Cauliflower Thai Curry (Soup)

(Makes 2 cups)

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2-3 Tbsp. shredded coconut
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 tsp. green Thai curry past
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. almond or coconut milk (obviously the latter will intensify the coconut flavor)
  • fresh cilantro and basil
  • chopped peanuts
  1. Combine first five ingredients (cauliflower through ginger) in a medium pot.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat slightly, and continue to simmer/boil until cauliflower is tender.
  4. Using a good immersion blender (or a “real” blender), process cauliflower until smooth.
  5. Just before serving, stir in almond or coconut milk.
  6. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil, cilantro, and chopped peanuts!

NOTE: If you’d like to use this as a curry sauce to serve with veggies and rice, cook 4-6 cups of veggies in a medium saucepan (either saute or steam). Once tender to bite, pour sauce over top and cook until heated through. Serve over rice! (Don’t forget the herbs and peanuts!)IMG_8676 (1280x853)

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There was something missing on my plate last night.*

*Aside from the crackers, “magic” peanut butter chocolate krispies bars, and pile of watermelon I also consumed.IMG_20150513_184454_868

Because before this kale salad could make it to the party, I’d eaten almost all of it.IMG_8924 (1280x853)Sure, between all of us, the inaugural “Book Club” (without books) ended up being a rather feast o’ salad.bookclubFB

But  my brilliant attempt to use the kale I had received from our neighbors two nights prior…IMG_8829 (1280x853)

…with the delicious inspiration for a nutty apricot and cheese-dusted kale concoction—proved to be just TOO brilliant I guess.

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Maybe it was the vinaigrette made from canned apricots?IMG_8898 (1280x853)

Sure was sweet. Shame I couldn’t share. :) IMG_8901 (1280x853)

Kale Salad with Almonds, Pecorino, & Apricot Vinaigrette

  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 can apricot halves
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp (or more or less to taste) grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • smidge of Worcestershire (literally 2 drops)
  1. Blend together 4 apricot halves, 1 1/2 Tbsp. can syrup, garlic, ginger, vinegar, water, soy sauce, and Worcestershire for the Apricot Vinaigrette. Adjust ingredients as desired for taste and consistency.
  2. In a large bowl combine dressing and kale, tossing well to completely coat leaves.
  3. Drain and rinse remaining apricots. Quarter apricot halves.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle kale with apricot sections, chopped almonds, and pecorino.
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Something had to be done with the cauliflower.IMG_8548 (1280x853)

So, naturally, I took to my new obsession friend, Pinterest.pinterest

But, much like every encounter I have with Martha Stewart, I became a bit overwhelmed by the recipes I wanted to make.

There would be no coating of cauliflower with batter and oats. There would be no crispy sweet potato chips.

But I could season and roast.IMG_8620 (1280x853)

And I could make Spicy “Special Sauce” with yogurt instead of mayo.specialsauce

And it could still be delicious.IMG_8624 (1280x853)

Seasoned Crispy Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. dried cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • salt + pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Coat cauliflower with cooking spray.
  3. Toss together cauliflower and seasoning in a glass baking dish, making sure seasoning is evenly distributed.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender to bite, but still crispy.
  5. Serve with Citrus Avocado and Spicy Yogurt “Special Sauce”

Spicy Yogurt “Special Sauce”

(Adapted from Dolly & Oatmeal)

  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. (or more) sriracha
  • 2 tsp. ground dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a small dish.
  2. Enjoy!

NOTE: I’d also recommend getting jiggy preppy with it and adding a little green to that pink. Citrus Avocado Sauce tastes amazing with these flavors, too.IMG_8643 (1280x853)

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A Tag Team Cinco De Mayo

by Sarah on May 7, 2015 · 1 comment

After couples women have babies, it’s pretty standard practice to want to bring over dinner to the new (or expanding) family to get a look at the adorableness of the baby help them out.

Usually this is just a “Hey, here’s your dinner. Great to see you. Now back to your new life!” type of thing.cincodetakethemameal

But when someone who loves Pinterest as much as you (now) do is the new mama AND your dinner night happens to fall on Cinco de Mayo…well, things quickly take a turn towards ‘party’ mode.PhotoGrid_1430917700780

Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that.IMG_8516 (1280x853)

Store bought salsa got a face lift with some previously frozen corn and fresh cilantro. (And saving that old salsa jar proved to be not such a ridiculous idea after all…)IMG_8522 (854x1280)

And SUPERCHUNK* guacamole was eaten made just before the dinner hour.

*Like the peanut butter…but, you know, not.IMG_8530 (1280x853)

I made Stepmama Smart’s “famous” cilantro slaw, and remembered to purchase some skirt steak at the farmers’ market on Saturday, but other than that, I think it was The Professor who did most of the actual on-site work.IMG_20150505_191138_357 (1280x720)

I will take credit for seasoning the shrimp and getting the off of the grill in time.

(And thank goodness there were five of us or I would have to also take credit for eating them all.)IMG_20150505_190657_850 (1280x1279)

I can NEVER take credit for being ruined always to any margarita that is not made by The Professor however.

So simple. So good. So easy to drink….IMG_20150505_184814_279

And somehow, the new mama we were supposed to be helping became her own hostess and even made the dessert: a Happy Birthday (one day early) peanut butter honey treat covered in dark chocolate.IMG_20150505_200912_451 (1280x720)

But hey, no one said you had to do it all by yourself. :) IMG_20150505_191039_668

Tag team dinner: it’s like pot luck, but with slightly more coordination.*

*Not the hand-eye type.

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