Southwest-Style Shakshuka with Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Shakshuka, the breakfast/lunch dish that originated in Tunisia that’s wildly popular in Israel, is a perfect brunch item. It is easy to prepare in a single pan but takes a bit more time than weekday fried eggs and toast. The skillet doubles as the serving dish, and makes a terrific presentation on the buffet.

This now-global egg and tomato skillet dish has many incarnations – made with a myriad of ingredients such as sausage, feta, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices depending on geography and the seasons.

Epazote in garden

Inspired by my garden overflowing with epazote, I decided to make shakshuka with a Southwestern influence. Epazote is often paired with beans for its natural carminative properties. The saw-toothed epazote leaves give the shakshuka a unique aroma and flavor. I have fallen in love with this herb and its intriguing bouquet which is strangely reminiscent of, if you can believe it, kerosene. Here, spicy tomato sauce is simmered with pinto beans and epazote, then topped with eggs. Once cooked, the whole thing is garnished with avocado slices, cilantro and scallions.

Smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream

It can be served on its own or as tacos with smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream.

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

For the Memorial Day holiday, try this vegetarian shakshuka for brunch, and save the meat for a big barbecue later in the day.

Memorial Day

My Memorial Day

Every year at the end of May, it is our duty to honor those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty. Simultaneously we celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the official start of the summer grilling season. So in addition to serving awesome grilled foods and refreshing drinks, we proudly display the American flag and observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM to honor and remember those who have died in service to our nation. We turn on the television to watch the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and we listen with respect as a lone bugler plays the languid 24-note melancholy bugle call known as Taps.

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
Abraham Lincoln

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy

“Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies and speeches. Throughout America today, we honor the dead of our wars. We recall their valor and their sacrifices. We remember they gave their lives so that others might live.”
Ronald Reagan

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Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos with Epazote

First in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos

green chard shiitake tacos, epazote
Garlicky Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos
Seared Onion, Cana de Cabra Spanish Goat Cheese, Chiffonade of Epazote
Corn & Whole Wheat Blend Tortilla, Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

It was worth a drive down to the Bestway Supermercado to pick up fresh epazote for these extraordinario vegetarian tacos. These tacos are not your traditional tacos sans carne. This flavor profile stands on its own. In fact, the addition of chicken or pork or steak couldn’t improve on their fresh earthy robust sabor. 

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Black Calypsos and Epazote

Heirloom Beans: The Black Calypso
Chiffonade of Epazote
Olive Oil, Garlic, Mexican Lime Juice, Kosher Salt

The epazote used in the previous post, Beef Short Ribs with Poblanos, seemed to spark some curiosity. This Mexican herb with usage that dates back to the Aztecs rocks! I keep putting it up to my nose to inhale the wonderful strange aroma. In this bean dish, I cut it into a chiffonade, just like I would with basil.
The best way to keep epazote fresh is in a mug with water in the refrigerator, and trim the stems first. The bunch pictured here was all wilted in the market, but perked up overnight with this storage method.

Black Calypso Heirloom Beans are also known as orcas or yin yang beans. Some say they taste like a baked potato. With that in mind, the next time I make them, I’m going to finish with butter, sour cream and chives. If you are a fan of heirloom beans, you might like this Yellow Eye Bean recipe too.
Perhaps you’ve participated in Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook’s Legume Love Affair event? February marks the Eighth hosting. I am sending my Black Calypsos over to Susan along with hearty congratulations for her on-going super successful event. Oh, plus this month there is a special bonus, Cynthia Nelson’s terrific new cookbook My Caribbean Cooking Tastes Like Home will be awarded as a prize. Bean aficionados, come join us in all the fun!

When the Black Calypsos are cooked they turn to shades of brown, but retain their markings. I soaked the beans for several hours, rinsed, then cooked them in water with a bay leaf. I find it important to taste several beans to determine if the batch is cooked properly. Once cooked, the beans were drained of any excess moisture. Meanwhile I warmed up a good amount of olive oil and added plenty of minced garlic. The garlic cooked for about a minute. The beans were added back to the pot and tossed gently. The dish is finished with a squeeze of Mexican lime juice, a sprinkling of Kosher salt, and a chiffonade of epazote.

Carnitas on Corn Tortillas
Black Calypsos with Epazote
Salsa Verde
This simple bean dish is interesting enough to stand on its own. The ingredients would work great with any kind of bean. And here, Black Calypsos with epazote added another dimension to a pork taco.
OK…I’ve been humming a tune all day. I don’t think I’ve heard it in years, decades maybe. All it took were some beans to resurrect it from my memory banks. Written by John Denver in 1975, Calypso is a tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his famous marine conservation research vessel Calypso. Have a listen.
To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of the wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and the living
In search of the answers to questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing
Part of beginning to understand

CHORUS
Aye Calypso
The places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso
I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you
So long and so well

Like the dolphin who guides you
You bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide
And free as a wind-swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Do you remember Aye Calypso?