Savoring What's Left of Winter / by Alexa Arnold

We're beginning to see the first signs of spring in the city –– buds are showing on the branches that line my block, root vegetables are dwindling in supply at the markets, and everyone seems to be strolling around with a sense of rejuvenation, as if we've all long forgotten the snowstorm that swept over the city a few days ago. After a week of work travel, I spent most of the weekend relaxing at home, windows cracked, cooking some of my favorite cold weather dishes.

Shakshuka is simple dish that made its way into my weekend breakfast routine many years ago, when my love affair with farm fresh eggs first began. There's something so warm and filling and comforting about eggs baked in a tasty tomato sauce that I just can't get enough of. Like many of my favorite dishes, I no longer lean on a recipe when making Shakshuka, and instead just pull from whatever seasonal vegetables I have on hand. Traditional recipes call for a combination of peppers and onions, but I've had a lot of fun experimenting by adding cauliflower, kale, or even some winter squash to the mix. Above all else, what makes this dish so great, especially when you're cooking in a tiny kitchen, is that it's a one-pot (or skillet) meal, start to finish. 

Like any great sauce, the key ingredient is juicy, ripe tomats. It hasn't warmed up that much, so I grabbed a jar of locally canned tomatoes from the farmers market. I generally tend to keep onions and garlic around the house, so I picked up a red pepper and a little jalapeno from the bodega. Saute, add some paprika, cumin and cayenne, saute some more. Pour in the tomatoes and let it simmer. Crack some eggs onto the dish and bake. Serve immediately for friends, or set some of the sauce aside to freeze for later.