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Happy New Year - Let's Get Cooking!

Happy New Year! With all the introspection that accompanies the beginning of a new year, I’ve realized that it represents something much bigger than a day or two of celebration. So today I simply want to thank those of you who’ve supported my efforts in the past year. I look forward to returning the favor in the new one. This past year, my writing and recipes have concentrated on demystifying Paleo and helping readers find out if it’s a lifestyle they can live with. This year I am segueing away from strict Paleo to a subject I’ve written about extensively in the past and one I truly enjoy – breakfast in its many delicious forms! My first book in the New Year will focus on egg dishes for breakfast – with an array of recipes from some updated basics to some that are truly inventive. The emphasis will be on new ways of cooking the first meal of the day, all concentrating on using the best ingredients and saying “no” to processed food. We’ll be making it all ourselves, from the English muffins in Eggs Benedict to the olive tapenade for the Provencal style dish featured below - a recipe from the upcoming book for you to enjoy. (This recipe is also Paleo friendly for those of you following the lifestyle – simply eliminate the capers and added salt if you want to keep with a strict interpretation, and substitute olive or coconut oil for the butter.) Let’s resolve to eat healthy but still eat well while celebrating the New Year. Thank you for your support.

Mediterranean Eggs

Serves 6

Tapenade, the zest Provencal spread of olives, garlic and anchovies inspired this savory dish with eggplant.

6 small eggplants, 5-6 inches long

3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsps. minced garlic

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

3 tbsps. capers, rinsed and drained

4 anchovy filets, rinsed and drained

3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 tbsps. unsalted butter

6 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

Prick the eggplants all over and place on a baking sheet cut side up. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until just tender. Slice the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Coarsely chop the eggplant and spoon into a medium bowl. Reserve half of the skins and place them on a baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the olives, capers and anchovies and cook for 30 seconds longer. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the plum tomatoes and reserved eggplant. Divide the mixture evenly among the six eggplant skins. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crack each egg into the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the whites are mostly solid. Turn the eggs and cook for one minute longer, until the whites are just cooked through. Place one egg on each eggplant and season with salt and pepper to serve.

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