Shakshuka and Jerusalem Bagels

Sorry for the Instagram picture repeat. I typically try to upload different pics to my IG account from the ones I use on the blog but I guess I forgot to take one for the blog. My bad. In my defense,we were trying to wrangle the girls for breakfast while also trying to not knock our food off our tv trays. Up until yesterday, we were eating in the living room off tv trays because we got rid of our old dining set and were waiting on the new set to be delivered. Adding to the frustration, I decided to pull out the Persian rug that James’ stepdad gave us a few years ago. He got it in Iran(q?) over twenty years ago and gave it to us a few years ago when he and James’ mom were moving from San Antonio to Austin. We pulled it up when we decided to potty train the oldest because I did not want to hear “it” if she accidentally peed on an authentic Persian rug.  We were without a table for ten days and let me tell you, with two kids who still manage to get food everywhere, it was not a fun ten days. Having to pull out their play table and our tv trays and then watching what they dropped on the rug, it was annoying.

I know, I know, I lead such a hard life.

Shakshuka and Jerusalem bagels.

A few different people recommended shakshuka to me when they learned about my little project. All I was told was that it involved eggs, tomatoes, and it was really yummy. Reading up on it, I learned that the dish actually didn’t originate in Israel but in Tunisia. However, with the influx of Tunisian Jews in the 1950s, it quickly became a very popular dish in Israel. The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitten. I probably could have used a more authentic Israeli site but the recipe followed all the others I read and I really like Smitten Kitten.

The preparation was really easy and fast. Aside from the feta cheese, I think most people have the ingredients for this meal in their fridge and pantry so you could probably whip this up tonight. And yes, even though it does have eggs in it, you don’t necessarily have to eat it for breakfast; apparently it’s also eaten for dinner in Israel. In flavor, it reminded me of Huevos Rancheros because it’s basically the same thing! Huevos Rancheros obviously doesn’t have feta and uses cilantro instead of parsley but other than that, everything is the same. It was delicious though, I even went back for seconds of just the sauce. The baby ate the eggs and the oldest licked it and asked for crackers. Ugh, that kid…

That kid, annoying as she can be, was pretty helpful when it came to making the bagels. I chose Jerusalem bagels because they are baked, not boiled. For some reason the idea of boiling bread intimidates me, probably because it involves a bit more attention than just chunking something in the oven. The recipe I used was about as straight forward as can be so it made the whole process a less daunting. It took about two hours total but a lot of that time involved the dough rising.

At first the baby was helping me roll out the dough but when the oldest saw she was having fun, the baby got kicked out of the kitchen. I didn’t really mind, she was trying to eat the raw dough and I was getting tired of pulling out wet, sticky dough out of her mouth. Although, when I was cutting the dough into six balls and saw she needed to be entertained, I gave her a bit of dough and showed her how to roll it in her palm. I had a flashback to “helping” my grandmother make tortillas and her giving me my own ball of dough tokeep me out of the way. Thank you for showing me the way, Grandma Lupe.

Anyway, these bagels are hayooge! I am not exaggerating when I say they are as big as my head. They’re also tricky. At first bite, they seem really light so you end up eating an entire bagel. Ten minutes later, your stomach feels like it’s expanded by a few inches and you have problems buttoning your pants. We had a birthday party later that day and even three hours AFTER eating the bagels, we were penguin walking down Rainey Street from being so bloated from the bagels. I actually gave the birthday girl a bagel because I figured it would be a great way to soak up booze after an afternoon of day drinking. Aside from the bagel bloat, they were good. They were sweeter than traditional bagels but, duh, they’re sprinkled with sugar so that was expected.

Out of the three meals we had for Israeli week, I think this was my favorite. Yeah, it was even better than the shawarma. It was kinda like a comfort food and I just loved the ease of the entire meal. I love easy.

Because, like I said earlier, my life is so, so hard.

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