CHARRED AJVAR, EGG + DUKKAH TOAST

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

I have a confession. I killed a mouse the other day and it's still haunting me. Let's start from the beginning. I had one mouse (or so I thought), but then it was mice. People tell me, “If you see one, that means there are [eight more], [twenty more], [fifty more], or [one hundred more]!" depending on who you never ask but they tell you anyways. Thank you for the terrifying information but stop. I already have anxiety and nightmares about it. Before you go judging me for killing an animal, you must know a few things first. Then you can judge all you want. 

1. I was raised by a woman who grew up on a modest farm. Killing animals was a regular way of life and necessary to put food on the table. My grandfather loved to tease me about animal slaughter. I guess that was his idea of humour and liked seeing my face get all screwed up into sheer terror. While eating roast beef during Easter dinners he would say, “I caught that bloody Easter bunny by the tail, snatched him up and skinned him. Oh he tastes good, doesn't he?!". He likes to get a rise out of people and will go to great lengths to do so. Grandpa facts: He is from rural England, he is always drinking tea and everything that annoys him is “the devil". Which incidentally made “the devil" seem far less scary because “road construction is the devil", “that squirrel in the garden is the devil" and “the ruddy speed limit signs are the devil". Therefore, general annoyances = the devil. Hell is a place where you stub your toes, get a million invites for Candy Crush and only use dull knives to cut tomatoes. Sounds like a regular day for me so I don't think I'd mind hell to be honest. 

My grandfather would slaughter chickens, pluck them and hang them upside down (to dry? Is that why? I still don't know). After he butchered them, my mum would chase me around pulling the tendon of a chicken foot so it was forced into a grabby claw. She would hide behind corners and poke the chicken claw out grasping the air while cackling, “It's coming for you Meggie! Meh-heh-heh-heeehhhhh!!!". It terrified me and she thought it was hilarious. Clearly she got her sense of humour from my grandfather. In hind sight it was hilarious– I don't blame her at all. But it was also traumatic at age 5. So this is who raised me.

2. The second thing you should know is I've been dealing with this mouse problem for months now. Sleepless nights are common with my new heightened level of anxiety. If democracy rules, is it their home now? Or mine because I was here first? I put out tons of traps– nothing. Not a single one caught. I put out poison (I've already accepted hell so at this point anything goes). Apparently they can live off of poison and not die. Wtf!? I googled it and the poison used for mouse extermination is a blood thinner.

Me:A blood thinner!?! Why isn't it something more poisony like in olden times when you needed to kill your abusive husband, like arsenic or deadly nightshade?! I've always wanted to brew up some deadly nightshade!"     Friend:Uhhhhh because those are lethal and they could kill you or other humans and pets."                             Me:   “Oh haha! Right. I was just kidding... obviously."                  

These guys are intelligent terminator-evolved mice. Poison is their bitch and they literally eat it for breakfast. One night I grabbed a flashlight and shined it right on a mouse. He looked at me and I glared right back at him– the ultimate stare down. Then I yelled, “THIS IS NOT YOUR HOME!!! YOU DON'T LIVE HERE!!! I DO!!!". He scurried away but didn't listen to me. He continues to live here. 

So I killed a mouse. I consider myself a very sensitive and loving person, especially with animals. Unless! You mess with my sanity and push me too far. Then I turn into a complete psych. A storm is unleashed and I go all Mommie Dearest. It takes a lot. But it happens on a rare occasion like this one. A mouse was out in the middle of the day  acting like he owned the place and sh*t! Wandering around, staring at me like, “oh it's just you". I was all, “Ohhh NO! Not this time motherf$%ker! Not on my watch!" He sat behind small chest so I grabbed it, lifted it up and slammed it down. That was it. I was relieved but also felt terrible. I had no choice though, right? I couldn't let him think we were friends and both live here like, “Oh hey Frank, how's it going?! Why don't you bring your thirty brothers and sisters over for dinner tonight– I have a ton of crumbs and don't know what to do with them". Oh no. No no. 

I feel bad this had to happen but also– circle of life, right!?

Let's eat! 

Charred Eggplant || Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Eggplant || Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

Speaking of mouse fertility, this recipe has me all summer's-in-the-air. Fire up the barbecue and let the smell of char and smoke waft through the air. Some fresh lemon juice and herbs for daydreaming in warm breezes and feeling the sunshine on your skin. This meal is a very easy one to make, although takes a bit of time. But in a nice way. In a, put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine while you grill things way.

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

Ajvar (pronounced eye-var) is a spread or sauce popular in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It is perfect on a crust of bread with some butter and topped with feta or goat cheese but is versatile in it's condiment claim. I gave a jar to my friend from Romania and she ate it within twenty four hours on every meal– on bread, with eggs, and as a burger topping. Take a note from her and add it to anything and everything. 

