Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'm Not Sure We Can Be Friends

I really do feel like I'm the lone person who has cooked/is cooking from Jerusalem who is experiencing more flops than expected.

A few weeks ago, Tara over at Tea & Cookies blogged about Ottolenghi's Shakshuka (pg 66), which she prepared for guests. On a side note, Tara writes a lovely blog and you should go check it out. She's who I want to be when I grow up: a writer, a grower of abundance, a photographer, a lover of Nature, who gets out and appreciates where she is, in the now. I planted some vegetables this year--that's a step in the right direction.

Anyway, Tara made shakshuka sound pretty awesome, and I'm sure it was, when she cooked it.

Not so much, in my kitchen.

Shakshuka is a fun name for peppers and tomatoes cooked down into a thick sauce with harissa, cumin, tomato paste, and salt. I used a lot less harissa paste than called for. Once again, Ottolenghi instructs for 1 TB. This man must suck on habanero peppers for fun. I put in a dab. It was plenty. Once that's all soft and good-looking, you make divots in the sauce and crack an egg into each divet. Simmer gently for 8-10  minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

I timed my eggs for 8 minutes on the lowest flame my stove could muster. Things looked good when the buzzer rang...
Perfect, right?

No. The yolks were cooked through, and the whites had acquired a disgusting rubbery texture.

Ewwwww. Worst yolk ever.
Couldn't eat the egg. It was gross. I did eat as much tomato and pepper glop on mashed black beans as I could muster. I'm still hungry.

Methinks my time with Yottam is nearing an end. I'm heading to NY in two weeks, so I'll stick with him until then, but I'm no longer itching to cook from this book, beautiful as it may be.

Conclusion: Disliked. A lot.


  1. There is a restaurant up near where I live that makes a dish called "eggs in purgatory" - this wonderful spicy tomato sauce with eggs poached in it. It's like the Italian version of Shakshuka. When the eggs are poached right - it is the most wonderful dish in the world. When they aren't - don't even put it on the table in front of me.

    I don't think its you - even people who make it for a living can't seem to get it right 100% of the time :-) There must be a magical poaching dance that no one is sharing with us...

  2. I just got Plenty by Ottolenghi. I really hope the recipes don't fail me. I'm a little concerned about securing some of the obscure ingredients on the island (pomegranate molasses??). I'll let you know how it goes. It'd be a shame if the recipes didn't work out, the cookbook is gorgeous.