Monday, February 23, 2015

I KNOW A MAMA WHO

knows a mama who had sex last night.

Is feeling the estrogen drop and the testosterone rise. Would give up alcohol and sugar if her son would stay small forever. Wonders if her exhaustion is life threatening. Still doesn’t floss.

I know a mama who stares at the asses of young women and thinks why didn't I love my young body when I had one?

Judges herself by her kids’ daily intake of decent food. Likes things tidy down there. Loves watching her husband sleep. Is trying not to turn into her mother.

I know a mama who wonders why she is staying home instead of flexing her brain in the world.

Falls asleep during sex. Hopes her son is gay so she doesn't have to battle a daughter-in-law. Cannot get over her envy of mamas who don't have to work. Can breathe through anything.

I know a mama who loves her work so much that she sometimes feels like she shouldn’t be a mama.

Had an affair in order to remember that she likes sex. Wonders just how much iPad use will cause her kids’ brains to melt. Can’t stop eating granola when it's in her house. Is getting divorced. Finally feels free.

I know a mama who doesn't believe her husband when he says she is hot.

Still gets zits. Can’t believe she still gets zits. Loves her son so much it makes her skin tingle. Said to the bully next door if you touch my kid again, I'll cut your fingers off.

Spends work meetings assessing the fuckability of all men in the room. Braises meat for comfort. Pees a little every time she coughs, sneezes, or laughs. Drinks her second glass of wine in a mug.

Feels high when she doesn't eat lunch. Is one snippy comment away from throwing anything in reach at her husband. Does handstands in the shower. Swears in front of her children. Wants another baby.

I know a mama who doesn’t know how to help her daughter feel smart, beautiful, feminine, strong, brave.

I know a mama who hugged her son close when his father walked out the door without saying goodbye.

Backed out of the driveway with the car door open. Almost drove away from the gas pump with the nozzle in the car. Gives her 12-year-old daughter coffee to help make hard mornings smoother. Cannot get her kids to school on time. Looks like she has it all together.

I know a mama who feels nothing down there.

Is afraid she will hit one of her children. Is hoping menopause will come soon because the monthly cramps are unbearable. Feels wrinkly and gray, but when she talks at work, people fucking listen. Tries not to look in the mirror.

Likes things bushy down there. Loves giving blow jobs. Fakes orgasms. Has an ulcer. Helps everyone breathe.

I know a mama who knows that sometime in the next 15 years her husband is going to fall in love with another woman and she will have to decide whether or not to forgive him.

I know a mama who feels so dark on her dark days she can’t fathom that she’s only halfway through this slog.

Sleeps underneath an ever-growing pile of clean laundry. Fantasizes about women. Wonders why no one told her when she was young that sex was so complicated. Wishes she had experimented when she had the chance. Is fooling everyone.

I know a mama who woke up with cream cheese icing in her hair, cupcake crumbs between her breasts, red wine staining her lips and teeth and sheets.

Gets Brazilians for her husband. Just discovered a whole new crop of spider veins. Has a lover who lives across the country. Likes her ass for the first time in her life. Has never felt stronger.

I know a mama who feels duped.
Feels lost.
Feels fat.
Feels loved.

Tried to sext with her husband and was rejected. Gets deeply depressed when she masturbates. Sexts with strangers. Needs gin. Has never felt braver.

I know a mama who loves her kids more than her husband.

Needs to feed people. Used to turn heads when she walked into a room. Called her son a little shit to his face. Is still truly madly deeply in love with her husband.

I know a mama who learned how to be a good mama from her own mama.

I know a mama who is stunned by the capacity of her heart.

______________________________


Ten women (myself included) contributed to this post. We wrote back and forth for several weeks. The thread included over 100 emails. I've streamlined our words a bit for overall cohesiveness within the post. I've removed some specifics so that our stories are less recognizable and more universal. But most of what you read above is what came flying into my inbox.

A few days into this very moving exchange, one woman wrote that she couldn't make granola anymore because she would eat it all in one sitting. Granola recipes were exchanged. And then the magic happened. Bags and Mason jars of granola were delivered all over Berkeley and Oakland: placed on front stoops, shoved into mailboxes, tucked behind pots of herbs. Granola was sent to Los Angeles and Long Island. We handed it off at parties and play dates. We called it crack. We called it dinner. We ate so much we got tummy aches.


