Brunch Time: Shakshuka

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This Tunisian shakshuka is something everyone with a blog was making a few years ago.  I had it on my “must-make” list a while back and it just sort of languished on it and never got made.  And this past weekend, we were having company for brunch and the hubby decided to make it.  I usually object to his choices on what to make, but for once we actually agreed. :)

First things first, the name – shakshuka – is so much fun to say, and of course the jokers in our family keep repeating it in different tones and voices.  Secondly, this is one of those dishes where the sum of the parts in far greater than what goes into it.  It’s simple yet impressive due to the bold colors.  The smokey paprika makes the dish and should not be substituted.  In fact, in our kitchen, these days, paprika is sort of the spice of the month.  One slight screw up we had that took the dish from an A+ to a B was that the egg yolks got over-cooked.  So stay on top of it, and make sure the yolks are runny.  Truly a thing of beauty for company, or even just yourselves for Sunday brunch.

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Community Dinner at 18 Reasons: Vegetable Korma

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We recently suggested taking the family for the Community Dinner at 18 Reasons as part of our “Dinner Club” series.  When you just don’t want to cook dinner, it is a good idea to have some fun, unfussy and quick places on your list to take the kids for dinner.

18 Reasons’ monthly Community Dinner is the perfect place for a quick and inexpensive dinner.  This coming Wednesday, we are making a delicious vegetable korma, basmati rice, raita and red onion pickle for the Community Dinner.  Plus, it is a fundraiser and the $10 you pay per plate goes to their wonderful Cooking Matters program.  So skip cooking and join us at 18 Reasons between 6-8 pm – just drop in or RSVP here:)

 

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! We’re off to enjoy the day with family (and most likely eat too much chocolate!). In honor of my favorite day to eat chocolate, I wanted to share a sketchy rendition of  an ultra cool Easter egg tableaux by photographer Sam Hofman, and a neat little video showing how they handcraft fancy chocolate eggs at Fortnun & Mason, London.

Sam Hofman Easter Chocolate Tableaux

[A link to Sam Hofman's Tumbler site -- soooo cool. Here's the chocolate image which I especially love.]

 

 

Shrimp Curry in A Hurry Revisited

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This is a beyond simple curry – one that we featured in a slightly different form when we first started this blog (that seems like AGES ago).  We are fans of shrimp curry (and beer) and this mild and quick curry is a go-to at our house.  We featured this recently in the San Jose Mercury and got a very nice comment from a reader that made our day.  Stacie and I love hearing that someone tried our recipe and loved it. :)

Personally, I like a fiery, burning-hot, raging shrimp/seafood curry, but this is not that curry.  Sometimes, when the little one is eating something else and I am cooking only for adults, I am known to way spice this up with red chilli flakes, green chillies and even some red curry paste and more of all the spices below.  And then I love watching the hubby sweat.  If you are a lover of hot food, I urge to to take this basic/mild (but tasty) curry up a notch!

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Bay Leaf Kitchen & Elianna’s Minted Spring Pea Dip

Elianna's Minted Spring Pea Dip

Image: Bay Leaf Kitchen

Simran and I have found a foodie soulmate in Elianna Friedman. In addition to being the woman behind CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program, she’s an inspired chef, seasonal food goddess and a wonderful teacher. She’s doing some really, really cool stuff to engage kids in learning about where food comes from and eating with the seasons which we wanted to share …. and she also passed along this tasty recipe to celebrate spring: an easy dip that combines pea shoots, mint and cool tangy yogurt. I’ve got some enthusiastic dippers in my family and we can’t wait to make this one!

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Snack Time: Chilli Cheese Toasties

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We are currently addicted to this “Indian” variation of a simple grilled cheese sandwich.  It’s always fun to take something familiar and mix it up just a little bit.  We enjoyed these cheese toasts recently before a family hike and they kept us satisfied as we got some exercise and fresh air.  It was also a fun little cooking project with the little one.  For kids, feel free to omit the chillies altogether – the tomatoes, onions and herbs are enough of a twist.  Another thing we like about this recipe is that you can make multiple cheese toasts at one time by using a sheet tray and the oven, versus slaving over each grilled cheese over the stove.  This is the perfect after school snack for a playdate.

Next time we make these, we are going to try different types of cheeses – goat cheese, gruyere, mozzarella or perhaps even some fontina.  Or maybe even a variety of leftover cheeses that seem to always languish in our fridge.  Another yummy addition could be finely chopped colorful bell peppers.

A throwback to my childhood that I had forgotten all about…excited to have it back :)!
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Sharing Cool Finds & Fun Things To Do: Mommy Nearest App

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I often get texts from Simran with mouth watering pictures of some yummy treat her family’s discovered (often involving chocolate, I’ve noticed!) and I’m sure you can tell that we both have a lot of fun sharing our favorite foodie finds here on this blog. My cravings start kicking in at the mere thought of Arizmendi’s Coconut Croissants, Wise Son’s Chocolate Babka, Nordic House’s Roast Beef Sandwich, Beauty Bagel’s Montreal-Style Bagels, Two Ladies’ Mochi ……. I could go on and on and on! We love the idea of finding new ways to share discoveries & recommendations and so for the next few months we’ll be sharing reviews, picks and recommendations via an app that’s launching here in the Bay Area this month called Mommy Nearest (they’re also in NYC, Chicago and Boston).

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The Mommy Nearest app is all about  making it easier for busy parents to find the good stuff while they’re on the go: kid-friendly activities, dining, shopping. You can browse  a map to see what’s nearby or search for specific things and then see what other parents think or add your own review to the mix. I could see this being pretty useful both at home and on the road (finding a cool park to run around in before meeting friends for lunch, getting the inside scoop on local favorites when you’re on vacation, finding spots with patios or easy parking) and this is definitely a handy tool for refreshing  those lists of fun things to do with the kiddos as summer approaches.

Try out the app, it’s free and available here. We’re looking forward to checking out your picks and tips!

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