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

CHARRED AJVAR, EGG + DUKKAH TOAST

the magic

inspiration:                 Eastern European grocery stores 

the feels:                     smoky, spreadable + good for dolloping 

eat with:                      bread, dukkah, as a base for or on top of eggs,                                    on labneh/greek yogurt, crumbly cheese,                                            hummus, baba ganoush, on toast with butter                                      + goat/feta cheese, on pasta, in sandwiches,                                      alongside grilled/roasted meat, on top of                                            burgers, or with fresh herbs + olive oil.

might like if you're into:    antipasta, preserves, cooking with fire,                                              tapas, meals at picnic tables, ketchup,                                              the balkans, Eastern European preserves,                                          sharing platters, campfires. 

the science

makes 2 cups ajvar || time: 1.5 hour

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ajvar

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 baby eggplants
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 spanish onion, diced
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup herbs, chopped (parsley, basil, cilantro, mint – one tablespoon of each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, to your taste or a fresh hot chile pepper. I like a good amount of heat to cut the sweetness of the peppers.
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

toast

  • slice of nice bread, toasted
  • handful of arugula
  • egg, fried sunny side
  • dukkah (buy from a market or make your own)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, optional

method:

 

ajvar

  1. I charred my roasted red peppers on my charcoal barbecue grill (with no oil). [If you don't have a barbecue, here are other ways to char red peppers– you can use the same method for the eggplant.] Char each side of the peppers for about 5 minutes (or until the side is black), turning them a quarter turn every time. Afterwards, once the coals were all ashy and burning red with no black left, I lifted the grate off and placed the eggplants directly on the coals. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side and then urn them over to char the other side for another 10 minutes or so. They should be falling in on themselves and covered in ash. 
  2. Once you remove the vegetables from the grill, immediately place them in a large bowl and cover with saran wrap or aluminum foil. The vegetables will steam themselves and release their skin easier. Wait about 10 minutes or until they are cool enough to touch. 
  3. While the vegetables are steaming, place a saucepan over medium to high heat on the stove. Add olive oil, diced onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions for a few minutes until translucent, reduce heat to medium. You can continue to cook the onions down for more caramelization if you like. Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes until garlic is fragrant. 
  4.  Remove peppers and eggplant from bowls, peel the skins off and discard. Add eggplant, peppers, sautéed onions + garlic, and all the remaining ajvar ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunkier than totally pureed.
  5. Place olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat. When hot, add chile flakes or fresh chile peppers and sauté for a few minutes. Add pepper and eggplant mix to pan and turn to medium-low. Let simmer without lid, stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes or until you are happy with the taste. (Sometimes I add a splash of balsamic vinegar at this point if I feel like it needs a bit more of a punch). 
  6. Let cool and place ajvar in airtight container or mason jar and keep in the fridge for one week. You may also freeze ajvar if you think you might not eat it within that time. 

ajvar, egg + dukkah toast

  1. Fry your egg and toast your bread. Spread on a good layer of avjar onto the toast, add arugula, lay egg on top, add a drizzle of olive oil if desired and cover in dukkah.

BREAKFAST PIZZA: BACON, EGG + PESTO

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

Pizza is the perfect meal in my opinion. You can make it however you like. Thick crust to thin crust, goat cheese to parmesan, herbivore to omnivore, red pizza to white and healthy to indulgent. The possibilities are endless!  One of my favourite things about pizza is its versatility–it suits any meal of the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snack after a few drinks, then full circle back to breakfast the next morning. Breakfast foods are equally as versatile and I always keep them in the fridge as a last (or first) resort. 

Therefore, the equation is as follows:

pizza + breakfast = breakfast pizza = one million heart eye emojis!!!!!!!!!!!

I encourage any creative ideas or cravings you have for your homemade pizza. Treat it like a blank canvas. Once in college a few friends and I made a hotdog pizza with barbecue sauce as the base. We were all very high, (clearly) and it ended up being a pretty terrible pizza. The only person who liked it was this dude who was known for never eating fruit or vegetables and drank maple syrup straight from the jar. Very unique fellow, to say the least.

For this pizza, all we need is...

1. Dough: Fresh, pre-made, flatbread or naan will do. I made a dough from scratch–a recipe that my lovely neighbours passed on to me from their family. It was a photocopy of the original his mum had typed out. My favourite part was when she specifies, “Keep kneading until it's as soft as a baby's bottom". I followed her directions until it was decidedly butt-like. 

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

2. Ingredients to top your pizza with. Dream up something wild or stay classic–this pizza is your oyster. Oh my god guys! That sentence just made me think, what about baked oysters on pizza?! Is that a thing? I feel like it should be if it's not. And I'm not even high this time. 

