As different as we all may be—politically, physically, locationally, whatever-ly—there is one common, miserable experience that binds humanity. I argue that it's worse than preparing taxes (which, reminder, are due basically tomorrow) or flying cross-Atlantic next to the lavatory. It's moving. It's packing up your worldly possessions with some illusion of organization, only to break something necessary or lose something else along the way, and managing to blow through a zillion dollars and years of your life in the process. Hope I just made you excited for your next lease to end!
Speaking from experience, I'm happy to report that there is a special place in hell for people who decide a good time to try to move out of state is while planning a wedding—not only move, but buy a house, too—because I have found that special place. Currently, I am actually roasting in it! I'm not complaining about the good stuff in my life, because it is great, but going through the transition has been agony, and made my fiancé and me really grumpy. Our grump has extended to cooking, which sucks when you're stressed and fear you will probably never have money again.
It's only a borderline overstatement to say that, in the last two months, shakshuka has saved my life. In particular, this recipe: Nigella's Eggs in Purgatory.
Nigella's recipes are often a bit precious/twee/nope, but this one is, like, unfuckupable. Which is exactly what you need when you are the walking, breathing incarnation of literally cannot even (I concede it's a thing). You won't always get something gorgeous, especially if you also necessarily use non-dairy cheese, but it's always good. It's always fast. It always hits the spot right when you need it to. Plus, it works for every single meal.
It's basically adult boxed mac 'n' cheese, but you don't feel like a total dirtbag for eating it. And the ingredients—of which there are six, since the cheese, chili oil, and bread aren't totally necessary—are always on hand, too. In this...
...there are always eggs, canned tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and salt. (Their absence is actually a decent barometer for me having completely lost my mind.)
Regardless of whether you're moving, or are just in a moment where dealing with anything or anyone, including a delivery person, seems like hell, this recipe will work for your brief rage blackout. Since I've probably made this recipe about 20 times in the last year, a few additional thoughts:
- Double it. This is a mouse amount of food, or at least for two emotional eaters like my fiancé and me, and especially on our world-weary days. Conveniently, one big tomato can is 28 ounces.
- Four to five eggs is good if you do double it. Dig out divots for the eggs when you drop them in so the whites don't spread over the top of the tomatoes (oddly, she doesn't mention this—but give any egg you're poaching a little pocket to cook in). Also, I always cover the skillet for a couple of minutes with a stockpot lid to cook the whites, or they don't generally firm. Even flame distribution makes a big difference for cooking the eggs, so on a pain-in-the-ass apartment stove, reposition the skillet as you cover it to make sure all the eggs are getting heat.
- Be liberal with garlic and crushed red. Especially the pepper if you like spice. Generally all of the ingredient measurements are suggestions, although I do like using only one big can of tomatoes. But experimenting to taste is fun.
If you've never had shakshuka, this recipe is a great gateway to not only try it, but also learn to cook it. Because it's so simple, it's also a really nice jumping-off point for building on, whether you want to get creative on your own, or be less intimidated to make something like this, which isn't exactly hard, but maybe requires you to be more of a functioning member of society. It'll be a while before we'll have the bandwidth to start improvising, but I'm certain I'll be making the six-ingredient version again soon. We definitely haven't moved yet.