It’s only taken 8 years, but welcome to the new and improved BUSYINBROOKLYN site! I’ve modernized the design, cleaned up some of the old junk and here we are! Clean, simple, and dare I say millennial? That’s my new favorite word!
I would love to hear your feedback on how you like it and if there is anything I can do to improve the design! Leave a comment below to let me know!
The new blog style may be streamlined and fresh, but the food here is just what you’re used to. Fun new recipes with a twist!
If you’re a regular around here, you know that date & nut bites are my all time favorite snack – and these will look familiar. I’ve made these marzipan flavored ones in the past, and if you’re lucky enough to own my cookbook, you’ve probably tried the much-loved pecan pie bites that are a family staple.
If that’s not enough, I’ve also made them into fun hamantaschen and gingerbread truffles. And I’m testing other flavors as we speak. Because (repeat after me) DATE NUT BITES ARE THE WORLD’S GREATEST SNACK.
Ferraro Rawcher Bites
YIELD: approximately 25 bites
18 plump medjool dates, pitted
6oz. (1 heaping cup) hazelnuts, plus extra for garnish
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Maldon sea salt flakes, optional, for finishing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 12-15 minutes until the skins start to crack. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and roll them around to remove the skins. Cool completely.
Add the dates, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt to a food processor and blend until nuts are finely chopped and evenly distributed – the mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
Form the “dough” into small balls and press a hazelnut into the center, flattening it.
Place the chocolate chips into a Ziploc freezer bag and place in a mug or glass measuring cup. Pour boiling water over the bag and let it sit until the chocolate melts completely. Snip off the corner of the bag and drizzle the bites with chocolate. Finish with Maldon salt.
NOTE: These bites freeze great and can also be eaten frozen.
If a food could be my spirit animal, that food would be shakshuka. It’s versatile. Colorful. Sweet. Spicy. Photogenic. And oh. so. delicious. Don’t we all just want to be like shakshuka?
Well I’ll tell you what. We all want to at least be like a decently cooked one. I was reminiscing about my seminary days in Israel recently, and I was telling my Shabbat guests about the foods they used to serve us. This dish of rubbery eggs cooked in tomato sauce came back to me, and I finally realized, so many years later, that that was my first shakshuka experience. And what a bad one it was!
I don’t know why our Israeli chef couldn’t make a decent pot of the stuff. Maybe it’s because he was making it on a larger scale. Or maybe he was afraid of giving us salmonella. But those eggs…man where they rubbery. I think it was everyone’s least favorite lunch. Whenever shakshuka was served, we’d fill our bowls with Israeli soup croutons and eat them like cereal and milk, with just a splash of soup. It’s no wonder I put on 15 pounds that year!
Fast forward many years (I won’t date myself!) and I was eating at some Israeli restaurant. I went for the shuka and I was hooked. I forgot all about my rubbery egg days and the rest is history! I’ve been putting my own twists on the classic Israeli dish ever since.
I’m not so sure the Israelis would back me up on my varied interpretations of shakshuka, they’re purists when it comes to their food. They like their hummus straight up with tahini, their falafel without the fanfare, and their lemonana with strictly lemon and mint. Of course I go and trash up all their traditions with things like chestnut hummus, falafel latkes and strawberry limonana but that’s just my thang.
I’ve done the shakshuka thing in so many different variations. I cooked it up with a matbucha base, always make my quick and easy marinara base, I even stuffed it into a portobello, and tried a lightened up version with spaghetti squash. There was also the chickpea one, the zoodle one, and that beet and goat cheese one that Amy guest posted after my baby was born. So yes, I’ve rode that shakshuka train to breakfast glory and back! But THIS. This is next-level shakshuka. This is the best. freakin. shakshuka. I. have. ever. eaten.
When I started cooking this dish, I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily adaptable the Israeli flavors were to Mexican cuisine, where cumin and chili peppers play a pivotal role. I threw in some chili powder, jalapenos and black beans, but the real star is the quinoa. It makes this dish so hearty, you don’t even need to eat it with pita (oh yes I said it. No pita. Please don’t come after me Israeli food police).
I was putting the finishing touches on this dish when my husband surprised me by coming home in between meetings. I was so happy I had what to feed him, and he just kept coming back for more because it’s just. that. good. We polished off this skillet in no time and I’m already dreaming about making it again.
As for the bygone shakshuka of my past, I’m happy to say I have mastered the art of the perfect runny-egg shakshuka. May those rubbery eggs rest in peace.
In the meantime, I’m already dreaming up another shakshuka variation. I’m thinking something picante with eggplant. What do you say?
