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Easy Shakshuka Recipe with Feta | Umami Girl

You guys know all about shakshuka, right? In this happily Ottolenghi– and Zahav-forward world, I’d like to think that you do. But sometimes I’m surprised by what other people’s worlds look like. (Let’s just say 2016 taught me that sometimes I’m surprised and sometimes I’m VERY surprised, and those are about the only two options.)

So maybe you don’t know from shakshuka. Let’s fix that. (And if you already know all about it, may I recommend my version, which is very easy and not too spicy.) 

Easy Shakshuka Recipe with Feta | Umami Girl

Shakshuka originates from northern Africa and is now served in various forms in many Middle Eastern countries and cultures, including Palestine and Israel. As is true of many Middle Eastern foods, it’s a real indication of historic migration and also, I like to think, of how similar we all are despite the many ways in which we sometimes put our differences first.

Oh, 2016. Why does every food blog post need to include a civics lesson? It does, though.

Easy Shakshuka Recipe with Feta | Umami Girl

Chez Cope, we don’t always eat shakshuka, but when we do, we usually eat it for dinner. That said, it makes a fabulous brunch or breakfast too. If you want to get a head start, you can make the sauce well ahead of time and just reheat it to a simmer before dropping the eggs in.

That’s all for now. Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

{Get the easy shakshuka recipe with feta.}

Whether you’re 4 or 40, snickerdoodles are the best.

Best Snickerdoodles Recipe from Mrs. Phillips | Umami Girl

Okay, I know everyone already loves snickerdoodles. But I didn’t grow up with them, and to be honest, they’re kind of a revelation to me right now. I’m suddenly at that point in life where I’m not sure I can use “middle aged” ironically and expect to be understood. And somehow, this cookie, which is simple and frank and consistent and pleasing, is exactly the kind of cookie I need.

Snickerdoodles! They were right there all along.

Best Snickerdoodles Recipe from Mrs. Phillips | Umami Girl

This recipe comes from my friend Ellen, because one day our older daughter came home from her house and said, “Mrs. Phillips makes the BEST snickerdoodles, and we HAVE to make them.” So we did. She was right.

Ellen’s daughter sometimes jokes that our kid was deprived as a child because we were pretty terrible about having her watch all the childhood movies that EVERYONE ELSE was watching, so now she’s mildly pop-culture illiterate, just like I was as a kid. (We were out learning how to speak with native London accents and visiting Prague and stuff, but I can’t argue with the fact that she doesn’t know all the words to Hairspray.)

Reasonable people can disagree on which of those things is most important.

But every kid should have snickerdoodles.  (more…)

I really wanted to start by saying, “These peppermint Oreo truffles are stupid-good.” But instead let’s go with this: They’re stupid. And they’re pretty good.

Easy Peppermint Oreo Truffles | Umami Girl

Whoever invented this recipe is the kind of genius I don’t even aspire to be. One package of Oreos, reduced to dust in a food processor in seconds.* One package of cream cheese. Dip in chocolate. Get paid by Kraft. God bless.

*You’ll be amazed how fast this happens, and how evenly. You’ll wonder whether intact Oreos were ever really meant to be.

I hate this kind of recipe. Do Oreos really qualify as an ingredient?

The thing is — the PROBLEM is — these “truffles” (which I’m just gonna talk about without quotes from now on for the sake of brevity and of looking like a tad less of a jerk than I am) are really pretty good. 

Easy Peppermint Oreo Truffles | Umami Girl

This is not the kind of recipe I would have tried basically ever. But I got it into my head that I wanted to make truffles for our annual teachers’ holiday cookie exchanges at the girls’ schools. And the problem with classic truffles, if there is one, is that they’re not great at sitting out at room temperature.

So I started down a bit of a scary path on Pinterest and Google that led to some things that frightened me. Things called surprising cream cheese truffles and things called cake balls. (I mean, come on, cake is definitely not a guy, right?) “Truffles” (whoops, there are those quotes again) made with a box of cake mix blended together with a tub of frosting and dipped in something called Almond Bark, which is neither almond nor bark. (Discuss.) Those things are fine at room temperature but not really fine in any other way.

Easy Peppermint Oreo Truffles | Umami Girl

Pinterest is full of Oreo truffles. And like I said, I would’ve ignored them all. Even though I won’t turn down an Oreo from time to time. But then I read The Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Guide, where the author did all the science on all the truffles and ended up liking the Oreo ones best of all. She called them “almost grainy, but in a pleasant way,” and for some reason that sold me. 

Well, I wouldn’t say these are better than regular truffles. But they’re good enough that I might need to reevaluate my worldview a little bit.

Easy Peppermint Oreo Truffles | Umami Girl

Also, I added peppermint, because (1) Christmas and (2) it’s simply the right thing to do.  (more…)

Truly the Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe Ever | Umami GirlI know it’s ridiculous to call a recipe “the best,” buuuuttttttt this recipe is seriously THE BEST shrimp cocktail recipe ever. I’ve never met anyone who thought differently once they’d tried it. The poaching method gives the shrimp a wonderful, delicate texture and flavor, and the sauce has a hint of gin in it, so.

Truly the Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe Ever | Umami GirlThis recipe is adapted from the Williams-Sonoma hors d’oeuvre cookbook, which I started using shortly after college and which helped me through many an early cocktail party. I think back then I was too green to know you could make shrimp cocktail more easily than this, otherwise I might never have gotten hooked on this version, which takes a little bit of extra effort.

Truly the Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe Ever | Umami Girl

Thank goodness I had no clue.  (more…)

Make these easy appetizers ahead and bake them just in time to get the party started.

Easy Appetizers: Creamy Leeks in Puff Pastry Cups | Umami Girl



I made my own puff pastry once.

Just the once. That was plenty.

It was the middle of the summer, in a steamy restaurant kitchen while I was studying at the International Culinary Center (then the French Culinary Institute, for the sake of historical accuracy). Pastry does not like a hot kitchen. There was lots of flour and butter and folding and waiting and folding again and waiting again. It took two days. It gave me a real appreciation for the work that goes into making puff pastry. And a real willingness to buy it premade forevermore.

Easy Appetizers: Creamy Leeks in Puff Pastry Cups | Umami Girl

Man, we’re so lucky in so many ways, right? Not the least of which is having CHOICES of which brand of frozen puff pastry to buy. (See the recipe for my own preference.) All we have to do is defrost it and sautée some leeks, and it’s an instant party. 

Okay, maybe I skipped a FEW steps, but you know what I mean.  (more…)


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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