Shakshuka : A Mediterranean Breakfast

 

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This is my signature and go to breakfast dish – Shakshuka. A Mediterranean staple, I fell in love with this in my travels to Israel and Arabia.

Shakshuka is essentially eggs that are cooked in a homemade,stewed tomato sauce.

I serve cucumbers and feta on the side. Sprinkle a little Zaa’tar (Middle Eastern dried herbs- thyme, oregano, etc.) on top for an earthy finish.

I also serve with some warm pita bread or buttered well done, English muffins.

 

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Shiza’s Shakshuka

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 1: sautee in olive oil

  • 1 minced onion
  • 1 minced green or red bell pepper
  • A few cloves of minced garlic

Spices:

  • Ras El Hanout, sold at World Market, healthy amount (few tablespoons) | this adds an incredible layer of warmth and fragrance
  • cumin powder (about a teaspoon)
  • red chilli powder or paprika depending on how spicy you want it to be
  • salt to taste

Step 2:

  • 1- 35 ounce can of Whole Italian Tomatoes (chop these canned whole tomatoes yourself prior to putting in the pan)
  • After adding in the spices, if the sauce tastes acidic add a little bit of sugar to offset the acidity – this depends on how it tastes after adding in the spices. You have to taste the sauce and decide for yourself.
  • Harissa – morrocan tomato paste , sold at world market ( a few tablespoons); deepens the flavor of the sauce ; can substitute tomato paste

Step 3:  in a separate ramekin, crack each egg one by one and then start placing the eggs directly into the sauce one by one. I add as many eggs as I think will fit into the sauce and the pan. Typically about 8-10 eggs are added.

  • Once all of the eggs are in the pan of sauce, sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper over the eggs
  • Place the Pan of Shakshuka into the oven to cook for 30-40 minutes.
  • You know it is ready when an inserted wooden toothpick into the egg comes out clean
  • Garnish with some chopped cilantro for added freshness

 

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Fresh flowers are completely optional, but I think it makes all of the difference to the aesthetic of the table. I arranged these bouquets with flowers from our garden. All of the flowers are different and even though their sizes vary greatly, I still love the look of it together.

Bon Appetit!

XOXO,

Shiza

Jaleo Restaurant by José Andrés

One of my favorite things about Las Vegas is its radiant and refreshing dining scene with so many different restaurants to choose by world renowned and celebrity chefs. The glamorous and upbeat vibe at the Cosmopolitan Hotel makes it one of my favorite hotels to dine at and the lovely Spanish Tapas restaurant , Jaleo by the talented Chef, José Andrés offers a truly unforgettable dining experience.

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Gorgeous ambiance of layered chandeliers surrounding the hotel bar

Tapas are small plates of Hors d’oeuvre style dishes that can be shared. What I particularly love about the tapa dining experience is that you are trying several dishes and sharing with others which makes it so much more fun to eat because you are not “stuck” with the dish that you ordered. It is exciting to try the different flavors and dishes of tapas that are ordered. Everything that we had at this restaurant had a unique flavor profile and was truly amazing. It also had fast and friendly service which makes it even better. Definitely a restaurant on the top of my list.

All the pictures are shown below. Lastly, the featured image of this blog post is the Garlic Chilli Shrimp which was also excellent.

Bon Appetit, Shiza

 

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 upbeat and vibrant atmosphere at the restaurant

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Ensalada Remolacha , scrumptious confit beets are balanced with refreshing segments of citrus and the crunchy pistachios and pearl cheese add flair to the Ensalada

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Delicate flounder fish on a bed of roasted squash and zucchini 

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Helado de aceite de oliva cítricos texturados Interestingly delicious olive oil ice cream ( new favorite) on a bed of the refreshing grapefruit granita and segments of grapefruit all drizzled with honey to add a hint of sweetness

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Patatas Bravas // Crispy Potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and garlic aioli on top

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Croquettas de Mariscos are filled with a creamy lobster and shrimp filling and served with a garlic aioli on the side

LA’s Stunning Cafe’s & Restaurants

Hello everyone. I know that it has been awhile , but we are finally back on! So we are gonna start the year off on a delicious note, with a list of the yummiest places around LA to eat. I love to cook it and try both trending and hidden restaurants wherever I go. I have been to MANY restaurants in Los Angeles, but these ones definitely hold a special place in my heart.

