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25 Dec 2020


for the dough

  • 2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 C warm water
  • 6 C flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 C canola oil (plus more to coat the bowl)

for the filling

  • 8 C fresh spinach or other greens (I like using a mix of sturdy leafy greens, it’s more interesting that way)
  • 1 lb ground meat (lamb or beef)
  • 3 C finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (and ZEST from those lemons)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or allspice
  • 1 C pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted


  1. Dump all the dough ingredients in your stand mixer and knead with dough hook until very soft, smooth, and tacky (but not sticky enough to leave dough on your hands).

  2. In a clean large bowl, lightly coat the dough and the sides of the bowl with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 90 minutes.

  3. Now we’re onto the flling! Sprinkle half the salt on the spinach in another large bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes

  4. Squeeze as much juice out of the spinach as possible. Discard the liquid - we want nice dry spinach for our filling.

  5. Chop up the spinach. I think we tend to go sorta coarse not really big chunks.

  6. Combine the spinach with the rest of the filling ingredients (don’t forget the remaining tsp salt!).

  7. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a few baking sheets with parchment or silpat.

  8. Work with about 1/4 the dough at a time. Roll out to 1/8” thick, into 4” squares. (They’re supposed to be rounds and ultimately triangles, but I don’t care about the shape, so I prefer squares so I don’t have to deal with re-rolling scraps.)

  9. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each 4” dough piece. Try to keep it in the center without touching the edges. The dough is pretty forgiving, though.

  10. Bring the sides of the dough together in the center over the filling and pinch firmly together.

  11. Place on baking sheets and brush with a bit of olive oil. They don’t spread much, so maybe an inch or so apart.

  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. (We actually use convection mode by default nowadays and this seems fine.)


Mostly from here, but we mix meat and random greens and use a lot more lemon and simplified some of the steps based out of sheer laziness. (And doubled the quantities. Probably should make even more. These freeze well and are great with hot sauce.)

05 Dec 2020
Pomegranate Ginger Saffron Braised Whatevs


  • 3 slices lamb neck (about 1 lb)
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • An equal amount ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 big pinch saffron threads
  • 1 C beef stock (or enough to come up halfway up the meat)
  • 2 dried birdseye chilis
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Salt and pepper the meat, then sear. Set aside.

  2. Put the ginger and garlic into the pan and stir-fry them until fragrant.

  3. Deglaze with the stock.

  4. Mix all ingredients together in some sort of thick-bottomed pot. Cover and braise over low heat for a few hours, or until tender and done.

  5. Optional, but what we often do: chill and skim off the fat before gently reheating. If you’ve made brisket, you especially oughta slice against the grain and leave the slices to soak up the sauce.


This recipe pretends to be for lamb neck, but in fact we usually scale it for short ribs or brisket instead.

If you do scale this recipe up, be sure not to increase the quantity of liquid in proportion to the rest of the ingredients. If you do, the meat will boil instead of braising, and the texture will, strangely, end up being too dry.

05 Dec 2020


  • 10 lbs mixed red meat on the bone, ideally including: beef shank (sliced like osso bucco), lamb shoulder arm chops, ox tail, veal shank or tail, and if you feel like it, maybe some lamb neck bones or beef short ribs – whatever you can find!)
  • Safflower or other neutral oil
  • 3 heads garlic (yes, HEADS, not cloves)
  • 3/8-1/2 C coarsely ground black pepper (no, that’s not a typo)
  • 2-3 bottles red wine (ideally a young Chianti, supposedly, though we’ve used all sorts of inexpensive reds to good result)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Salt the meat a bit. Possibly the day before. You can always add more salt later, of course, but it’s nice to start early.

  2. Get a big pan (or two at once, is what I do) nice and hot, grease it up a bit with safflower or some other neutral oil, and brown your meat nice and good, tossing each piece into a big bowl once it’s good and dark on all sides.

  3. For this much meat, I use three heavy-bottomed pots to cook a batch of peposo – a nice big cazuela (a Spanish clay pot), the bottom of my tagine (a Moroccan clay pot), and a big cast iron pan. Use whatever you’ve got, this is just what happens to be in my kitchen. Relax, it’ll all work out in the end.

  4. Lay out your meat in a single layer, tightly packed into the pots or pans you’re using to cook it. (Note: If you use short ribs, I find that they come out better when packed on their side, rather than bone up or bone down.)

  5. Take the garlic heads apart, discarding the outer skin but not peeling the individual cloves. Tuck the garlic cloves in the various crevices between the meats.

  6. Sprinkle the black pepper over everything, then pour in enough wine to mostly (but not completely!) cover the meat. This usually turns out to be the first 2 bottles, for me.

  7. Cover the pots with tin foil (I don’t actually have lids that fit the pots I tend to use for this dish – your mileage may vary, just make sure they’re covered!) and put them on your stove at its lowest possible setting. If your stove is super intense, you may want to use a diffuser.

