Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

It feels like shakshuka is just all over the blogosphere these days.

Luckily for me, shakshuka is something that actually fits into my diet. Yes, I’m a food blogger on a diet. How about that?

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I guess I should tell you about this diet. It’s called the Dukan Diet — well, my own rendition of it, anyway. The main idea is that you stick to a high-protein diet interspersed with vegetables. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t crave sweets very much anymore, and carbs, well, they will be missed, but I do love protein and veggies.

I say the diet is my own “rendition” because there are two food groups that I simply cannot give up: cheese and cocktails. Yes, they are food groups. I’m just gonna keep it real with you.

This diet started last winter, when I was really amping up the freelance work. So basically, when my social/fitness activities were replaced with sleepless nights and caffeine binges, I realized I needed to change something. Either give up freelance and get back into my running obsession, or change my eating habits. Obviously, I chose freelance and the diet.

Diets get such a bad rep these days. Of course, there are so many negative connotations that do go with them. But to be honest, I like having goals in mind, and guidelines on what’s good and what’s bad and what’s too much and what’s not enough. I weigh myself every day. I’m guilty when I don’t work out, or when I cheat. I cheat more often than I should, and I don’t work out as much as I should. But you know what? The guidelines work for me. I like them.

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

 

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I’ve been making meatballs from a great recipe blog that archives Dukan Diet recipes — and this recipe actually reminds me a lot of the Norwegian meatballs my friend Åse (pronounced oh-sah) made for us one rainy night in Bergen.

So I made a huge batch in the oven, and used a portion of the meatballs for this shakshuka. The original intent was to use the shakshuka for lunch (it packs really well and is a perfect work lunch), but I’ve made it for a couple of dinners and it’s always been a huge hit.

The meatballs are pretty neutral, so they’d go really well in this banh mi recipe, too.

Anyway, enjoy this recipe (especially if you’re on the Sarah Gerrity Dukan protein cheese and cocktail diet). If you have favorite meatball recipes, I’d love to hear some ideas — because I tend to make these ones in double batches for the entire week (or two or three).

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

 

Onion Meatballs, from Dukan it Out

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground turkey
3 green onions,
1 small sweet onion
1 egg
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the green and sweet onions in a food processor, and pulse chop until finely diced. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing with your hands to fully incorporate into a mixture.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick baking spray, and begin rolling the meat mixture into 1.5-inch balls. Space them about 1 inch apart, and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

10-15 onion meatballs
1 jar tomato sauce of choice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-6 eggs (use your judgement)
Olive oil, just a drizzle
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

First, heat a cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Saute your meatballs until the surfaces are a deep golden brown. Then, carefully pour your tomato sauce into the skillet, turning the stove heat to medium-low. If it’s too chunky, add water in 1/4-cup increments until you have a stew-like consistency.

Once the tomato sauce comes to a simmer, use a wooden spoon to create some pockets between the meatballs for your eggs. Crack the eggs one by one into the sauce, and baste the whites with the spoon. Once the whites begin to cook through, sprinkle the skillet with feta and parmesan cheese. Simmer until the eggs are cooke through to the consistency you prefer — I like the yolks runny, but you might want them stiff.

Sprinkle with fresh basil, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa

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Oh, to be a freelancer again.

That extended vacation from Google was quite nice. But… it’s 1:40 am and I still feel like I have a ton of work to do.

Cooking store-bought zucchini isn’t anything like cooking summer squash from the garden, so this definitely brought back some great memories from the house on Capitol Hill. It feels like it’s been ages.

I have a deadline in the morning, but Adriana (the bestie from middle/high school now roommate) and I have a date with Caroline Wright’s Twenty Dollar Twenty-Minute Meals tomorrow. So I need to make sure I have a couple of free hours in the evening to cook a proper dinner!

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So, all that being said, I’m going to refrain from writing a full post tonight. I have a playlist and a fun twist on my own personal comfort food in store for you this week. No more of this letting-weeks-without-blogging escape my grasps.

And hopefully, you’re getting more sleep than I am this week!

I know, I know what you’re thinking. I chose this life. Womp, womp. I did. And I love/hate it (mostly love).

Until tomorrow, you have this: Sara Forte’s shrimp with herbed quinoa. Her book called for cous cous, but I only had quinoa. So we made it work.

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Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa, derived from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook Continue reading “Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Quinoa”

Plum and Marscapone Flatbread, Caramelized Balsamic Glaze

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This might be my favorite set of photos yet.

A couple of weekends ago, Shaeda came over to spend an entire Sunday as my sous chef. The hands you see in these photos are hers. Aren’t they pretty?

I don’t think I can ever spend an entire day cooking without a sous chef ever again. Let me know if you’re interested, because an extra set of hands (and taste buds) in the kitchen really makes my life a lot easier.

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Well, there is only one day and a handful of hours left in this old house. The movers are coming Saturday morning (or so they say…) and I’ll be picking up in an older building in an older, gayer neighborhood.

In usual Sarah-fashion, this week has been unfairly busy. One of my clients sent me their data about a week late, which threw my entire freelance calendar off, which gave me an unexpected week of freedom in exchange for a looming week of hell. Hell was this week.

But as the week winds down, I’ve found solace in pandemonium — mostly thanks to my Thursday yoga “meeting” at the Department of Energy gym. There’s something incredibly soothing about reserving one hour a week to not think about a to-do list or an annual review or a muddled mess of clients. One hour. Just sixty minutes of soothing concentration — on holding a pose, building strength, and personal growth.

At the moment, my life is in boxes. Not everything, but a good chunk of it.

At the moment, there are twelve boxes. There will probably be fifteen by this time Friday night.

But hopefully, Saturday will go smoothly, and I’ll be able to reinstate food blogger Sundays… albeit, from a new home.

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Today, I’ll keep this short. I can’t deny exhaustion, but I just had to share this recipe and my favorite photos to date. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Happy Friday!

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Plum and Marscapone Flatbread, Caramelized Balsamic Glaze, derived from Butter Me Up Brooklyn

Ingredients
1 package active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup warm water (might need more)
1 teaspoon oil

2 ripe plums, sliced thinly (preferably with a mandolin)
4 to 6 oz. marscapone cheese
Cornmeal, for dusting the crust
Fresh basil, sliced

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar

 

Combine yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead on medium until the ingredients form an elastic, smooth dough. That should take about ten minutes. Once that happens, cover the dough in the olive oil, place a kitchen towel over the bowl, and let the dough sit for an hour or so.

Roll the dough out on a clean surface — I kept it to about 1/2 an inch thick. Dust with cornmeal.

Heat your oven’s broiler.

Using a spatula, spread the marscapone on the crust, covering as much as you can. Then, arranged the plum slices, and be careful to not put too much fruit in any particular area. Too much will make your flatbread soggy. With a pastry brush, lightly coat the plums in olive oil.

Broil the flatbread for about 8 minutes, until the crust is crisp. Then, crack the oven door, and switch the oven to bake at 350 degrees. Let the flatbread bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, and then remove the sheet from the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic, honey, and sugar. Reduce over medium heat until syrupy.

Top the flatbread with sliced basil, and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.