I had  a little contest over on Instagram and Facebook in which I asked people to help me name my granola (winner receives a big  batch of granola in the mail). Here's how I described it: Sweet and salty clumps of oats, hemp, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and sliced almonds are held together by brown butter, olive oil, coconut oil, honey, maple syrup, and brown sugarOut of over 150 entries, here are some of my favorites:

Seedy Underbelly
Nama-Stay Away From My Granola
#MotherfuckingOm Granola
Salted Seedy Granola Crunch
Crack-ola
Crack Granola
Not Your Mama's Granola
Fairy Crisps
Clumpy Monkey
Seedy Brown Butter Crunch
Dash and Bella Crunch
It's Berkeley, Bitches Granola
Don't-Hate-It-Cuz-It's-Hemp Crunch
Hemp Hemp Hurray
Hemp and Awe
Nutty Maple Brown Butter Crunch
Girasole Granola
Cluster's Last Stand

The winner is Jen Bilik from Venice, California. She came up with Grantola. My last name. My granola. Merged into one. Simple. Kick ass. Perfect. 

Grantola (or Brown Butter Hemp Maple Honey Brown Sugar Oat Sesame Sunflower Seed Nut Crunch)
printable recipe
makes enough to fill two 17 x 20-inch baking sheets.
serves 1 to 20

Thank you to my friend, Samin Nosrat, who told me about using an egg white for clumpier granola. Works brilliantly! It you like looser granola, add 1/2 cup flour to your dry mixture and skip the egg white.

Use this as a template. Make it your own. Delete the nuts. Add less brown sugar. Skip the fucking hemp. Please play. There are no rules.

If you choose to add dried fruit, do so after the granola has baked or your teeth will be hella bummed.

ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cup long-cooking oats 
1 cup sesame seeds (black or white or a combination)
2 cup nuts (any combination of chopped walnuts, chopped pecans,  slivered almonds)
1 cup hemp seeds 
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg white

directions:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once it's melted, don't walk away. Swirl it around a few times. It will foam and spatter. After 3 of 4 minutes, it will start to smell nutty. Then is will quiet down and brown bits will drop to the bottom of the pan. At this point, remove it from the heat. Add brown sugar, coconut oil, olive oil, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine and set aside. It won't come together. That's okay.

Place the following in the largest bowl (or pot) you have: oats, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, salt. Toss together with your hands.

Pour the sweet buttery mixture over the dry contents in the big bowl. Toss together with your hands or a large spoon. Whisk the egg white until frothy and then mix it into the sweet and buttery granola mixture (again, with your hands if you wish).

Divide mixture in half and spread out to about 1/2-inch thickness on the two prepared baking sheets. Press down with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Nestle in any stray chunks so they don't overcook.

You will want to cook it between 30 and 40 minutes. Start by baking for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss well. Press back down. Again, tuck in any stray chunks. Bake another 10 minutes. Repeat tossing. Press down. Bake another 10 minutes. At this point, you're at 30 minutes which results in a nicely baked granola. If you like your granola darker, cook up to 10 more minutes more, 40 minutes total.

Remove from the oven. Cool completely on the baking sheets. It should be like a sheet pan-sized fragile granola bar. Break it apart into bite-sized chunks (or bigger if you like). To prevent sogginess, store at room temperature in an airtight container or bag for up to three weeks. Or freeze for up to six months.

