Shakshuka, Kofta and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This weekend, we celebrated Mike’s mom Leanne’s birthday with a Sunday brunch at our house. Like a good upper-Midwestern family, we enjoyed eggs, sausage and homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. Unlike most Minnesotan families, those eggs came in the form of Shakshuka, the sausage in the form of Kofta with tahini sauce, and the pie – well, it was just a good old fashioned American pie. Leanne grew up on a hog farm in South Dakota. A love of food was bred into her from a young age – her mom not only loved to cook, but would experiment with recipes from other cultures and cuisines that most farm families had never heard of. Leanne grew up to become a food scientist and one of the most passionate, skilled and intuitive cooks I’ve ever met. Through her cooking, she has led her friends and family to explore cultures and cuisines from all over the world.

A few weeks ago, Leanne gave me an article about Shakshuka, a popular Israeli egg and tomato dish. I was reminded of the amazing cookbook Jerusalem that she gave me for the holidays a few years ago, and decided to try my hand at making it. We supplemented with Kofta with Tahini sauce, a lamb and veal meatball with delicious Middle Eastern spices like cinnamon and allspice. An Israeli-inspired brunch wouldn’t be complete without Israeli cucumber and tomato salad, which appeared at nearly every meal I consumed in Israel.

For dessert, we stuck with one of Leanne’s favorites, a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I’ll never forget my visit to the family farm in Hurley, South Dakota when Leanne picked wild asparagus from the side of the road and rhubarb growing next to the barn, and incorporated them into our delicious meal for the evening.

A big Happy Birthday to Leanne! We love you!

Until We Eat Again,

Two Happy Cooks


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