Shakshuka: The story of bad lyrics and delicious flavors

KC and the Sunshine Band might want you to shake your booty, but I think you should "shake, shake, shake..shake, shake, shake...shakshuka"

Yes, I know it's cheesy and those aren't the right lyrics, but they just flow, ya know? And to be honest, I am one of those people that always sings the lyrics wrong. I mix them up. I make them up. Half the time I don't even sing on key. This probably stems from a long-standing tradition of my father singing the wrong words to the choir songs in church (which I'm now going to tell you about...but feel free to skip ahead to the recipe!) It's a small church, the kind where every family has established their own parking spaces...that they sit in each week. Our pew was (and still is), directly behind the pew of our close family friends who have twin boys. Without fail, on the final choir song each Sunday, my father would begin to sing the hymn and then slowly change the words so that the lyrics were aimed directly at the boys, teasing them because he knew that no one except the family in front of us would notice the off-beat lyrics. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound" became something like, "Amazing Jake, you have a girlfriend now?" and, "Let there be peace on earth" would flow along the lines of "Let Nate hit a homerun." Most of the time the lyrics would trail off tune and end with everyone laughing as the final note hit.

So if I have a tendency to twist up the lyrics a little bit, well I come by it honestly. And if I am slightly tone deaf, well I come by that honestly too.

But something I DO do well is make Shakshuka. And once you learn how simple it is, you'll be singing about it too! It's a cozy winter meal that's perfect for busy weeknights and great for lazy Sundays. Warm middle eastern spices make the whole house smell like you've been baking all day, when really the dish comes together in a matter of minutes. I've been making mine with duck eggs for an extra special treat, but chicken eggs work just as well. Serve with toasted bread or keep it light and layer it over roasted broccoli. Healthy, hearty, quick, affordable, and delicious- it's pretty much the perfect combination of adjectives and flavors.

Shakshuka Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 1 tsp olive oil 1 red or yellow onion, or a couple of shallots, or why not mix them all. A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (optional) 1 tsp smoked paprika powder 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin 1 handful of fresh herbs like coriander, mint, parsley and basil, chopped (I've been using parsley) 1 can of diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp sriracha (more to taste)

2-3 Tbsp water 4 free range eggs (For duck eggs, check out Parkes Family Produce in Pleasant Plains or Rustic Red Poultry and Produce in Mason City)

1/4 cup feta cheese


1. Chop the onion finely. Oil your pan. Fry the onion on medium heat for 3 minutes while stirring.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes on medium heat.

3. Add plum tomatoes, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, honey, and sriracha. Let it all simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if it starts to burn and dry out.

4. With a spoon, make four little shallow deepenings in the surface, and crack an egg in each. Sprinkle on the feta, cover the pan, and leave the whole loveliness for 5-10 minutes on low heat (depending on how runny you like your yolks).

5. Remove from heat, sprinkle with fresh herbs, and serve with toasty bread.

Recipe adapted from Nourishatelier

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