  8. Now you just have to be patient. Some cuts start feeling tender and wonderful and done after about 3 hours, while others take closer to 4 or 5. After about two hours, if you got that 3rd bottle of wine, you can check in and pour some more in to make up for whatever may have cooked off. If not, don’t worry, it’ll still be delicious.

  9. Start checking the meat after about 3 hours. Poke every piece with a fork, and take out whichever ones feel done. I like to shred the meat off the bone and connective tissue while the rest of the meat cooks further, then do another check, and so on.

  10. As the meat comes off the bone, make sure to push the marrow out of the bones and into a small bowl you’ve set aside for that purpose. As each pot finishes up, take out the garlic cloves and squish them from their skins into that same little bowl. Discard the garlic skins, emptied bones, and [if you’re picky like me] bits of connective tissue. Stir the marrow and garlic together with a fork until it’s a nice squishy tasty mess.

  11. Once everything is out of the remaining braising wine, stir the garlic/marrow into the wine to create the sauce. Turn the heat back on and reduce the sauce until it’s nice and thick – it doesn’t have to be super dense, but you want it thick enough to really coat every bite and stick to it.

  12. That’s it. Stir the meat back into the sauce, and salt to taste. Eat approximately forever, with enough bread to sop up the sauce and something green and vivid and crunchy on the side to contrast with the deep rich ultimate winy meatiness of the peposo.


Adapted from Piano, Piano, Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant.

Yes, this recipe makes tons. Feel free to scale it down. We like making a lot and freezing some, though.

05 Dec 2020
Garlicky Black Bean Spare Ribs


  • 2 – 2 1/4 lbs lean, meaty spare ribs, cut into 1-2″ nuggets (your butcher will do this for you)
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 dried facing heaven chili, seeds removed, crushed
  • 4 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans, lightly rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, stem end (and any inner green bits) removed, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 C water


  1. Divide the rack into individual ribs by slicing the meat between the bones. You want separate ribs, small.

  2. Heat up your wok until it is just starting to steam, then swirl enough oil in to coat the bottom and partially up the sides.

  3. Add the scallions and crushed chili and stir-fry for just a moment, until fragrant.

  4. Add the ribs and just brown them on all sides before removing them to a bowl to set a side. Work in batches if necessary (with a typical home kitchen sized wok, it will be).

  5. Pour a bit of the water into the wok and scrape up any tasty browned bits that have stuck to the bottom, then mix that in with the ribs and all the other seasonings.

  6. Put everything in a good braising pot. I’ve used anything from a clay sand pot to the instant pot, whatevs.

  7. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the ribs are tender and done. This should take about 3-5 hours. (Tropp says 45 minutes. This is bullshit - braising to true tenderness takes hours. Cookbooks always lie about how long it takes for onions to brown or meat to braise.)


Adapted, with only tiny changes, from The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp.

30 Nov 2020
Black Pepper Tofu with Pork


  • 800g (1.75 lbs) firm tofu
  • Corn starch, to dust the tofu
  • 454g (1 lb) ground pork
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce / kecap manis
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • Safflower [or some other neutral] oil, for frying
  • 65g (~4.5 tbsp) butter
  • 12 small shallots (~350g), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed and then minced
  • 3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 5 tbsp crushed (or very coarsely ground) black peppercorns
  • 16 small, thin scallions, cut into segments 3cm (~1″) long
  • Optional garnish: sliced pickled chilies


  1. Stir the pork in with the soy sauces and set aside.

  2. Cut the tofu into cubes (3cm x 2cm, or about 1″ x 1/2″) and toss them in corn starch, shaking off the excess.

  3. Heat your wok until it starts to smoke and feels like a radiator with your hand held a few inches above the bottom, then pour in enough oil to really coat the bottom in a thin pool. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go so that they’re golden and crispy on all sides. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel. It’s important to do this in batches, because if you overcrowd your pan the tofu will steam instead of frying and will never develop that wonderful crisp, dried texture.

  4. Clean the oil and tofu bits out of your wok, then throw in the butter. Once the butter melts, add the shallots, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry until it’s all shiny and soft (should take about 15 minutes, but of course your mileage may vary).

  5. Stir in pork once the shallots are soft.

  6. Stir in the black pepper once the pork is pretty much cooked.

  7. Stir in the tofu and keep going for just a minute until it’s thoroughly warmed up and coated in the sauce, then stir in the scallions and remove from heat.

  8. Optionally, serve with sliced pickled chilies and a bit of their pickling liquid (recipe below). I really like the flavor and extra heat these offer. Though seriously, even without the extra pickled chili garnish, it was ridiculously spicy considering that all the heat came from just the black pepper, not chilies of any sort. Really tastily so. Serve with lots of rice.


adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi, mostly by adding way more meat