Written by Joy Dushey | Photographed by Eric White
A few years ago, I started an Instagram account spontaneously called Breakfastdujour. It was born at a time when my older daughter left for college and I was resting a running injury. The images were from photos I captured on my iPhone after creating a breakfast I prepared.
My normal morning routine consisted of waking up my girls, giving them a quick breakfast and getting out the door eager to get my run in through Central Park. But when I got injured and my older daughter left, I had time to reevaluate. I reflected on my purpose, which was always prioritized with my dedication to being a stay-at-home mom. I reflected on the feeling of imbalance of not using my creativity and putting so much emphasis on my physical body. With this pause, I felt more at peace with not rushing out in the morning and the feeling of wanting to nurture both my husband and younger daughter who were still at home for a few more years.
Most of my breakfasts consist of an egg variation. Both my husband and daughter were under the guidance of a nutritionist enforcing a “clean eating” diet higher in protein than carbs. I like keeping my kitchen stocked with ingredients readily available for me, so once a week, I shop for produce. I love going to Farmer’s Markets for the most organic produce right from the farms surrounding New York. I love that there is a service called Rustic Roots that delivers right to your door, hand picked from farms on Long Island.
I also like to support the local, smaller mom and pop health food stores, and then there is Whole foods with the largest of selection. I have specialty shops in my neighborhood, like Dean and Deluca and Eli’s that offer irresistible delicacies and condiments. I love having an array of fresh herbs that give the most unique and individual flavoring to whatever I’m creating. Using herb infused oils is essential with cooking and drizzling for added flavor. There are some ingredients I prepare in advance to have ready available, like pesto sauce, marinated artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
My process started with getting into the kitchen very early morning anywhere from 5-6:30 am. I enjoyed this peaceful time when everyone else was asleep. I put on music and selected the ingredients according to what I was feeling that morning. I also love food styling, so color complementing and herbs for garnishing was part of the process. I collect recipe books for inspiration but never follow measurements. I always modify and change ingredients to satisfy my creativity.
When I was done with the preparation of the dish and plated it, I took a few pics with my iPhone and posted on Instagram. I normally selected one ingredient that I used in that dish and offered nutritional value and health benefits to that ingredient.
Here is a recipe for my Shakshuka:
Shakshuka is a Tunisian recipe in it’s original origin but has become very popular in Israel and is almost a standard breakfast there. It can be served as a hearty breakfast served with piles of pita or challah or as a lunch entree. There are so many variations of cooking Skakshuka but its primarily made with baked tomatoes and eggs.
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 large red bell peppers seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 can of whole plum tomatoes coarsely chopped OR 5 large very ripe tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon quality salt (sea salt or himalayan)
- 1/4 plack pepper
- whichever herbs you choose from below:
- fresh oregano
- fresh thyme
- fresh basil chopped
- Bread of choice: country/pita/Ezequiel
- Heat oven to 375 degrees
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium/low heat
- Add onion and peppers
- Cook gently until very soft
- Add garlic and cook until tender 1-2 minutes
- Stir in spices and herbs
- Pour tomatoes in and season with salt and pepper simmer tomatoes down about 10 minutes until a soft but still chunky consistency
- Gently crack the tomatoes into skillet over tomatoes
- Season with salt pepper and herbs
- Optional for spice lovers ..hot sauce and red pepper flakes
- Serve with toasted country bread or pita or Ezequiel bread
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