Shakshuka and Creamed Spinach Garlic Toast

Let me tell you a story about Shakshuka. I first had Shakshuka in Israel with Matt. Matt and I woke up early one day and explored Tel Aviv, going to the Shook (market), people watching, and just walking around aimlessly. Finally we realized we were lost, and attempted to find our way back to a main road. Stuck in alleyways and on sidestreets, we somehow wound up in a quaint cafe. We were hungry, thirsty, and needed to sit down. So we did. We ordered some coffee and some bread, and some Shakshuka. Not knowing what it was going to be exactly, we were in for a pleasant surprise.

Not only was the Shakshuka so flavorful and filling, it honestly goes down as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

When my sister decided to study abroad in Israel, I couldn’t wait to go back and visit her– and not gonna lie, I also couldn’t wait to taste that Shakshuka once again. One problem. That magical little cafe Matt and I found is in an unknown location. I have no idea where that restaurant resides- and a part of me likes it that way. It will always remain in my mind this fantastic place that will forever bring a smile to my face.

Not to worry though- my sister had another place in mind for some eggplant feta Shakshuka- at Benedicts. And wow- this was amazing as well.

You can’t go wrong with homemade tomato sauce, eggs, herbs, fresh vegetables, and cheese. And crusty bread to mop it all up.

And you can’t go wrong when you have your mom and sister there to enjoy it with you 🙂

Even though my mom nor my sister- nor anyone else for that matter- were with me to enjoy dinner tonight, I decided to recreate these memories in food form. That’s right, I opted for a homemade Shakshuka that by far lived up to my expectations. It was warm, flavorful, and oh so comforting.

I began earlier in the day by roasting some garlic. If you’ve never roasted garlic, it is simple and guaranteed you will love it. Simply cut off the top of a bulb of garlic, place the bulb on a sheet of foil, drizzle some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and wrap it up in the foil. Stick this in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool completely, then just squeeze the garlic out of the garlic skin. Mash it with a spoon, and add a tad more olive oil.

Spread this on some bread, in this case whole wheat French bread, and pop that slice back into the oven for about 5 minutes until nice and toasty. It will smell spectacular.

To add a twist to this garlic bread, I made a very healthy version of creamed spinach.

Sauteed the spinach in olive oil, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Then I added some feta, corn starch, and almond milk. The corn starch (which I now have a bag of since my pumpkin pie called for it as an ingredient) thickens up any sauce. In this case, it thickened the thin almond milk, and formed a sort of cream.

I spooned that spinach mixture atop the garlic bread, and warmed that in the oven for a while.

Okay onto the Shakshuka. At the farmers’ market yesterday I bought a half dozen farm fresh eggs and some shallots and onions.

I sauteed a shallot and an onion with a carrot in some olive oil.

I added a large can of diced tomatoes, then some dried basil and let that simmer for almost 3 hours. The longer you cook this, the better. It’s that kind of thing.

When the sauce is ready, spoon it into an oven safe bowl then crack 2 eggs into it.

…Like so.

Pop that into a 350 oven for a half hour.

Sprinkle some parsley on at the very end.

What you will have will be an incredibly cozy yet still very healthy Shakshuka wannabe- and some delicious crusty toast on the side. I was left very full and so satisfied.

And while I wish my meal was followed by times like this…

I instead created this…

To pair on my wall with the other canvas I made. My room is one step closer to completion.

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