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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Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks

Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks
Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks

It’s the time to honor our Fallen while we celebrate our Freedom. Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer grilling season. It’s a day to balance solemnity with revelry. A day to pay our utmost respect to those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty…we fire up the grill in celebration.

Lean, large, and very flavorful – the cross-section through the center of the hind leg – lamb leg steaks are great for grilling. Appropriately kicking off the year’s grilling season with this bold esoteric cut of lamb…as a prelude to summer adventure around the BBQ!

Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks Recipe 

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Kick Off Summer: Zucchini Quinoa Burgers

IMG_3063 zucchini quinoa burger
Zucchini Quinoa Beef Burgers
Sauteed Zucchini Medallions, Broccoli & Clover Sprouts, Feta Oregano Aioli

Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer grilling season. It’s also the time to honor our Fallen while we celebrate our Freedom. It’s a day to balance solemnity with revelry.

In addition to serving great food and drink at our picnic, we hang the U.S. flag, create a patriotic flower bouquet, and observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM to honor and remember those who have died in service to our nation. Before lighting up the grill, we turn on the television to watch the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, we listen as a lone bugler plays Taps.

With summer on our minds and thinking about balance ~ I thought I would lighten up the burgers with the addition of vegetables, grains, and sprouts. The result was a ground beef burger mixed with loads of shredded zucchini and cooked quinoa, topped with sauteed zucchini medallions and sprouts, plus a flavorful feta aioli. It was surprisingly good and immensely satisfying.

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Gourmet Picnic with Spicy Cold Soba Noodle Salad

gourmet picnic
Gourmet Picnic

Spicy Cold Soba Noodles with Peanut, Scallion, and Cilantro
Radish, Tofu, Shiitake, Carrot, Cucumber, Edamame, Shrimp

Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, a fabulous monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”

The 5 Star Makeover assignment for May is Gourmet Picnic Food, perfect for the Memorial Day holiday. “Take your favorite picnic food for a ride and make something special. Lots of leeway and freedom, you choose the ingredients. Just make sure it is 5 Star.”

My contribution to May’s Picnic is a makeover of the ubiquitous pasta salad. This one is portable, delightfully colorful, bursting with flavor, healthy, and since guests compile the salad themselves can be made vegan (just skip the shrimp).

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