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

3. A charming pizzaiolo/pizzaiola to form the dough. (Optional of course. But it definitely adds to the experience.) There's something especially sensual about forming pizza dough in my opinion. You need to feel the dough with more than just your hands–with your intuition. And of course infuse it with love.

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
BREAKFAST PIZZA: BACON, EGG + PESTO || Cream + Honey

Work dat dough.

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
BREAKFAST PIZZA: BACON, EGG + PESTO || Cream + Honey

Spring gets me all googly-eyed for fresh herbs, so pesto took the place of traditional tomato sauce for this pizza.

I like to brush the crust with some olive oil before putting it into the oven. It turns it a perfect golden hue, adds more crunch and enhances the flavour.

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

Add green things and voila! Now it's healthy! (ish). 

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

It ended up being more of a brunch pizza, hence the wine. I don't drink wine in the am (usually). Unless I'm in Europe. Then it is totally acceptable and no one judges you. And you can be all, What? I'm on vacation".

But if you're making pizza from scratch, it's pretty much like you're in Italy and you deserve a glass in my opinion. No one needs to know but you, me and your fairy god nonna.

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

Two things about this pizza:

1. Sesame seeds on pizza crust are so underrated. I first found this amazing combination when I lived in Vancouver. Many pizzerias there add sesame seeds to the crust and it's a beautiful thing–extra flavour and crunchy bits. Bellissimo.

2. “Breakfast" pizza includes at least one egg in my opinion. Eggs make me swoon. They are one of my favourite foods in the whole world and nothing says breakfast quite like them.

A note on eggs–I recently found out there are one hundred folds in a traditional chef's hat to represent the hundred ways to cook an egg! Blew. my. mind. I told my best friend who is also obsessed with eggs and we started naming every egg possibility we could think of. We didn't get to 100 but it was still a lengthy list. Apparently it's a pretty fun bar game too. 

This wasn't our first conversation about how much we love eggs. It was probably our 100th. And this is a reason why we only have a few best friends. They are rare and match unique parts of our strangeness. I think it makes us feel less alone.

Without her, I'd be talking to myself about eggs for an hour and that seems like a lonely cat lady life. But with those others who get it, and get meit's a moment in time that I can look back on and makes me smile.

Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca
Breakfast Pizza w/ Bacon, Egg + Pesto || A perfect pizza for brunch, lunch or dinner. This recipe is simple and easy to make and vegetarian with the removal of bacon! || creamandhoney.ca

BREAKFAST PIZZA

t h e   m a g i c

i n s p i r a t i o n :             eggs + their endless possibilities 

f e e l s :                                crispy + chewy

e a t   w i t h :                      a fresh salad, avocado on top, sparkling water, wine (maybe a lighter red or                                                      herbaceous white like sauvignon blanc because of the pesto flavours), sangria,                                                spritzer

m i g h t   l i k e   i f   y o u ' r e   i n t o :      cold pizza the day after, pizza freestyling (this is a real thing!),                                                                                 wood burning ovens, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Naples,                                                                                 comfort food, carbs + gluten (they need love too guys!)

t h e   s c i e n c e

This is a bit of a choose your own adventure recipe so the directions are loose and I leave the adaptations up to you.

i n g r e d i e n t s :

  • 1 pizza dough or flat bread 
  • pesto (or tomato sauce)
  • mozzarella cheese (preferably fior di latte)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • bacon (3-4 slices)
  • 1-3 eggs, cracked and placed in separate bowls
  • big handful of arugula 
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • extra virgin olive oil (to brush)
  • parmesan cheese (optional, to top with)
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley or basil, to garnish

m e t h o d : 

  1. Preheat oven to temperature directions of your particular dough. For homemade thin crust like this one, I cook it on the highest temperature that my oven will go which is 550°F.
  2. Sauté bacon in a pan until almost cooked. It will cook more in the oven so I make sure it's underdone in the pan. Put on a plate with paper towel to absorb grease. Chop into rough pieces when cooled.
  3. Get dough ready. Brush with olive oil. Spoon on pesto/sauce and spread out evenly. 
  4. Add as much mozzarella cheese as you prefer. Sprinkle on cherry tomatoes, bacon and sesame seeds mostly on the outer crust. Place on baking sheet or warmed pizza stone and put into oven. Bake until the pizza only needs 5 more minutes. This will depend on your recipe. (I baked mine for 5 minutes before adding the egg).
  5. Remove from oven, pour egg(s) gently onto pizza. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and egg is not slimy. 
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. 
  7. Top with arugula, parmesan cheese, and parley or basil.