garlic

Shakshusha - a simple & satisfying breakfast dish at last

Breakfast is often my most perplexing meal of the day. Still half-asleep I roll out of bed at 6AM sharp to a house full of screams of “MAMA!” Oliver is a morning person unlike the rest of the household. Even our dog, Ralphie, won’t stroll into the kitchen before 9AM.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It breaks my heart when I hear people say they DON’T EAT BREAKFAST! Breakfast sets the tone of the rest of the day and for me, cereal just doesn’t cut it, a yogurt is not enough. I need my breakfast to be fulfilling & delicious. I’m a big fan of preparing my breakfast the night before and putting it in the oven in the morning giving me time to doquick yoga routine (if the boys are cooperating that day). But there are only so many things you can make ahead and sometimes a freshly cooked breakfast is what your body needs. I came across this Israili recipe and it looked so intimidating and time-consuming, I didn’t even give it a try. However, it kept popping up in my facebook feed from cooking groups and pinterest and emails and I just thought it was a sign. This recipe was stalking me, it was BEGGING me to try it and how glad I did. It is SUPER simple, SUPER delicious, SUPER filling and SUPER customizable.

This is a basic, simple shakshuka recipe, not spicy and kid friendly. For variety, different ingredients can be added to the tomato base—jalapenos, green chilies, parsley, red pepper flakes, or anything else that sounds tasty to you. I sprinkled my shakshusha with nutritional yeast and served it with a side of Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut (not pictured here, but did I tell you my latest fascination with Farmhouse Culture’s variety of Sauerkraut? OMG, they are just so delicious! I eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner). Use your imagination!

Serves: 4 (2 adults + 2 kids)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Himalayan Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding that day)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped dill or parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • a spoon full of sauerkraut. Get fancy with flavors like Smoked Jalapeno, Spicy Wakame Ginger Kimchi or my favorite Horseradish Leek.
  • side of lox

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add chopped onion to a deep, large skillet or sauté pan with grapeseed oil, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Sprinkle some turmeric and the onions become this beautiful golden color and are infused with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
  • Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
  • COVER THE PAN! Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes on LOW, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

Scoop onto plates divided, garnish with some fresh dill or parsley, nutritional yeast, side of lox and some sauerkraut and you’ve got yourself a winning breakfast that will keep you full all the way until lunch.

What's your favorite breakfast dish?

Honey & Dill Salmon

salmon
salmon

I absolutely LOVE salmon. I crave it! And if I could eat it every day, I totally would. It is so versatile too; you can have it for breakfast as lox on toast, for lunch on a salad or for dinner as a main dish. You can make it once and eat throughout the day or week. It's just simply amazing and the best thing it is SOOO simply to make.

And did we talk about salmon's benefits?

It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) but it is their content of omega-3 fatty acids that receives the most attention. And in case you forgot what omega-3's are, they are these are essential oils (EPA and DHA) that contribute to healthy brain function ,the heart and the joints.

Now, there is always a lot of debate regarding whether to buy farmed or wild. To tell you the truth my opinion has been swayed towards wild for a while, because of all the bad rep farmed fish has gotten. But then I dug deeper into this and found out that buying farmed fish may not be so bad, because responsible farmers  set high standards for their farmed salmon; and I think it tastes milder, but it is recommended to vary your options between wild and farmed.

So here is the recipe for this amazing salmon:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs salmon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or more! I love garlic for its taste and health benefits)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves (or you can use dried dill weed)
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper
  • Place salmon onto prepared baking sheet and fold up all 4 sides of the foil. Spoon the honey mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon, covering completely and sealing the packet closed.
  • Place into oven and bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with some more fresh dill and prepare for an orgasm in your mouth!

Kale with Lemon & Garlic

kale-lemon-garlic.jpg

You couldn't get any healthier than these 3 ingredients, especially if you saute it in coconut oil. This healthy recipe is sure to have you craving for more! TIP: Lemon juice helps increase absorption of iron in greens, like kale, so if you can splash a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice on ALL your greens from now on, AWESOME!

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls kale
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • a little olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more if you are a huge garlic fan, like myself!)
  • a little lemon zest juice of half a lemon

Directions

  • Wash the greens and set them aside. Bring a pan of water to a boil, salt it lightly, and cook the greens for no longer than a minute or two. They must retain their crispness and vigor. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, warm the coconut oil in a shallow pan, peel and crush the garlic, and add it to the pan with coconut oil. Add a little grated lemon zest (a couple of teaspoons should suffice), then, squeeze in the lemon juice.
  • Lower in the greens and toss them gently in the hot, lemony garlic oil. Serve immediately and enjoy!

The goodness of garlic

some fresh garlic from the garden

some fresh garlic from the garden

Did you know garlic is considered an herb? Garlic has been a staple in my household since I was a little girl and being Russian, garlic is an important ingredient for many Russian dishes. I love it raw, cooked, baked and any other way it can be made, but I know many people who hate the smell and taste of garlic. Now, let's think about all the health benefits garlic brings and rethink our choice. Garlic smell and taste can be easily masked without you even knowing it's there, for example with raw honey, but your body will reap the benefits.

For one, garlic is known for its antioxidant protection. Its warming, pungent flavor makes it a stimulant to the immune system. It has been used as a remedy for coughs, colds and flus. Garlic lowers fever by promoting sweating which eliminates toxins from the body.

Garlic is on the top of the list for minor irritations such as dandruff (this was news to me!), flatulence aka gas, and insect bites.

The herb also elevates good HDL cholesterol and lowers the bad LDL cholesterol.

However raw garlic contains the highest content of active ingredient, hence it's best medicinally. But when it's cooked, the chemistry changes and it offers other benefits.

Raw garlic produces a compound known as allicins that can help to protect against cancer and heart disease. However, when you cook garlic, allinase becomes inactivated, preventing the production of allicin. Still, it may be possible to prepare cooked garlic with allicin levels similar to raw garlic. 

A report by Science Daily explains that if raw garlic is first chopped and then allowed to sit for 45 minutes it can produce allicin. Use this awesome garlic press to peel & press your garlic

If you are considering taking the easy, lazy route by taking a garlic capsule, think again! The more processing garlic undergoes (which it does in the process of making a capsule out of it), the more health-giving benefits are destroyed.

According to Pat Crocker, author of The Healing Herbs Cookbook (Robert Rose, 1999), one clove of raw garlic provides about 6 grams of protein, 29 mg of calcium, 202 mg of phosphorous, 529 mg of potassium and 15 mg of vitamin C. Garlic also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, natural sugars, the nucleic acid adenosine and trace minerals such as copper, germanium, iron, manganese, selenium, tin and zinc.

My most favorite way to prepare garlic is cut the top of it off, wrap the whole thing in foil, splash some olive oil inside the bulb. Put it in the oven preheated to 400F and bake for 40-1hr.  It pops right out of the bulb and is soft, creamy and delicious. You can even make a garlic dip with it. Add some sour cream to it, some chives and mmmm yummy and healthy dip!

Or check out this simple Kale & Garlic Saute