Friday, January 23, 2015

IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY

for my grandma phyllis
1921-2015
I open the front door and step onto the porch in all my sick mama glory: plaid pajama bottoms, pink cashmere socks, cooking clogs, a grandpa sweater, a Sriracha t-shirt, two scarves. My nose is so red that it shines through the green papaya enzyme mask I put on my face an hour earlier. My pockets are filled with dirty tissues. My hair is in a tangled top knot. I look left. I look right. All clear.
You got the drugs?
Ten-year-old Jacob gives me the codeine and a spoon. I hand him the cheese ball with strict instructions. Jacob, your mother thinks she's not going to like this so you need to give it the hard sell. Three different cheeses, butter, mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic, shallots. And then I rolled the whole thing in fig jam, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries. Tell her to scoop it into her mouth with the buttery crackers.
Six-year-old Eli stands back, watching my every move. He looks concerned.
Eli? I'm not going to die. I promise. I just need some drugs. And your mom is my supplier.
The night before, Eli’s neighbor, Marietta, was whisked off on a stretcher. She never came back.
Eli, Marietta was old. 
Just 20 minutes before he was sobbing in his mother's lap, worried that I was going to die too.
Sweetie, I am young.
Eli doesn't look convinced. 
Well, I'm young-ish. 
I tousle his hair. 
And I'm super healthy.
He smooths his hair back down.
Plus, I've been eating a cheese ball for two days straight. I think it's killing my virus.
I was at Eli's birth. There was this terrifying moment during labor when his heart rate dipped. 
I will be here tomorrow. 
They flipped the scary lights on. Doctors and nurses rushed in.
I promise, Eli.
To try to loosen the cord around his neck, they turned his mama onto all fours and had her drop down to her forearms.
Trust me.
I held her until the amplified boom boom boom of his heart filled up the room again.
Okay, Phyllis. See you tomorrow.
I watch the boys carefully walk the cheese ball home to their mom. Within 5 minutes I get a text: 

i take it back
this cheese ball is fucking delicious
I decide my work is done for the day. I get in bed and listen to my kids navigate the mama-free kitchen. A knife is pulled. A glass is broken. Someone squirts someone else with the honey bear. I am dizzy with the flu. And then I overhear the most beautiful words in the world.
Let's tuck mom in.
They pat my pillow, pull the covers up to my chin, give me 100 kisses good night.
I lie in the dark, imagining the ants crawling in the honey and the shards of glass on the floor. I take a teaspoon of codeine. I will be here in the morning to clean up the mess.cheese ball cheese ball Recipe for my Cheese Ball with Pecans and Cranberries is in my Cooking What I Want column over at Food52.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

TWO ENTREES. TWO DESSERTS. FOUR STORIES.

Here are some favorite posts from my Food52 column Cooking What I Want. I was thinking these recipes might work well for a crowd (if you happen to have one in your house this week). Click on the dish name or the food photo for a recipe.

And if you feel like it, let me know in the comments below what kinds of recipes you'd like me to develop this winter. I tend to make the same things over and over again so I would love some inspiration.

Happy winter solstice. And here's to a hella peaceful new year.

xoxo Phyllis
POMEGRANATE FLANK STEAK
http://food52.com/recipes/31870-pomegranate-flank-steak
Dash. Look outside. We fell back.

What?

It's 5:20 in the evening. But what time does it look like?

6:20.

And in the spring when it's 5:20 what will it look like?

4:20.

Here's the best part, Dash. On Monday morning, 7 AM will feel like 8 AM. Total. Score. But I'm bummed the weekend is over.

Me too. It was great because my daddy came home. 
That was my favorite part too. 

We carved pumpkins, we had pancakes, we had Halloween. There was candy. You ate my strawberry Starbursts. And then you made shakshuka.
I did?
No. Wait. Mom. You made baba ganoush. I get all these new words mixed up. And then we had plank steak.
Did you like the plank steak?
It was delicious. Sweet but sour. Juicy. It was awesome.
Dash, do you think that dinner tasted better because daddy was here?
Maybe a little. Because I don't like it when it's just three. I like the whole four.
Yes, my love. It was a perfect weekend.
I don’t tell him that nothing makes me happier than cooking for his daddy.

I don’t tell him his daddy doesn’t like flank steak, that I forgot, that I’ve lost touch.
I don’t tell him about the kiss his daddy gave me when he got home on Friday night, the one behind the bedroom door, against the Transformers poster, amongst the Legos and stuffed cats, right before the first trick or treaters arrived.

I don’t tell him how sometimes I hide in the kitchen and cook so that I don’t have to be fully present as a wife or a parent.

I don’t tell him how this was a record, how his daddy and I made it 36 hours before our first fight.

I don’t tell him about the fight, the same one we always have, the you are so controlling, followed by the you have no patience, ending, as always, with me sobbing on the kitchen floor.
I don’t tell him how blissed out it made me to roll over on Saturday morning to find a warm chest for my head, to interlace fingers with fingers and toes with toes, to feel my entire being enveloped by the steady rhythm of someone else’s breath.

