It’s 75° and sunny in Seattle today. I’m writing this from the dappled shade of my backyard. The forecast is calling for for more balmy weather and I’ve got summer on the brain.
We’re not quite officially there yet, I know. And in Seattle, things could take a turn towards the drizzly at any moment. So it’s never a great idea to get your hopes up regarding picnics and trips to the beach. But I’m throwing caution to the wind and spending the afternoon dreaming of all the summer fun I intend to have this year!
In order to ensure that my workaholic side doesn’t grab the reigns and derail the whole enterprise, I’ve decided to make public all the magical summer moments I’d like to make happen this year. There’s something powerful about declaring your intentions to the world; plans and projects I share with others always seem to come to fruition just a bit more easily. A little accountability in the fun department never hurt, either!
So here it is, my Summer Fun 2016 Wishlist:
- Throw a backyard barbecue to get to know all my new neighbors better.
- Always have a chilled bottle or rosé on hand for an impromptu cocktail hour.
- Go camping in the San Juans.
- Head back to Wichita to visit my bestie, her new man and her sweet babes.
- Eat watermelon.
- Go garage saling.
- Host the fried chicken supper I’ve been promising Beau since our first date. (Oops!)
- Take a road trip to Vancouver, Canada (which appears to be a pretty happening town).
- Make popsicles.
- Plan a picnic.
- Stand in the garden eating sun-warmed tomatoes off the vine.
- Summon the courage to swim in frigid Lake Washington.
- Grilling, grilling and more grilling! (Especially, ribeyes with hot sauce butter. The best.)
- Throw a pop-up dinner with my awesome friend, Kyle Wisner.
- Paint my nails a bright, summertime-only color.
- Become a regular at my new farmers market.
- Finally master the art of flaky, mile-high southern style biscuits. (I’m looking at you, Brian.)
- Pick wild blackberries.
- Remember to take a vacation from my phone from time to time.
- Bake a pie.
- Read a novel.
- Cut roses from the garden.
- Spend time laughing with friends.
There. That seems doable, don’t you think? I’ll be checking in with you periodically to let you know how I’m progressing. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you have planned for the summer. Drop me a line in the comments below if you feel like sharing!
To help you clear your calendar for a little more summer fun, I have a new Simple Supper for you this week: Moroccan Kefta Shakshuka.
Remember that photo shoot I did with my friend, Mehdi? Well he also showed me how to make this savory, spicy and delightfully easy dish. The whole thing comes together in about 30 minutes. And this gorgeous shakshuka makes a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Plus, meatballs!)
I hope you like it. And I hope this Simple Supper leaves you some extra space for summertime awesomeness!
P.S. Speaking of fun, I’m working on two new culinary retreats for this fall! In September, I’m teaming up with my friend, Rachael Coyle (who also happens to be an über-talented pastry chef and owner of Coyle’s Bakeshop), to bring you a week of cooking, tasting and soaking up all the beauty that is Paris.
I’m also finalizing the details on a culinary retreat in Lisbon and Porto this October. If you’ve been following along here, you know how crazy I am about Portugal! And I’ve added some exciting new activities this year.
As always, I’ll open registration to my mailing list before the general public. These retreats will sell out fast, so sign up here to make sure you get early access. Details coming your way early next week!
- 1 lb ground beef chuck
- ½ cup chopped cilantro, divided
- 4 ½ teaspoons Villa Jerada kefta rub, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus additional to taste
- 1 small onion, grated on the large holes of box grater or finely minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large ripe tomato, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Villa Jerada harissa
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup water
- 4 eggs
- Whole cilantro leaves, to serve
- Crusty bread or pita, to serve (optional)
- I always double grind the meat for my meatballs. I think it makes them extra tender and moist. I either ask the butcher to do it for me or just throw regular ground meat in my food processor for about 20 seconds to get a finer texture and more even distribution of fat. Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t double-grind the meat (and Mehdi didn’t for this recipe) but think it makes a mighty fine meatball.
- I think these kefta would be beautiful with lamb instead of beef or a mix of half-lamb, half-beef.
First, make the kefta (meatballs): combine the beef, ¼ cup of the chopped cilantro, 2 ½ teaspoons of the kefta rub, 1 teaspoon salt and the onion in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. (I think it’s easiest to mix with your hands.) Using your hands or a small scoop, shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and chill for at least 20 minutes.
While the kefta are chilling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the tomato, tomato paste, remaining ¼ cup chopped cilantro, harissa, the remaining 2 teaspoons kefta rub, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and the water. Cook until the tomato has broken down and the mixture has thickened to a sauce-like consistency. Add the kefta. Cover and cook until the meatballs are almost cooked through, about 10 minutes. Use a spoon to make an egg-sized hole in the shakshuka. Crack one of the eggs into the hole. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the eggs reach desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-soft. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt. Scatter the whole cilantro leaves over the shakshuka and serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe by Mehdi Boujrada