Have you ever put a fun spin on shakshuka? What’s you favorite version? Share it with me in the comments below!
Have an eggscellent day!
Mexishuka (Mexican Quinoa Shakshuka)
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1/2 large red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese
handful of cilantro
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until the onion is golden and tender. Add the cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and continue to saute for a minute or so. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the black beans and the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked through. Using a spoon, create five wells in the sauce and carefully fill them with eggs. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the eggs and garnish with cilantro.
I keep waiting for life to get a bit less hectic. When baby #5 came five weeks early this summer, life turned upside down. We thought we had everything all worked out. We were spending July in upstate New York and planned to return for the second month of the summer, so I’d be near the hospital for my late-August due date. Instead, we drove for two+ hours in the wee of night while I labored in the front seat hoping that my water wouldn’t break! Alas, we made it to the hospital with more than enough time, because my labor lasted 24 hours. You just never know.
My husband packed up all our stuff from the country (we all know how that went), and I started looking for an extra hand to help with the kids while I nursed my preemie around the clock. Slowly but surely, things began to fall into place. The kids transitioned to their new summer arrangements, I found an awesome girl to help out, and I rested up at my Mom’s house. But then camp ended. And school was two weeks away. And we had all the holidays coming, so I needed to buy holiday clothes, uniforms, school supplies and all that New Year stuff that is just. so. hectic. Once that all died down, I started to plan for my son’s Upshernish, a ritual hair-cutting ceremony observed when a Jewish boy turns three, and thus formally begins his Torah education. I spent weeks prepping and planning, made my very first fondant cake and other desserts which I froze in advance. I lined up a caterer, entertainment, got us all in coordinating outfits and booked the photographer. Alas, the big day arrived (which we celebrated this week), and thankfully it all worked out beautifully. We chopped off my son’s beautiful blond curls, sharing and celebrating with friends and family.
Now that the upshernish is behind us, I woke up this morning thinking, OK, now let me just take a breather. But then I opened my calendar and saw all the trillions of things I had lined up (many of which I had pushed off because I was too busy planning the party) …and I realized…life is not going to get any less hectic. This is it. I’ve got five kids. I’ve got recipes to test. Demos to work on. Articles to write. Shopping and homework and Dr.’s appointments and PTA and laundry and diapers to change and babies to feed…..and…….and……yes. I’ve got so much. I’ve got so much.
So instead of fighting my hectic schedule, I’ve decided to embrace it. And instead of wishing for a break, I’m going to find little tidbits of calm amid the chaos. Small moments to savor a hot cup of coffee, and to realize that breastfeeding is not a chore, but a time to bond with my adorable baby and dinner with friends is not just another thing to do on my calendar, but a time to take a break and actually enjoy the moment!
Today is hectic. And tomorrow will be too. But I am forever thankful for it. Happy Thanksgiving!
I’ve been trying to clean up my diet the past couple of weeks (so I could fit into my dress for the upshernish!) and whenever I’m looking to debloat, I try and go Paleo (or Whole30!). The natural, unprocessed food really helps me get back to a healthy way of life and just makes me feel better. These amazing grain-free chocolate muffins have literally saved me on mornings when I am desperate for a little something to eat with my date-sweetened, coconut-milk coffee. They’re so rich and fudgy that my kids actually think of them as a special treat, instead of a healthy one!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Paleo diet or reading about my 30-Day Meal Plan, visit this page!
1 medium ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
heaping 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of salt, optional (use if your almond butter is unsalted)
1/3 cup chocolate chunks
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
Add all the ingredients besides for the chocolate chips and pecans to a blender and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full with batter and top with pecans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.
Yield: 6-8 muffins. (I always double the recipe!)
TIP: These muffins are best served after they have set for a few hours, or overnight, when they turn rich and fudgy.
NOTE: These muffins freeze great so make a triple batch, wrap them individually and save for a hectic morning!
I’m super excited to start off my guest posts with a recipe by the talented, creative and adorable Amy from WhatJewWannaEat! Amy and I met through the close-knit kosher blogging community and we share a love of creating fun twists on traditional Jewish foods. Amy is all about putting the JEW in everything, and her bagel posts on Insta always make me hungry! The girl knows the way to my heart (or should I say, my stomach?) ‘cuz she put her own spin on one of my all time favorite dishes, shakshuka! I can’t wait to cook up this dish, and with the Nine Days upon us, there’s no better time to Jew it. (see what I did there Amy?!)
