I first had Shakshuka at the Fagen estate in East Hampton. Their chef who used to work at Mimi's Hummus, prepared the Middle Eastern dish for 10 people and we ate it at a long table by the pool. I've been wanting to make it since and when I found out Aimee and Marc were coming to brunch (she's allergic to seafood so no lox) it was the perfect time. I made Melissa Clark's shakshuka — delicious, cheap and easy. You don't need a private chef for this. In fact you can make it mostly ahead of time (add eggs after guests arrive) and serve family-style in middle of table with warm pita.
I'm not a big fan of making something with disguised veggies and protein to trick my kids into getting some nutrients. It's certainly not because I've been blessed with great eaters. Nate will eat hot dogs, apples and pasta with butter (he recently threatened to give up apples until I cried for mercy.) Mack is more adventurous and seems to take more enjoyment in food, but he won't eat anything Nate refuses and it's hard for him to sit still long enough to consume a whole meal.
I've tried Jessica Seinfeld's recipes with little success. The banana-peanut butter-carrot muffins were sort of dense and nobody liked them, all 24 of them. The chocolate cake made with beets tasted like it was made with beets. And after spending a lot of valuable time on these, I sort of gave up and went back to broiling hot dogs.
The one "kid friendly" recipe that has intrigued me is Melissa Clark's infamous carrot mac and cheese, adapted from her book here. It's simple to make and beloved by many. It has traveled far and wide into foodie circles as well as "kid-foodie" (there should be a term for this.) circles. So yesterday I gave it a try. The trick is that the shredded carrots look similar to the shredded cheddar and the whole wheat elbows so the child will get confused and not realize he is eating carrots.
Well, not my kids. Neither of them would even touch it which was a real shame since it was pretty damn good. I ate a good portion for dinner and froze chunks of the rest to try again on Mack in a few weeks. (That kid has no memory!)