middle eastern


Izak, Sheba and Shabazi – Recipe by Christian Leue

makes 2 thin-crust 12″ pies


If making dough from scratch:
1 cup warm water (around 115°F)
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
about 3 cups (450g) all-purpose flour (depending on humidity and age of flour)

Shakshuka sauce:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, 1/4″ dice or thin strips depending on how chunky you like it
3 sweet peppers (your choice, I like a mix), 1/4″ dice or thin strips
2 big cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tsp Izak N37
2 tsp Sheba N40
1 28 oz can of tomatoes with juice, roughly crushed by hand
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp shio koji
2 tsp preserved lemon rind, finely minced
1 tsp raw sugar (or to taste, you want the sauce lightly sweet)

Basic toppings:
1 cup of fried lamb merguez sausage (1/2″ crumbles) (substitute grilled eggplant or zucchini chunks seasoned with Tangier N.23 for a vegetarian version)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
4 eggs
1 tsp Shabazi N38

Fun additions:
oil cured labneh balls
chopped calabrian chiles


Make the dough

• Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. If a dough does not form, add a bit more water, if the dough is very wet and sticky, add a bit more flour. Once the dough can no longer be mixed easily, pull it out with your hands and knead on a lightly floured cutting board until you form an elastic ball of slightly sticky dough (about 12 minutes).

• Divide the dough in two and form each half into a ball. Add a bit of olive oil to the surface of each and cover them with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about an hour in a warm place.

Make the sauce

• In a heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. When fragrant add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes more or until everything is softened and lightly browned. Add garlic and spices and cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring more frequently. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, shio koji, and preserved lemon and drop the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 20-25 minutes or until thick. Taste and adjust with sugar/salt as necessary.

note: if starting from leftover shakshuka sauce, heat on low for 10 minutes to thicken it and adjust sweetness with raw sugar (you want it to be lightly sweet)

Make your pie

• Preheat the oven to 500°F. For best results place a thick sheet of steel in the oven (alternatively you can use a pizza stone or baking sheet, but the crust will not get as crisp).

• Roll one of your dough balls out on a floured surface until you get a 12″ rough circle. Place on a sheet of parchment paper on a flat sheet pan or pizza peel, and trim the paper so it’s only a bit bigger than the dough. Top the dough with half of the sauce, merguez, and feta, and make two wells in the sauce for the eggs. Crack each egg into its own small bowl, discarding any bits of shell. Carefully transfer the dough and parchment to your steel/stone. After 3 minutes of baking place an egg in each divot and then cook until crust is crisp and eggs are barely set (about 3-4 minutes more). Top with a dusting of Shabazi (and/or fresh cilantro leaves), slice, and serve. It’s a bit messy, and totally delicious.

Fun to try

• Shabazi and Izak garlic knots! Roll pizza dough into skinny 8″ long cylinders, coat liberally in a mix of Izak and Shabazi (I prefer 3:1), fresh chopped garlic, and olive oil. Tie in a knot and bake until crispy (about 8 minutes).

• Calzones! Make a mixture of differently textured cheeses (ricotta, feta, haloumi is a good place to start). Mix with merguez and fold your calzone. Bake at 450° until well puffed and golden. Break and stir two eggs into your shakshuka sauce and cook on low until creamy. Use for dipping the slices of calzone.

• Dessert Pizza. Perfect if you’re having dinner for two or three and want to make one regular pizza and one dessert from a batch of dough. Labneh, goat cheese, and ricotta are great. Try fresh figs, chopped dates, and/or thinly sliced apples as toppings. When the pie is almost done cooking finish with nuts, spices, and syrups (some ideas: chopped pistachios, sesame, pomegranate molasses, Apollonia, Noga, Aleppo pepper).

Past February Recipes

2017 – Shakshuka with Izak N37 and Sheba N40

Food image and recipe © Christian Leue. Questions? Contact


(From Cooking Light)

IngredientsTahini-Carrot Soup with Pistachios

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock (such as Swanson)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well stirred
  • 8 teaspoons Tahini Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high.
  • Add onion; sauté 5 minutes.
  • Stir in salt, paprika, turmeric, and garlic; cook 1 minute.
  • Add carrots; cook 1 minute.
  • Stir in stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
  • Combine carrot mixture and 3 tablespoons tahini in a blender. Remove center piece from blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean kitchen towel over opening in lid (to avoid splatters). Process until smooth.
  • Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls. Drizzle 2 teaspoons Tahini Sauce over each serving.
  • Top each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons pistachios and 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves.

Serves 6


2 medium sized celery roots, peeled and washed
4 medium sized parsnips, peeled
1 yellow onion, peeled
¼ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth at room temperature
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar



1. Cut celery roots, parsnips and onion to roughly 1½ inch cubes. Put ¼ cup of olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, add vegetables and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coriander and broth, bring to boil, lower heat, cover pot and cook for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Transfer to a blender and blend until very smooth. Return soup to pot over low heat, add salt, cook for an extra minute and remove from heat.

2. While soup is cooking, prepare the caramelized garlic. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat, then add garlic and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden brown and sticky. Remove from heat and transfer garlic with cooking oil immediately to a small bowl to stop the cooking process. Keep until ready to serve the soup.

3. Ladle soup into soup bowls, top with garlic and olive oil and serve.
read more:

Yield: 12 to 14 muffins

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (30 grams) well-stirred tahini
1/2 cup (80 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk, almond milk or (nonalcoholic) apple cider
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour (see Note)
2 cup packed coarsely grated carrots (from about 9 ounces or 5 slim carrots)

Glaze (optional)
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (25 grams) tahini
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk olive oil, tahini and brown sugar together in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, then buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt, then switch to a spoon or flexible spatula and stir in flour, then carrots, mixing just until combined.

Either line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with paper liners or coat them with a nonstick spray. Fill each about 3/4 of the way with batter. You’ll probably have enough for 2 more after this, so you can hold some back if needed. Bake muffins for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out batter-free. Muffins should be domed and lightly golden on top. Let them cool in pan for 5 minutes on a rack before transferring them to the cooling rack to cool completely.

If you’d like to glaze your muffins, whisk powdered sugar, tahini and water together in a medium dish. Either drizzle this over the cooled muffins or dunk them into the puddle. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

NOTE… up to a 2/3 (1 1/3 cup) flour swap with whole wheat flour (possibly more, but I only tested them that far).

ALSO, KEEP IN MIND… while the tahini provides a nutty background the muffins, the glaze is only for tahini junkies as the flavor is front and center.


Servings: Makes about ¾ cup

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, cayenne, and ¼ cup water until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 4 days ahead. Keep chilled.