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Baked Eggs with Sweet Potatoes and Harissa

Winter will always be baking season to me. It’s the season to warm yourself around the heat of an oven, whether you’re making cookies, pies or a simple dinner. The latter is what I was after – I wanted to branch out to find a new  recipe for a family meal time that was hearty, healthy and maybe a bit more exotic than a typical casserole. Eggs are a standard crowd-pleaser in my house, so I started with them as the first ingredient.

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In researching recipes, I came across one that had just the right blend of healthy and exotic – Tunisian Shakshuka. This baked egg dish has many variations, but the basics are the same – eggs, onions, other vegetables, Italian parsley and harissa paste. I decided to make mine with green beans and sweet potatoes.

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I found that it wasn’t too difficult to pull together, especially if you prep and cut your veggies beforehand. And I was entranced by the rich, earthy aroma that filled my home while it was baking. Best of all, my family loved it! The warm, gooey-ness of the eggs mixed with goat cheese and the veggies was irresistible. One modification there, I held the harissa for the portion that went to my little lady. So keep that in mind if you don’t like that kind of warmth!

Baked Eggs with Sweet Potatoes and Harissa

Ingredients (makes 6-8)

  • 8 eggs
  • 2–3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ pound green beans, ends trimmed and snapped in half
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ⅓ c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. harissa sauce
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • Handful of spinach
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Rinse and chop all vegetables.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, mix sweet potatoes, onion, bell pepper and string beans with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You may also mix them in a large bowl and then portion out into 6 single-serving skillets.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Pour the cream evenly over the vegetables, then spoon in the harissa and goat cheese. Sprinkle torn pieces of spinach on top.
  • Then, gently crack the eggs into the skillet (or skillets) and season again with salt and pepper. Return to the oven and bake another 8–10 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

egg bake in cast iron skillet single serving

I definitely recommend trying this if you’re looking for a new dish to spice up your baking routine. Although I served it for dinner, it could also be the star of a holiday brunch with friends. After all, this is the time of year to share the warmth. Enjoy!

red spinach salad

Marsala: Beyond Chicken

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.

– Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®

Marsala Pantone

The color of the year is inspired by the satiation that can only come from a truly great meal. Similarly, I am continually inspired by the colors at play in the foods I eat (as evidenced here and here). But, I’ve never thought about inspiration traveling in the opposite direction. Could a single color inspire a new recipe?

Marsala Pattern

I was skeptical. Particularly given the subdued hue at hand. Besides the obvious chicken Marsala, the only immediate associations I was making with the restrained color were none-too-culinary, (um, chili dogs, anyone?) Further complicating the issue, this color is really hard to pin down –  is it red, brown, or really burnt sienna in disguise??

And yet, in the thick of winter, I kept finding myself drawn to its warm, inviting nature. It reminds me of a shade you might see dancing on a wooden floor in front of a freshly-lit fireplace. It’s sophisticated and easy. I suppose that’s fitting…just like its namesake, Marsala Italian wine.

And so I embraced the marsala, and found my way to three new recipes featuring ingredients which share its color value…or at least, very close variations. Each one has that same hint of sophistication and ease. In fact, each recipe can be prepared in three steps or less, which is hardly enough time to pour yourself that glass of Marsala wine. But, one can try. My skepticism has been proven wrong before. :)

Here they are. My three new, easy (but deceptively sophisticated) ways to eat marsala:

1. Paleo balls with coconut and carob chips, starring dates and dried cranberries

Ingredients (makes about 16)

  • 1 packed cup dried pitted dates
  • 1 cup nut of choice (almonds, cashews or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more to roll in
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup carob chips

Directions

  • Process dates, almonds, coconut, honey and sea salt in a food processor. Add a tiny bit of water if mixture gets too dry. Add in cranberries and carob chips at the end for a final blend.
  • Roll into balls.
  • Keep in an airtight container. I usually keep mine in the refrigerator, but this isn’t necessary.

2. Rosemary root vegetable saute, starring beets

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 1 bunch of beets (about 1 lb.) washed and cut into cubes
  • 1 yukon potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into medium slices
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T rosemary
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F then toss all vegetables in a large bowl with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil until coated.
  • Spread vegetables evenly on a cookie sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 45 minute to an hour, stirring at least once midway through. Serve immediately.

red spinach salad with pomegranate seeds

3. Spinach pomegranate salad, starring red heirloom spinach

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 1 bag of red heirloom spinach (I spied mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into medium slices
  • Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, slightly toasted
  • Salt
  • Red balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Directions

  • Divide spinach evenly into salad bowls. Layer with onions, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
  • Serve with red balsamic vinaigrette. (Marsala red wine balsamic, if you’re fancy.)

Have any marsala or marsala-ish foods that you love? Let me know in the comments if I left out your favorites!