Thursday, May 29, 2014

dinner inspiration: shakshouka

You know when you hear about something new-to-you and then you start seeing it everywhere? I think, how in the world could I have been so oblivious to this genius creation all these years?! It really makes me think I am missing out on so many things just because I'm not paying enough attention! Well, my latest discovery was shakshouka. A few months ago, Kurt and I had a fantastic dinner in Astoria at The Queens Kickshaw. We were pretty out of our element with the menu and asked the waitress a ton of questions. One dish that piqued our interest and came highly recommended was the Kimchi Shakshouka. It was excellent! The next week, I was at one of my favorite lunch spots and they have it on their menu and I never noticed. Soon after that, I was browsing my cooking blogs and came across this great recipe on TV Dinner. Fine! It's decided. I have to try my hand at making this thing.

I think I've made it twice now (which for me is a lot) and I've come to think of it more as concept as opposed to a recipe. Here are my key points (because I'm certainly bastardizing the original, authentic version) : it's cooked in a pan that has a lid, has a tomato sauce base, there is a special step towards the end*, and you serve it with some carb-like vessel. Here's how my latest shakshouka adventure went down:

Brown some bacon in a cast iron pan.

Add in some onion/shallot and garlic.

Toss in some veggies. This particular day we had zucchini and red peppers on hand.

Once all those bits are browned, pour in some tomato juice and let it cook down forever. At this point you can add a little brown sugar and some cayenne pepper to spice it up. You want the mixture to get pretty thick, so pour yourself a glass of wine (or a second if you cook like me) and wait it out.

*Once the mix is sufficiently thick, the extra important step is to crack some eggs on top. I really like eggs, so normally I would have used as many as I could fit, but I misjudged our inventory and only had three :( Once your desired number of eggs are added, put on the lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes with no peeking.

While the eggs are cooking, artfully arrange some bread/toast/pita and other toppings of your choice on a plate. I don't know how often avocado gets included with shakshouka but I thought it was a great addition, so if you have some on hand, I would strongly suggest adding it. 

Once the eggs are firm, scoop some of the mixture on your bread and top with avocado/any other topping that pleases you. Eat with a fork and knife and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

weekend in review

Ahhhhh. Three day weekends....good for the mind, body, soul, psyche....all of the above. You know what else is good for me? Sunshine and hot temps. I'm willing to overlook the sweat, sunburn, and allergy attacks to celebrate the fact that summer is here and I could not be more thrilled. On this fantastic Memorial Day weekend, we watched some rooftop short films (although rain chased us inside, "C-Rock" was my favorite), did some antique browsing, grilled out in Prospect Park x2, and spent some time soaking up the sun at our favorite rooftop at Brooklyn Bridge Park. I hope your weekends were great as well!

Friday, May 23, 2014

on the hunt: new sheets

1 / 2 / 3 // 4 / 5 // 6 / 7 / 8 // 9 / 10 / 11

Kurt and I have one set of sheets for our bed. His mom got them for us. They're plaid. They're fine. However, lately I've been yearning for something that fits more into our design aesthetic but have been too cheap to invest in another set. I figured Kurt would be totally against it, claiming our current sheets got the job done and it would be silly to waste money just based on looks. Finally, I mentioned the desperate need to Kurt and he totally agreed! He thought I wouldn't want an extra set because I am opposed to superfluous items around our tiny apartment. Communication is our strong suit :) Anyway, now I need to find said sheets. We have this striped duvet from Ikea which would probably go best with a solid color, but I have my sights on a pattern. I think they wear better over time. There aren't a ton of great reasonably priced prints out there (#11 is not even an option even though I like the look), so don't judge that most of my choices are from the kid/teen department. Aren't those bikes awesome?! Which is your favorite? Any sources I'm missing?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

weekend in raleigh, nc

A few weekends ago, Kurt and I went down to Raleigh to visit the Fantes. I had yet to meet their little one, Lila, so I was very excited to spend time with the growing family. Sadly, I didn't take many photos of our activities, so I will try to piece together our weekend as best I can.

There was talk of doing some "work around the house" but somehow I managed to escape that. However, Kurt was not so lucky and offered some plant consultation at the farmers market.

Don't tell the others, but Gracie is my favorite member of the Fante clan.

Kurt was also put to work putting some plants in the ground in the backyard.

We visited the handmade market. Kurt got a "sharrow" print for the apartment and we have our eye on some new pillows made from vintage sacks.

All the Fantes in one shot! And me hiding behind a gate.

Have you heard about the controversial house project that has been halted in one of Raleigh's historic districts? After dealing with so much red tape here in NYC, I was all hot and bothered by the case and am very much on the side to let them finish. Nosy neighbors are the worst.

Pretty downtown houses (not really meant to be commentary on the previous one!).

$5 mimosas at Capital Club 16

Friendly "cyclists" on a biking bar tour of downtown

We hit up the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo in downtown on Sunday. There were tons of trucks and tons of patrons. Kurt and I hung out with a couple beers while people watching before finally choosing a Korean BBQ burrito. We should have tried a few more options but all the lines were pretty long. It was still a fun way to spend the afternoon in the sunshine.  

After a delicious dinner at The Pit, we wandered over to Tasty Beverage Company for some local beers.

Me with Lila and Jen! You have a baby?! In a bar?!

And then we flew back to NYC and straight to work (always seems like a good idea but never pleasant in practice). Thanks so much for hosting us, Jen and Joey! It's been far too long since we've seen you last. So when can I pencil you in for your next trip to NYC? I can probably rustle up some bicycles with baby seats :)

[Thanks for donating photos Jen and Kurt!]

Monday, May 19, 2014

weekend in review

After a rainy week, it was a gorgeous sunny weekend although a little chillier than I would have liked. But isn't that always the case? Kurt and I met up with some friends on Saturday to see the hilarious  Eddie Izzard at the Beacon Theatre. My perfect plans to eat a pre-theater dinner at Jacob's Pickles was thwarted (hour long wait at 6pm?! seriously?!) but it was still a really fun night. The rest of the weekend was filled with circuitous runs in the park, a stop at the food truck rally, and a long bike ride to check in on my much beloved Brooklyn Bridge Park. It's got some great new additions that I plans on frequenting lots and lots and lots over the summer...just as soon as that gets here.

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