Big day in our house: My husband went into his office for the third time in 15 months, leaving me working from home with our two kids. The older one is busy with remote school, but my 4-year-old is at loose ends shoving waffles in his mouth, begging to use the iPad and watching three hours of “Curious George” shirtless while I conduct whispered interviews in the other room.

And so, in an effort to be an engaged and creative work-from-home parent, I came up with a cooking activity: brunch! I’m fresh off a Market Basket run—my first since March 2020—and I have jars of Rao’s tomato sauce taking up valuable pantry real estate. Fresh eggs, too. Why not shakshuka?

So, Peter and I made breakfast together. Shakshuka is a popular Middle Eastern and Israeli all-day dish, and you can find plenty of tasty renditions around Boston. My personal favorite is at Ana Sortun’s Sofra in Cambridge, where the eggs are always poached to oozy perfection in a thin, savory sauce.

Kara’s son Peter holds the finished shakshuka (Photo: Kara Baskin)
Kara’s son Peter holds the finished shakshuka (Photo: Kara Baskin)

Well, I am no Ana Sortun, but that didn’t stop me. We adapted this recipe, which had a few too many ingredients for my liking (I really don’t need extra butter or sugar), but covers the basics:

Mince three cloves of garlic and chop up half a small yellow onion.

Splash a light coating of olive oil into a saucepan.

Cook garlic and onion until soft.

Pour half a jar of tomato sauce—I really think Rao’s is the freshest-tasting supermarket variety—into the saucepan and simmer on low.

Ask your child to stir in a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a healthy shake of red pepper flakes.

Crack some eggs! My sous chef has a delicate touch; a parent might need to do the official whacking. Make sure shells don’t fall into the saucepan.

Poach for between five to eight minutes. Set a timer so you don’t lose track.

While eggs are poaching, chop a handful of cilantro, or your herb of choice. Your assistant can monitor the eggs. Mine enjoyed watching the “lava” (or tomato sauce) overtake the “ninjas” (or, you know…eggs).

When the eggs are done—they should be jiggly but not runny, depending on your taste—ladle into a bowl. Garnish with cilantro and a sprinkle of either feta or goat cheese.

There you have it: a tasty breakfast in under 10 minutes. My assistant pronounced our work “hot, but scary”; I pronounced it a welcome switch from his usual frozen waffles.