On rare occasions, my father would cook. It was usually on lazy Saturday mornings, after the decent cartoons had finished. He had his specialties, usually Iraqi versions of traditional Middle Eastern dishes. Every region has its own unique cooking methods, and as desperately as it is attempted, not one of these regions can claim these dishes as originally their own. So when I think of Iraqi food and Iraqi methods, I think of the words hearty and meaty. With that said, my father usually made something very hearty and very meaty for our lazy Saturday breakfasts. But what happens when you decide to eat a primarily vegetarian diet, and yet still want to experience the nostalgia of your childhood?! Well, obviously, you get creative and recreate those dishes! So, here is my vegetarian take on
serves about 4
[Disclaimer: I have to warn you, when I cook I don't usually use specific measurements. I add according to what I like, so you'll have to forgive me for such measurements as "quite a bit of" and "plenty." I tried to guess the measurements, but really you just have to feel it out. It's definitely worth a try, though! Good luck!]
quite a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sauteing (EVOO)
about 1 cup of veggie ground beef (or organic ground beef)
2 red and green bell peppers, chopped
spicy: add 1-2 Serrano peppers, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
plenty of ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
juice of half a lemon, maybe some more
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
crumbled feta to top, I prefer Bulgarian feta
1. Heat plenty of oil in a skillet over medium high.
2. First toss in the onions, peppers. Mix around a bit, then add the black pepper and salt. Mix some more for a few minutes until onions are soft. Add the garlic. Mix.
3. Next, add the veggie meat. Mix some more. Taste. If it needs more black pepper, then add to your liking. Otherwise, let sit a minute or so. Veggie meats cook quickly. If you feel you need more EVOO, pour some over now and mix.
5. Crack 4 individual eggs over the mix, making sure to space them away from each other. You do not want to mix the eggs, you are aiming for a poached egg outcome. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit maybe two minutes. You don't want to overcook the eggs! Where's the fun in that? I ended up only having two eggs in my fridge which explains the photo at the top of the page!
6. Remove from stove. Serve in the skillet! Top it with feta, parsley, and some extra lemon juice (if you want!)
7. Serve with bread, lebneh, and cucumber/tomato salad if you want to accurately relive my childhood!