If you want to win a copy of Amy’s soon-to-be-released cookbook, Sweet Noshings, plus a bonus gift from ModernTribe, don’t forget to enter my GUEST BLOGGER CONTEST! More details here.
Shalom, y’all! I’m Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat, and I’m pumped to share a recipe over on Busy in Brooklyn today. On WJWE, I blog about modern takes on classic Jewish recipes, like Sumac Roasted Salmon or Chocolate Cardamom Halvah, and my first cookbook Sweet Noshings comes out in just a few weeks! I am also the owner of ModernTribe, an online shop for fun Jewish gifts. So I’m busy, but not as busy as Chanie. I’m impressed how she cares for five children all while running her popular blog and doing numerous cooking demos. So I was thrilled to help out when she asked me to guest post on BIB.
Chanie is an expert at using ingredients in surprising ways (Corndog Hamantaschen anyone?), and I love how she incorporates healthy elements into so many of her recipes. With it being the Nine Days, I wanted to create a healthy, hearty and dairy dish to share with y’all. Chanie has made a few versions of shakshuka over the years, so I thought I would offer my own! I love taking classic favorites, and putting my own twist in them, so I added earthy beets, kale and tangy goat cheese for lots of added color and nutrients to your basic shakshuka (which I also love). If you try this recipe, I’d love to see it over on Instagram!
Beet, Kale and Goat Cheese Shakshuka
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups beets (can be a mix of yellow and red), peeled and diced
¼ cup white onion, diced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced (or 1 ½ 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes)
1 cup kale leaves, packed
¼ cup goat cheese
3-6 eggs (up to you!)
Cilantro for garnish
Crusty bread or pita for dipping
In a large sauté or cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in beets and onion with ½ teaspoon of salt and sauté for 5-6 minutes until slightly soft. Then add in garlic and sauté for one more minute.
Add in cumin and red pepper flakes and stir. Then add in tomatoes and simmer uncovered until sauce is thick and beets are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add more salt if desired. Then add in kale and stir to wilt.
Crack eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then gently pour each one into an egg-sized hole you make in the shakshuka, evenly spaced around the pan. This method helps the eggs keep their shape. Simmer eggs for about 5 minutes until the whites are just set. They will continue to cook from the heat of the pan.
Dollop with goat cheese, garnish with cilantro, and serve with crusty bread right out of the pan!
In continuation from yesterday’s post for savory plantain tortillas, I bring you some sweet ones! You can read the previous post on more about what plantains are, and to see more step by step pics of the tortilla making process!
These sweet tortilla crepes are made with plantains, and the addition of coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. They’re great for breakfast or dessert, and best of all, they’re egg-free!
If you’re eating these over Passover, chances are, you’ve had eggs for breakfast, or you plan to have it for lunch or dinner. So having an egg-free meal option is a must-have! Of course you can make these a tad healthier by filling with nut butter and fresh fruit, but homemade nutella is nut butter too. It’s just chocolate hazelnut nut butter ;)
If you’re not into the tortilla crepe idea, use your own potato starch + egg variation, but you must try my homemade nutella and other fillings, especially the maple candied pecans. Happy Passover!
Nutella Crepes with Sweet Plantain Tortillas
Sweet Plantain Tortillas
2 plantains, peeled and cut into chunks (about 10oz.)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (any lightly flavored oil may be substituted)
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on the ripeness of your plantains)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
Place the plantains, oil, water, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a food processor or blender and puree until it forms a smooth batter. If the batter is very thick, add a bit more water. Spread 1/4 cup of batter at a time on a parchment-lined baking sheet and smooth with a spoon into a round tortilla shape (you should be able to fit 3 on a sheet). Continue with remaining batter on additional baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until soft and pliable. Makes about 5 tortillas.
NOTE: tortillas are best when used fresh but they can be refrigerated and rewarmed in a microwave or oven until soft and pliable.
1 14oz. can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
1-2 tablespoons sweetener, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Carefully remove the can of coconut milk from the refrigerator without shaking it. Open the can and use a spoon to carefully remove the thick layer of coconut cream from the top of the can. Transfer it to your mixing bowl. (Do not use the layer of coconut water that has settled to the bottom of the can.) Beat the coconut cream on medium speed for 2-4 minutes, or until the cream becomes light and fluffy and small peaks form. Add in your sweetener and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.
Maple Candied Pecans
8 oz. raw pecans (about 2 cups)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the coconut oil and brown sugar in a small pot, whisking to combine. Add the maple syrup, salt and cayenne and bring to a gentle boil. Add the pecans and mix until they are well coated. Pour the pecans onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Cool completely before serving.