Angelini’s Osteria – 7313 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

If you are looking for some down home, traditional Italian food this is THE place. The restaurant has a rustic and cozy atmosphere, with an exposed brick wall, large pit fire oven, and be sure to make reservations before hand because the restaurant has only one dining room and some patio seating and it is always packed. The menu is impeccable with food that could have been your Nonna’s food but with a modern twist.

 

Grilled Prime Rib Eye // Swiss Chard Ravioli ( I promise you this is the greatest ravioli that you will ever taste) Who knew Swiss Chard could taste this good?

 

El Floridita Cuban Restaurant – 1253 Vine Street , Los Angeles, CA 90038

This upbeat, authentic Cuban restaurant will take you to the Caribbean and back . With friendly service, nightly dance and music performances, and a menu in which almost everything comes with a side of rice, beans, and fried plantains you will never want to leave!

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Tilapia en Mojo, a Cuban scampi sauce. The sauce is packed with flavors of garlic, tomatoes, onions, and spices and the tilapia is an excellent, delicate choice of seafood to pair with the bold Mojo sauce.

Nobu, West Hollywood – 903 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

This is the shining gem of the LA fine dining food scene. Japanese food takes a whole new level with extraordinary entrees and sushi that have a Peruvian flair.
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These deceptively, un-spicy, Shishito Peppers are crunchy, sweet, and addicting. Hands down the BEST appetizer ever.

Tender Greens- 9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

If your a looking for a lunch place that is healthy, fast, and has many vegetarian friendly/plant based options, this should be number 1 on your list. Tender Greens has the BEST salads from varieties such as Vegan Salads ,Backyard Steak, and Tuna Nicoise topped with quail eggs are my particular favorite.  They also have refreshing homemade lemonades such as mint lemonade.

Aroma Bakery and Cafe- 7373 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Aroma has been one of my favorite breakfast spots for as long as I can remember. It’s chic and has no wait time because its a large amount of space both inside and out (because we all know that Brunch in LA always has a wait time, sadly) , Aroma doesn’t follow this norm and gets you seated right away which is one its best qualities asides from the spectacular Middle Eastern inspired breakfast.

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Knowing how to  make Shakshuka at home, I know what makes a Shakshuka (Eggs in Spiced Tomato Sauce) truly spectacular- Harissa and the right amount of Ras El Hanout (Moroccan spice blend) and this particular one hits all of the right notes. Having travelled to Israel, has set the bar very high as to what i classify as a good Shakshuka, and I can honestly say that this is the most well done Shakshuka that I have had in any restaurant in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

This Middle Eastern platter is a glimpse as to what a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast consists of which is IMG_3213an array of fresh cheese such as feta, hummus,  traditional creamy yoghurt called labneh which has a sweet and tangy taste and is definitely my favorite thing on the platter.

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Barney’s Beanery Redondo Beach – 100 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

For a casual , Mexican -Californian breakfast , Barney’s Beanery has a lot to choose from. You can order the Mexi-Cali favorites such as Huevos Rancheros, Ranchero Omlette, and Chilaquiles or opt for a simple American breakfast of pancakes. My favorite thing to order are the Chilaquiles with the classic Chocolate milkshake.

 

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The Chilaquiles are tortilla chips topped with scrambled eggs and a red chili sauce, served with refried beans and rice on the side, and guacamole and salsa.

 

 

 

Il Cielo – 9018 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

This beautiful house turned Italian restaurant with a charming courtyard has an excellent selection of traditional Italian cuisine. However, I personally adore the desserts more than the food itself. The gorgeous Panna Cotta was hands down , sublime. I would come here specifically for the desserts . The silky , subtle texture of the Vanilla bean Panna Cotta is perfectly complemented with the strawberry coulis and fresh berries complete the decadent dessert. The Tiramuisu was delicious but did not match the unparalleled beauty and taste of the Panna Cotta.

