My Version of Super Simple Shakshouka

Breakfast at Issus: Mediterranean meatballs with poached eggs and toast
Poached eggs with smashed avocado, black beans over toast

Ever since my return from Australia, I’ve been meaning to learn how to poach eggs so that I could replicate the wonderful breakfasts I enjoyed at the Issus Restaurant in Melbourne (see photos above).  I’ve settled on a super-easy microwaved egg.  You simply crack an egg into 1/2 cup of water, cover your cup, and heat on High in the microwave for one minute.  Covering the cup is essential, for if you inadvertently cook the egg too long, it will explode all over the inside of your microwave.  I do not like uncooked eggs, so I forgo runny yolks and cook my poached egg for 70 seconds.

Preparing to make a poached egg in the microwave

My version of a delicious shakshouka breakfast is half a 14-oz. can of diced or stewed tomatoes heated and seasoned with za’atar spices, one poached egg plopped on top, and good bread toasted to sop up the juices. You could add leftover rice or roasted vegetables for more substance. This is a quick, easy, and very tasty breakfast.

My shakshouka breakfast




Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad

Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad

This summer I’ve been enjoying variations of a “Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad” from the Hedgebrook Cookbook by Denise Barr and Julie Rosten.  I like it as a side dish or as a lunch salad that I pack for work.  Sometimes I add bits of thinly sliced chicken sausage and diagonally sliced snap peas for a more hearty main dish.  Really, you could add many different vegetables, leftover meats, or even fruit to adapt this basic dish to your liking.

Ingredients for salad

Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad
from the Hedgebrook Cookbook

1 c quinoa (the cookbook recommends browning the quinoa in 1 Tbsp. olive oil before adding 2 c boiling water, but I skipped the browning step and just cooked the quinoa according to the package directions)

4 green onions, thinly sliced (I did not have green onions on hand, so I added sliced snap peas instead.)

1/2 c each diced dried apricots and toasted and chopped almonds

1 lemon, zest and juice

Asian ginger dressing (I used a prepared Asian dressing from Trader Joe’s)

Allow the cooked quinoa to cool for 30 minutes, then mix with enough dressing to coat the salad.  Add onions, apricots, almonds, lemon zest and juice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate salad overnight.  Before serving taste to see if salad needs more dressing, but be careful not to overdress.

Serves 4 to 6