This is not a post about blood oranges. And no meyer lemon was harmed in the making of this dish. No bee pollen was purchased, no bizarr-o flour was milled, and no oak-tarnished wooden knives were wielded. This is a recipe for da people! Made with all that normal crap in your fridge and cooked in a regular, run-of-the-mill oven in a pretty averagely-appointed kitchen.
Maybe it’s the recession’s fault, or YouTube’s, or maybe I’m just getting older and this is the natural course of life, but things are getting really … simple. I mean, identity is still a toughie. But, it just costs so much to be plain these days! Food magazines charge $18 for images of a single pine cone, or a bundle of dirty carrots on a picnic bench, or just a bird, sitting there, not even flapping. The trendiest restaurants offer five items. Girls I know upcycle their grandparents’ sweaters, … “upcycle” became a word…and did you know there’s a store in the Outer Sunset that sells six oz, handleless, plain white mugs for $30?
And then there are some simple things that became really complicated: cleaning up your own mess – lots ‘o countries just can’t get this right; putting things back where you found them – husbands and sons everywhere, struggling with this one for eternity. Buying yogurt from the store – really? You’re going to actually make yogurt? It doesn’t…just…come like that? Bottled vinegar – I don’t want to make anything in my kitchen from scratch that requires a “mother,” unless it’s a human baby. Sometimes I just want to see recipe instructions that are under 15 words: add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir. Bake at 375 F. I wish that worked for everything.
So, look. This recipe is simple. Don’t complicate it. Make the dish and then dip some bread in it. Enjoy!
Recipe inspired by this
Serves: 3 for lunch or 4-5 as a side/snack
What You Need:
1 tblsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves; crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 shallot; peeled
1 tsp oregano
1 tblsp butter
salt & pepper to taste
150 g of feta (I used the “feta in brine” from Trader Joe’s)
a handful of green olives
a handful of cherry tomatoes
za’atar spice for garnish (*this is a more unusual and completely optional ingredient – available in Middle Eastern grocery stores)
How To Do It (an attempt at simplicity – it’s hard!):
Saute the garlic and cumin seeds for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, shallot, butter and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the feta chunks, tomatoes and olives in a dish. Cover with the warm sauce and mix it around so that you can see the chunks of feta and the olives. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and crack the eggs on top (with a fork, spread the whites of the eggs around so it bakes evenly). Cover with foil, turn the heat up to 400 F, return the dish to the oven and remove when the eggs look cooked (about 10 mins). Serve with a hunk of your favorite bread! Enjoy!