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Brunch @ Blu Jam Cafe- 7371 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

 

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Make sure you arrive at this Melrose / West Hollywood neighborhood brunch gem right when it opens because if it hits 10 AM, the cafe has a long line outside of it ( More than an hour …#hectic ) However, the Crunchy French Toast with a Hot Vanilla “Milk”(kinda like a sauce) is a breakfast that is truly worth the wait. This is by far, my favorite french toast in the whole world. Its the culinary balance of textures from the creamy custard like bread to the crunchy bite on the outside and the luscious hot vanilla bean milk all of which pair perfectly with tart seasonal berries and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Also , they have fresh juices, made with fruits that you want. A healthy juice can help you forget having just devour a french toast a few moments ago.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeade Strawberry Whipped Butter

Whats better than strawberries & cream? Strawberry Whipped Butter is ❤️Next time you need something quick to whip up with just a few ingredients to spruce up some simple french toast or pancakes , this whipped butter will elevate your dish into something truly spectacular. 

All you need is : 

  • A stick of butter at room temperature (salted or unsalted  it doesnt matter I used salted and it still tasted amazing)
  • A few strawberries (4-5), rinsed and chopped tiny
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • Tablespoon of Sugar

   
    
    

Place the whipped butter on the center of a sheet of aluminim foil.

  Wrap the butter in the foil in a log and place in the freezer for it to harden. 

Slice the whipped butter and serve on your french toast or pancakes. Bón Appetit

 Xoxo,

Shiza

Caprese Eggs Benedict

Hey everyone ❤️
Today I am sharing with you my take on the classic eggs benedict. I revamp the flavors by using fresh ingredients and modern cooking techniques that enhance the flavors of simple ingredients. This version will make you feel a little less guilty after eating! Its made with fresh stove roasted tomatoes, creamy mozzerella, basil, and of course, the star of the dish, easy to make hollandaise sauce! This breakfast recipe will be using the flavors of italy to make breakfast a little more interesting.

1) Make the Hollandaise Sauce
I use Ree Drummond’s Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe from her website : http://www.pioneerwoman.com
Ingredients:
– 3 egg yolks
– 2 sticks of melted butter
– 1 lemon
– dash of cayenne pepper
Directions:
1) Melt the butter on a saucepan.
2) Separate the eggs, keep the egg whites for the benedict.
3) Place the egg yolks into a blender and on low speed blend the yolks for a minute or so.
4) Then, slowly pour the melted butter into the blender with the blender on. Be sure to pour it on slowly so that you dont scramble the eggs!
5) Blend until the all the butter is combined with the yolks. Afterwards, squeeze the juice of a lemon and add the cayenne pepper, while blending. Voilà, you have just made homeade hollandaise in a matter of minutes!

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Part 2:
1) Cut the english muffins lengthwise using a serrated knife.
2) Place both halves into a toaster on a medium high heat setting so that they have a crunch to them.
3) Once the english muffins have been toasted, butter them generously, and set asideZ

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4) Now once thats ready, begin slicing your mozzerella in thin slices.
5) Next, slice the tomatoes as well.
6) Heat a pan on medium-high heat and spray with some olive oil. Place tomatoes on the hot skillet in order for them to brown slightly. Once they are on the pan, season them with a dash of garlic powder, seasoned salt, and italian seasoning. These spices elevate the flavor of the tomatoes.

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7) Fry the eggs. I prefer fried eggs rather than poached eggs, but poached eggs would work as well. I use the eggs whites left over from the yolks used in the hollandaise sauce. Be sure to season your eggs with salt and pepper!
8) Assemble the benedict. First, place a slice of tomatoe onto both halves of the buttered english muffin.

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Next, place a few leaves of basil on top of the tomatoes for an added layer of freshness.