I don’t tell him that it’s possible to love someone just as much now as you did 25 years ago.

I don’t tell him that I ate all of his Snickers bars for lunch.

I tell him only one thing.

Dash. It’s flank. Not plank.

SPICED LAMB PIE
http://food52.com/recipes/32153-spiced-lamb-pie
When I was 10 years old, I wanted world peace, no capital punishment, and an endless supply of Fun Dip Sticks.

At 44, I want my kids’ homework done, the table set without triple requests, and for all of us to sit down to dinner at the same time with napkins in our laps.
I want my son to take a bath at least once a week.

I want a slow, luxurious husband-kiss delivered to the side of my neck while I chop herbs.
I want my fall filled with warm and cinnamony lamb pies.

I want to sit at the kitchen table—red wine in hand, breathing deeply, staring at the wall, thinking about nothing—while my husband does the dishes.


I want to stop yelling at my children.


I want all of the laundry folded and tucked away, the bills organized and paid, the leak under the kitchen sink fixed.


I want us all to feel safe.


Last Wednesday, at 6 PM, I try for these dreams.


But there are some issues.


My husband is out of town.


The red wine gives me a headache. I google perimenopause and red wine. The news is horrifying.
So I become a yelling machine.

No way. Not on a school night. No. I don’t care how nicely you ask. No screentime. No. No! Nooooooooooo.

No. Please, Dash. Don’t sharpen your pencil with a chef knife!

Pick up your lunchbox your Legos your jacket your dirty socks your homework your cheddar bunnies!!!

I turn away from it all to stir a pungent paste of garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, and spices into the ground lamb. My world fills with cinnamon, paprika, cumin. The juices reduce down and thicken. I turn off the heat and reach for the dough.

I hear a jumble of voices: teacher, mama, recipe writer. Don’t move your body, move the dough. Don’t overhandle it. Add flour. Move quickly. Look at the beautiful marbling of butter. Isn’t dough amazing? Want to make a honey pie with the scraps?

I pour the filling into the pie shell, slide as much cheese as possible underneath the top crust, and bust out a scrappy crimp.

I am no longer yelling.

I snap out of my pie trance and remember that kids need to be fed at a reasonable hour on a school night.

And 8:30 PM isn’t reasonable. 

I pull out the frozen pizza. 

http://food52.com/recipes/32350-brown-butter-blondies
Extra chocolate chips. Hella brown sugar. An overflowing tablespoon of vanilla extract.

For my daughter after her pull-ups. For my son as he tries to conjugate the verb dormir. For my husband as he drives away from our Thanksgiving weekend, away from our unit of four, away from our fully-loaded Christmas tree. For my mother because there is nothing better than feeding your mother.

Brown butter with toasted walnuts. No chocolate chips. Less brown sugar.

