Eggs Poached in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I got to wake up to a kitten today…..a little earlier than I had planned on, but the cuteness overload more than made up for it! Our friend bestowed this furry alarm clock upon us last night, and I am too excited to have her. She’s cuddly, playful (bouncing off the walls as I type….), and we have named her Ananda, meaning “Bliss” or “Great Happiness” in Sanskrit. I can’t stop taking pictures of her, because I think everything she does is so damn adorable. I’ll try my best not to turn this into a crazy chronicles-of-the-cat blog, but some of those pictures might sneak themselves in there every now and then 😉

Ananda Kitty
Handsome man, adorable kitty

Something else that gives me great happiness is the kind of breakfast I am going to share with you today. It is inspired by a Middle Eastern/Israeli/North African dish by the name of shakshuka. To simplify things, shakshuka can be described as eggs poached in a spicy vegetable and tomato sauce. I heard about it through other online recipes, such as this one, so I have yet to have it made for me authentically, but it is amazing, and definitely somewhere near the top of my favorite breakfasts list.

PoachedEggsMPR
About to be transformed into creamy, saucy awesomeness!

Once I had made shakshuka, and realized how easy it was (especially if you have leftover sauce or stew in the fridge or freezer), I started to experiment with similar preparations. I poached my eggs in leftover pasta sauce, I poached my eggs in a brussel sprout and celery hash, I poached my eggs in a chickpea stew…..the list goes on. Today, I chose to use sauce I made for our farfalle d’Arrabiata last night. For the sauce, I honestly just sauteed garlic in olive oil, added red pepper flakes, a can of San Marzano tomatoes with basil (plus some kale towards the end), and let it simmer while vegetables roasted and pasta was made. So, I don’t have an exact measured recipe for it. But please use this post as a foundation and build upon it to make your own creation, based on your own preferences, or whatever you have lying around the house. This meal can definitely work as a lunch or dinner too, if you’re so inclined. I suggest you serve it up with some crusty bread, or on top of a bowl of couscous. It is rich, simple, and memorable. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!!

 Eggs Poached in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 2

2 C Sauce (follow my loose guidelines for Arrabiata if you want, use leftovers, use store-bought, whatever sounds good to you!)

4 Eggs

Crusty Bread or Couscous for serving

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

1. Heat up the sauce in a medium-large skillet (with a lid) on medium heat (if using leftover sauce), then reduce to a simmer once heated through. Don’t cover the skillet yet.

2. Make 4 wells for the eggs by pushing a spoon down in each area for the egg.

3. Carefully crack the 4 eggs into each well.

4. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.

5. Cover and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the whites of the eggs are just set but the yolk is still runny (this is an important part of the dish, the yolks meld into the sauce and make it creamy and super tasty when you cut into them!).

6. Serve up immediately, with bread, couscous, or on its own 🙂

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Coconut Crusted French Toast

I don’t know when I started liking french toast, but I am so glad I finally hopped on that train. When I was a kid, I feel like everyone’s favorite breakfast was french toast. I was always more of a waffle or pancakes kind of girl, but, I did not like french toast. Needless to say, when friend’s parents would make it the next morning at sleepovers, I was not very pleased. Anyway, many years have passed, and at some point I decided I would try it out again. Although its still not usually my go-to indulgent breakfast, I can now say I like french toast, and am always pleasantly reminded when I have it.

For whatever reason, I’ve really been craving it in the past couple of days. My favorite part of french toast is the contrast of the crispy edges with the soft insides. I love how the outside starts to caramelize, while the inside gets kind of spongy and delicious. I knew that I wanted to make sure this would be the highlight of this meal when I made my own this morning, so I used a coconut coating to amp up the crust and give it a little extra texture.

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So pretty I almost don’t want to eat it…..for about 2 seconds.

The shredded coconut gets crunchy while it fries up in the coconut oil, and turns a gorgeous golden color. Although I’ll eat just about anything if it tastes good, it gets extra points if its beautiful too. To add in my first daily dose of fruit, I chose bananas as the perfect counterpart to the coconut. I ended with a dusting of coconut palm sugar*. You can skip this if you really want, but as you can see from the picture below, the coconut palm sugar melts right into the honey, banana, and coconutty goodness, and it tastes just as fabulous as it looks. It has a low-glycemic index, contains B vitamins, and minerals. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do!

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Coconut sugar on the bananas, almost too much!

*I have heard about some controversy pertaining to palm oil and palm sugar. Palm oil is known to have been made in unsustainable ways, damaging to our own environment as well as orangutans’, namely in Malaysia and Indonesia. In my understanding, palm sugar comes from an entirely different palm species. From what I can tell, the extraction of palm oil seems to be a very detrimental practice to the land and species in these areas, while the sustainable cultivation of palm sugar is in part being used as an effort to create jobs for locals and can be grown without deforestation. Just wanted to clear that up, so we can enjoy our breakfast without supporting that kind of mistreatment to our mama Earth 🙂

Coconut Crusted French Toast

Serves 2

4 slices Rustic Bread (I used a whole grain wheat bread from our farmer’s market)

2 Eggs

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (I just used enough to cover a plate, you can add more as necessary)

3/4 C Almond Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

2 Bananas

Coconut Oil (for frying)

Coconut Palm Sugar (for dusting)

Raw Organic Honey (you could use grade A maple syrup here if you want, I’m just addicted to honey)

1. Pour the shredded coconut onto a plate and spread it out evenly.

2. Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a shallow bowl that is big enough to fit the bread you will be dipping into it.

3.  Heat a large pan to medium-heat.

4. Dunk each slice of bread into the liquid mixture (you want the bread to be saturated through, but not so soaked its falling apart. Happy medium!).

5. Lay the slices of bread onto the plate of coconut, and turn onto both sides. If there are areas that the coconut does not stick to, just take some from the side and pat down into the bread so it sticks.

6. Add coconut oil to hot pan, then add the slices and flip halfway through.

7. The french toast is ready when both sides have turned golden brown, and crispy on the edges. Check out the bottoms while cooking to make sure neither side gets burnt.

8. Drizzle with honey, top with bananas, dust with sugar and eat up!

(adapted from popsicles & pinatas)