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Then, place the sliced mozzerella on top of the basil.

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Lastly, top the benedict off with the fried egg and drizzle your hollandaise sauce.

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Enjoy! Bon Appetit

Xoxo,
Shiza

Summer Salad Recipe

Aloha ❤️Today I am sharing with you guys a mouthwatering summer salad recipe. This recipe is super healthy and flavorful. It is like eating California in a bite. With local ingredients and lovely flavors, you will forget that you are eating a salad!!

Ingredients:
– 1 Box of Spring Mix Greens
– 1 Tomato , thinly slices
– 1 Persian Cucumber, sliced
– 1 Lime
– 1 Avacado, sliced
– Handful of Blackberries
– 1 Fuji Apple , thinly sliced with a squirt of lime juice to prevent it from browning
– Handful of fresh mint and basil
– Pinch of Red Chilli Flakes
– 1 tsp. Red Chilli Powder (optional)
– Handful of Walnuts, chopped
– 1 clove of fresh Garlic, minced
– dash of lemon pepper
– dash of Italian Seasoning
– dash of Mediterranean seasoning salt
– Salt & Pepper, to taste
– drizzle of Olive Oil, for sautée
– leftover roasted/baked chicken

Directions:
Part 1: Cook Chicken
Drizzle some olive oil into a pan on medium high heat. Add minced garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse into the oil for a minute. Then, add the chicken.
Allow the chicken to warm through and get slightly browned. This adds flavor. After, add the spices ( lemon pepper, seasoned salt, chilli powder & flakes, italian seasoning) . Stir the chicken on low heat. In the end, add a handful of chopped basil ( about 1/4 cup or so). The basil adds an earthy and fragrant flavor to the chicken. Voilà , your chicken is ready! Set aside.

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Part 2:
Wash all of the fruits and vegetables needed for the salad. In two bowls add some of the spring mix. This is the base layer of the salad. Next, add the sliced avacado on both salads. Squeeze a bit of lime on the avacado so that it doesn’t go brown. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to flavor it. Next, neatly arrange the cucumbers, tomatoes, blackberries, apples, and mint on top of the salad. Afterwards, add the chopped walnuts. Lastly, place the chicken on to the salad.

Tips:
Add the same amounts of fruit/vegetables to both salads. Arrange in a pattern for a pretty presentation.

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Variation: You can leave out the chicken for a vegan salad. It will taste just as good!

Bon Appetit
Xx,
Shiza

Best Ice Cream Ever…..

Hey guys , so today I went to a liquid nitrogen ice cream lab and fell in love. I am not exaggerating, it was simply extraordinary. The Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills serves up ice cream with a fun and modern twist. The flavors are unique and some of them are seasonal. The flavors most of us ordered were Blue Velvet, Banilla ( Banana + Vanilla) , Salty Caramel Pretzel, Cookies & Cream, and Vanilla . I ordered the Banilla and was in love. It tasted almost like a banana cream pie but in ice cream form. What I particularly love about this place is that the ice cream bases are pre-made , but they mix all the flavorings and liquid nitrogen in front of you. It is a really fun experience to watch them adding the liquid nitrogen and the ice cream base is magically transformed into a delectable concotion. The liquid nitrogen makes the ice cream have a smooth texture. In my opinion , the ice cream had a richer and creamier taste that ordinary ice cream. This is definitely one of the best ice cream places in LA! Here are some pictures of what we got.

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Thats the Banilla…

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This is the Salted Caramel Pretzel

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This is the Blue Velvet

Xoxo,
Shiza

British Breakfast Classic : Beans on Toast

This breakfast classic is a traditional part of a typical English breakfast and is a recipe that can be made in minutes and is absolutely delectable and gratifying. The recipe I am sharing with you today has an Indian flair to it, because it is inspired by my visits to Calcutta . It is a common breakfast food in Calcutta , because of the mix of Indian and British cultures that were a result of the British Raj.