For me, right before bed, drifting off to sleep with butterscotch on my tongue after defiantly ignoring my toothbrush because I'm 44 and I can do what I want. 
Chocolate stirred in while the dough is still warm. Crinkly on the top, marbley brownie on the inside. 
For my grandmother, accompanied by lukewarm Lipton tea. Eaten with my hand resting on her impossibly fragile arm. In her hospital bed. After she says "I don't like blondies." After I say to the nurse, "did you know that I wanted to be my grandmother when I was little?" Before she actually bites in and smiles and reaches for more.
A heaping teaspoon of salt. Just enough chocolate chips so the butterscotch flavor doesn’t have to compete. Balanced. Nuts optional. 
Brought over by my neighbor: on my birthday or my son’s or just because, at the end of many rough days, after yet another miscarriage. Eaten while sobbing, letting the buttery chocolate squares fill me back up again. Shared with no one.
Versions of all four batches rest in my freezer, cubed and Ziplocked. Up for grabs. For the forgotten second-grade-holiday-party-potluck. For late nights with "The Newsroom" and red wine. For anyone who stops by. For Marianne, Simon, Margi, Sarah, Amy, Yalda, Laurel, Jen, Anya, Anna, my brother, my mom, my dad. I promised you all some blondies. Come over. Let me feed you.  
CARAMEL NUT TART WITH CHOCOLATE
http://food52.com/recipes/32584-caramel-nut-tart-with-chocolate
I sit alone in the car, listening to reports about the upcoming hellastorm, a trail of broken windows from the previous night’s protests, how everyone is bringing booty back. I try to find my morning.   
Gather every lonely nut you can find in your pantry, fridge, freezer.
I squeeze my eyes shut, smack my cheeks, and try to kickstart my brain. I don’t know how I jumped out of bed this morning, how I got these clothes on my body, how I showed up in the kitchen. I have no memory of nuzzling one child and then the other awake. 
Roll out your tart dough. Find your favorite square pan.
My arms must have prepared three breakfasts, two lunches, one cup of very strong coffee. My voice must have guided with variations of take a deep breath, I will help you find your homework, yes your socks are clean and in the bin, no you can't get Snapchat.
Think about all of the tarts that have passed through this pan, this kitchen. Testing, re-testing, learning to let go of being perfect. 
My head drops to the steering wheel. I am feeling the side effects: the slow decline of my sacrum, my teeth, my brain. I need to look up. I need to break some rules. 
Caramelize the sugar. Stir in the cream. Watch it rise up like a volcano.
I re-enter the kitchen and the morning floods back. Every last word, struggle, sprint, geometry problem, glass of spilled milk. I hear myself say: first, make the bed. I see myself tucking, folding, scrubbing.
Add some salt. A bit more salt. Some vanilla. A bit more vanilla. 
I pick my kids up from school. As the helicopters start in for the fifth night in a row, I see my son cover his ears from the noise. I feel myself start a stumbling rant: Things must change and we can help and we must not just let things be and we are all equal and there is so much history filled with violence and oppression and we must march and chant and fight. I want to be the right parent. The clear parent. 
Pour the caramel-drenched walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, almonds into the raw pastry shell. Fuck par-baking. 
Dash, sometimes people have to make some noise. 

Stare at your pretty tart. Melt bitter chocolate. Get a spoon. Drizzle. Mess it up.

Friday, December 19, 2014

SOUNDTRACKS

We hike up the hill towards the track, running shoes on, holding hands, pretending we're forest ninjas. 

Are pumpkins still alive after they're picked? Why have you been drinking so much tea? Who is this King Tut guy? This stick totally looks like a machine gun. I want a robot, don't you? Did I tell you I got a Kangaskhan card and it has 230 life? I don't think there's a God. I want a new dog and I will name him Biscuit. Oh my God, mom, look at that beautiful sky.

Swaths of orange and red blaze across the bay, a sunset so breathtaking that dozens of people sit in the bleachers, reveling, taking photos, leaning in towards one another. It would be so easy to join them.


Don't sit down. Don't sit down. Don't sit down.


Mom, are you talking to yourself again?


Maybe.


We shift. We smile. We feed on each other's hesitations.

Ready, mom?


Ready, Dash.


Set?


Set.


Go.


I don't go. Shit. I don't go.

He is halfway around the track.

I own a different body now. My breasts are three inches lower. My legs are three inches thicker.

He has almost completed a lap.


My abdominals are split open. My pelvic floor is a foreign country.


He swings by for lap number two, slows down, tries to grab me. 


Come on, mom.

He doesn't know that scraped out feeling. Always searching for the on button.


We're here to run.

He wakes up running. I wake up recalibrating.

Mom?


Bound by bound, breath by breath, I match his gait. My legs glide without effort. My arms pump. We move and move and move. Faster and faster and faster. He has me.

Dash. Oh my God. I'm running!

He gives me the I-love-you-even-though-you're-crazy look.

Dude, I didn't think I would make it more than ten steps. The last time I ran was on my wedding day. 

You mean you haven't run since way before I was born?

Nope, Dash. I haven't run for 13 years.

Up and down the attic stairs to fetch laundry, paper towels, dead rats. In circles. From the house to the car to the house to the car. Down the supermarket aisle to catch a tumbling bottle of wine, a jar of pickles, an avalanche of apples. Towards a choking child. Out of the house in anger. Into my husband's arms. Behind a child's teetering bicycle. Towards speeding cars, crashing waves, third story windows.


He stops to process. To catch his breath. To search for the moon. To be seven years old.

