2018 highlights

2018 highlights

As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back and remembering some of my favorite recipes from 2018. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2019, full of lots of good food!

dessert

dried mint labneh cheesecake

dried mint labneh cheesecake

cardamom rose gingerbread cake

cardamom rose gingerbread cake

kadeh star (roux-stuffed brioche)

kadeh star (roux-stuffed brioche)

milk tea baklawa

milk tea baklawa

salad

green bean salad with caramelized cherry tomatoes

green bean salad with caramelized cherry tomatoes

apricot salad with cilantro lemon dressing

apricot salad with cilantro lemon dressing

roasted carrot and cauliflower with tahini dressing

roasted carrot and cauliflower with tahini dressing

corn and sumac salad

corn and sumac salad

dinner

mujadara-style lentil tacos

mujadara-style lentil tacos

weeknight vegan pepper dolma

weeknight vegan pepper dolma

combination dolma

combination dolma

chicken shawarma platter

chicken shawarma platter

breakfast

succotash shakshuka

succotash shakshuka

winter toast

winter toast

rice

mujadara (lentils and rice with crispy fried onions)

mujadara (lentils and rice with crispy fried onions)

a perfect pot of rice

a perfect pot of rice

stews

Masy’s chipteh

Masy’s chipteh

ras al asfour

ras al asfour

za'atar breakfast skillet

za'atar skillet

It’s so hard to know what kind of recipe to post the week after Christmas. With New Year’s resolutions around the corner, no one really wants to bake, but it’s not time for penitential eating quite yet. And after all the feasting and entertaining, everyone’s a little cooked out too. So I thought I’d post a recipe for something easy, practical, and delicious: a za’atar skillet with wilted spinach and fried eggs. It’s nothing fancy, just a simple breakfast made with simple ingredients. It’s the kind of thing you’d find in your favorite diner—a bed of perfectly crispy potatoes, topped with a few of your favorite veggies, and sunny-side-up eggs (but here, I’ve added za’atar and a yogurt tahini sauce, because I couldn’t resist).

While one-pan-wonders are indeed wonderful, I like to use two pans for this, to make sure the spinach doesn’t make the potatoes soggy. But you can use the same pan you used to cook the eggs, which saves on cleanup. If you prefer scrambled, poached, or over-easy, feel free to go with your egg of choice. And if you feel like it, you can even crack them right on top of the potatoes, and throw them under the broiler for a few minutes. If you don’t feel like spinach, most other veggies work wonderfully here—try kale, blistered cherry tomatoes, or zucchini. This recipe is very adaptable, and the basic concept (which you should always remember) is tried and true: dusting za’atar on potatoes will never lead you wrong.

za'atar skillet
za'atar skillet

za’atar breakfast skillet

yield: 4 servings
total time: 25 minutes
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  • neutral oil with a high smoke point (e.g., olive oil, but not extra virgin)

  • 1 pound potatoes, small-diced

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons green za'atar

  • 2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 3 to 4 eggs

  • 6 ounces spinach leaves

  • 1 scallion, greens chopped

  1. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium or medium-high heat, until the oil is hot enough that a potato sizzles when it touches it.

  2. Add the potatoes, along with 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Spread them out evenly over the bottom of the skillet, and let them sit for a couple minutes before stirring them. Stir every couple minutes for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and cooked through. Once they're done, remove from heat and stir in the za'atar.

  3. While you wait on the potatoes, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, water, and a pinch of salt, until it's totally smooth.

  4. Also while you wait, fry your eggs however you like. Here's how I do it: Heat a small skillet over high heat for at least 3 minutes, until it’s very hot. Add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, swirl it around, and immediately crack an egg wherever the oil is pooling. Be very careful—it will splatter violently. While the egg is cooking, season it with some salt and (carefully!) baste it by spooning hot oil onto the whites to help them cook faster. The egg is done once the whites are set and brown on the bottom and around the edges (just about 2 minutes). Remove to a plate and repeat if you’re making multiple servings (replace some of the oil as you go) (eggs inspired by Smitten Kitchen).

  5. Once the eggs are done, remove them to a plate, pour off the old oil, replace with a teaspoon of new oil, and add the spinach leaves and a pinch of salt. Keep over high heat to wilt the spinach (stir it constantly for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it's bright green and wilted). Most of the liquid should cook off, but if the spinach looks watery after 3 minutes, wring it out with the back of a spoon and strain away the liquid.

  6. Combine the spinach with the potatoes, stir everything together, top with the yogurt sauce, crispy eggs, green onions, and a little extra za'atar, and serve.

za'atar skillet