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
1) 4 slices of toast, toasted well ( it needs to be hard/dry enough to absorb the beans well, if the bread is not well toasted the dish will become too soggy which is not good)
2) 1 can of Chilli Beans or Heinz Beans
3) Few dashes of tapatio sauce ( tabasco or any other hot sauce is fine too)
4) 1/2 red or yellow onion , chopped small ( Indian kick)
5) 2-3 green chillies , optional (Indian kick)
6) Butter
7) Shredded cheddar cheese ( or any other kind , I used a mexican spiced cheese that I had in the fridge)

Directions:
1) Toast bread in a toaster.
2) Open a can of beans and pour the beans with the liquid and all, into a saucepan.
3) Heat the mixture on medium flame, and cook until some of the liquid has slightly reduced. Lower the heat, add a few dashes of Tapatio for a spicy flavor.
4) Spread a tbsp of butter onto each slice of toast. Be generous. Don’t care about the fat, the butter makes this dish even more delicious. Besides it really makes ALL the difference. Trust me….
5) Now its time to assemble. Carefully spoon out enough beans and sauce to entirely cover the surface of your toast.
6) Top with some shredded cheese. Then, add some of the chopped onions and chillies. This is what makes a Beans on Toast an “Indian Beans on Toast”. It seriously makes the dish taste 100 times better.

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( Sorry the plating wasnt the best )

Xoxo
Shiza

Mexican inspired Egg White Frittata

This is a healthy and scrumptious recipe that will satisfy your taste buds and your new years resolution to eat healthier. Its also a great way to use up leftover egg whites, thats what I did. I made creme brulee yesterday and was left with 8 egg whites, so I decided to make use of them for breakfast today! This recipe was made up on the spot with the ingredients I had at hand. If you do not like egg whites you can do whole eggs. Alot of the ingredients CAN be substituted with other flavors & ingredients. It will still taste great, trust me…….So have fun with it and alter it to your taste.

Servings: 5-6
Ingredients:
-8 egg whites
-1/2 red onion, diced small
-1/4 bell pepper, diced small
-1/2 jalapeño, finely diced seeds & all because we like the heat
-1 ripe tomatoe, diced small
– a handful of cilantro, chopped
– a handful of mint, chopped
( you can sub basil if you do not have these herbs)
-few dashes of lemon pepper
– 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (Tabasco or Tapatio Sauce are substitutable)
– Mexican style Cheddar Cheese, shredded ( pepper jack or simple monterey jack would work too)
-Salt , to taste
– A drizzle of olive oil

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Chop all of the vegetables. Whisk egg whites. Add all of the vegetables and herbs. Mix well and add the spices and sriracha sauce.
3) Heat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Carefully pour egg mixture into the pan. Cook on the stove for 4-5 minutes on medium high heat to get the bottom of the frittata set.
4) Once the eggs are set, place skillet
into the oven . Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the eggs have thouroughly cooked. Generously sprinkle the shredded cheese onto the eggs in the last few minutes of baking.
5) Cool frittata for a few minutes. Then, slice and serve. Serve with a side of toast and jam . A homeade juice compliments well with this dish. I drank some homeade pineapple juice. Bon Appetit❤️

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*Cooking time varies each time. Keep an eye on your eggs to ensure that they do not burn. They will be done when the center is set and completely cooked. Baking them in 350 degrees will reduce the bake time. I used a lower heat to ensure the eggs would be thoroughly cooked.

XOXO,
Shiza

Cafè Buna

Heey guys!! One of my all time favorite Sunday brunch spots is Cafè Buna. Omg you guys I’ve literally been here like a million times. The ambiance of this place will give you such good vibes! It’s walking distance to the beach additionally, which makes going there even better. However whenever I go there I usually get baffled between what to order. If I am trying to satisfy my sweet tooth I get there Red Velvet Pancakes, which are incredible! Of one my fav savory dishes is the lobster omelet. The omelet is stuffed in with sautéed lobster and topped with a delectable pesto sauce 😍.
Here are some photographs of my food!

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Xoxo
Z