Mom, it's dark and I want to go home and I'm so hungry.

Dash, I want shakshuka more than anything.

I want mac and cheese more than anything. 


I chase my little running man down the hill, endorphins dancing around my head, superhero rocket jets still humming. 

I have let my stories get too big. 

What did you say, mom? Why are you smiling?

Dash, please eat shakshuka with me.
(recipe written up by Dash; layout inspired by Pokémon cards)

Shack shooka. Shakshuka. Shakshouka. Chakchouka. Many spellings from around my house. And from around the world. I understand it has Tunisian and Israeli origins. I have never followed a shakshuka recipe but I've been inspired by dozens of photos from all over the web. 

My Berkeley version involves a harissa-spiced tomato and onion sauce, dotted with feta, topped with baked eggs and chopped herbs. 

Scoop it up with grilled bread. Add white beans, grilled sausages, braised lamb, or cooked potatoes.

Add on. Take away. Make it your own.

Here's my shakshuka. Please tell me about yours. 

SHAKSHUKA
printable recipe
serves 4
The only thing you need to make ahead of time is the garlic confit. Or just skip it! 

You can make this a one-dish dinner by cooking the sauce in an ovenproof pan, adding the eggs, and throwing it into the oven. Or, make the sauce a a few days ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Or freeze it. You can make individual shakshukas. Or spoon the sauce into a large baking dish for 4 people. Or double the recipe and make it for 8.

Sometimes, I use my cast iron pan for this but some people swear you should never put acidic tomatoes into cast iron. I've never had a problem. Do this at your own risk. I think it might depend on the depth of buildup on the interior of your pan.

ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely diced (yielding 2 to 2.5 cups)
1 heaping teaspoon salt
8 cloves garlic confit, squeezed out of their skins
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
3 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
1 box or can of crushed or diced tomatoes, 26 to 28 ounces (avoid those with too many additional ingredients, salt and basil are fine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon harissa
1 tablespoon honey
2 sprigs fresh thyme
sherry wine vinegar, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon lemon zest (either stripped with a zester or microplaned)
6 ounces of your favorite feta (any kind is fine but I prefer one with a creamier texture)
4 eggs
1/4 cup garlic oil from garlic confit

directions:
Place medium-sized ovenproof pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Once butter is melted, add onions and salt.  Stir every few minutes until translucent. Turn the heat to a simmer  Cover. Cook for about an hour. Stir every 10 minutes or so. If it starts to stick, add a splash of water. It's okay if it browns a bit. This will just add flavor. It's done when the texture is creamy and the color is golden. Remove the lid and boil off most of the liquid (if there is any). Keep the heat on low.

With your mortar and pestle, make a paste out of the garlic confit, fresh garlic, and anchovies. Add to cooked onions. Cook for 30 seconds. Stirring constantly. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, harissa, honey, and thyme. Stir. Bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. You want it to thicken and sweeten and intensify. Taste. Adjust. 1 tablespoon of harissa can be quite powerful, but add more if the sauce doesn't have enough kick. I usually add some more salt and a splash of sherry wine vinegar. Remove the thyme sprigs. At this point, you can cool the sauce and then refrigerate or freeze until needed.

When you're ready to eat shakshuka, preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine parsley, mint, and lemon zest. Set aside.


Either leave your sauce in your ovenproof pan or spoon the sauce into a baking dish that allows about 1/2-inch of room at the top. Crumble or cube the feta and press it down into the sauce. It's okay if some of the pieces are poking up through the sauce. Place the dish in the oven until the sauce is piping hot, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. With a spoon, make 4 circular holes for the eggs in the tomato sauce. Crack an egg into a bowl and slide it into a hole. Repeat 3 more times. Sprinkle half of the parsley, mint, and lemon zest over the surface. Spoon over some garlic oil.

Bake until eggs are cooked to your liking. It's okay for the top of the sauce to start browning a bit. Sometimes I find that the yolk is set before the white is cooked. In that case, the best thing to do is cover the dish or pan with a lid or tin foil for about 1 minute. Remove from the oven before it looks done because it will keep cooking. You can always throw it back in for a minute or two. Garnish with remaining herb and lemon zest mixture. Serve immediately with grilled bread and extra garlic oil.