Salsa rice


This classic almost-from-scratch dish is a great side for a Mexican meal.

1/2 c chopped white onion

1 cup white rice

1- 7 oz. can of salsa of your choice



Preheat oven to 350F

Sweat onions in oil over medium heat in an ovenproof saucepan. Add rice and cook until it turns a milky white color. Dump in salsa and stir for a moment while it sears.  Fill salsa can with water and add that, plus a bit of salt. Bring to the boil, and scrape down any remaining grains of rice. Cover pan tightly and bake for about 25 minutes, tasting for doneness. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

(adapted from Rick Bayless’s Classic Red Tomato Rice recipe)

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Smoked Paprika Chermoula

I recently had lunch at Lola,  James Beard award-winning  chef Tom Douglas’s Mediterranean –inspired restaurant. My simple marinated beef sirloin kababs were paired with a smoked paprika sauce that blew my mind. I replicated the kababs quite easily, and with a little fine-tuning, was able to make a convincing version of what he calls a ‘chermoula,’ though I think of them as being slightly chunky. It pretty much goes with anything.

Yield is about a cup. It’s potent enough to use in small doses

1/2 preserved lemon, meat removed (use just the rind and the pith)

1 bunch parsley, including stems (see below, this is optional)

2T smoked paprika

4 cloves garlic

dash of cayenne

pinch of saffron

pinch of coriander

salt to taste

olive oil

Blend everything except the oil in a mini-prep. Add olive oil in a stream until you have a good consistency, like a chunky sauce. Run sauce through a sieve to remove the parsley. Adjust seasonings, and serve. It keeps at least a week.

Note: The parsley could probably be omitted. I included it because chermoulas typically contain it. It didn’t grind up fine enough, and the sauce had a woody texture. I sieved it and it came out perfect. I think it would be safe to omit that step, but I haven’t tried making it without yet.

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Pork Shoulder


1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 7–8-lb. skinless bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt or picnic)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Crush fennel seeds and peppercorns with the bottom of a heavy skillet, or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer spices to a small bowl; add 1/4 cup salt and sugar. Rub mixture all over shoulder. Place in a large glass baking dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.Preheat oven to 325°.
Brush off spice rub from meat and place pork in a deep roasting pan; discard excess spice rub and any liquid in dish. Add 1 cup boiling water to Dutch Oven, cover tightly.
Transfer pan to oven and roast until meat is very tender and falling off the bone (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center without touching the bone will read 195°), about 5 1/2 hours.
Remove pan from oven, deglaze with a little water if necessary. Increase heat to 500°. Stir 1/4 cup vinegar and brown sugar into juices in pan. Return to oven and roast, watching closely to prevent burning, until pork is browned and liquid begins to reduce, about 12 minutes.
Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Pour liquid in pan into a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil and cook, occasionally spooning off fat from surface, until a thick, syrupy glaze forms, about 10 minutes (there will be about 1 1/2 cups glaze and up to 1 cup fat; discard fat). Season glaze with salt and pepper; set aside.

To serve: pour reserved liquid over pork.

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Impromptu: Golden Beet Salad

I threw this parts-bin special together after scoring some gorgeous organic golden beets at Ballard Market last week. My cooking method for the beets is as follows: Give them a light scrub, then place in a loaf pan. Cover with water, tightly cover pan with foil. Bake at 375F for an hour and 15 minutes. Let them cool, then peel and slice.


beet Salad

I never would have considered putting cheese and beets together, but after enjoying a beet salad at a Boise Restaurant called Fork, all that changed. The creaminess of the cheese pairs wonderfully with the earthy beets.

So—this is what’s in the salad. I can’t really call this a recipe so much as a place to start.

roasted golden beets

pickled shallots

sherry vinaigrette

pickled mustard seeds (they are in the Momofuku cookbook, I just happen to have some on hand)

chopped hazelnuts, toasted in saute pan until golden

crumbled Cougar Gold cheese

Fold beets, shallots and mustard seeds into vinaigrette and let stand for an hour or so. To serve, top with hazelnuts and cheese.

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Improv: White bean chimicurri salad

white bean salad

I threw this together from stuff I had in the fridge, and it was so so good that I thought I should write it down. There’s not a single component here that couldn’t swap out—lentils for the beans, Italian dressing for the chimicurri, chicken for the beef….use your imagination!

1 1/2 c white beans, cooked

3T chimicurri

6 oz cooked steak, cut into bite-sized pieces

10 cherry tomatoes

2 roasted cippolini onions, sliced

Blend, eat. Damn, that’s tasty!

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Pie Crust


Makes two crusts

2.5 cups/12 oz. all-purpose flour

1 c water+ 1/4 cup cider vinegar (add ice cubes to make it colder, but don’t get them into the dough)

1 T sugar

1 t salt

1/2 # unsalted butter cut into 1/2” pieces

Making the dough:

 making the dough

Put all dry ingredients plus butter into a bowl and work with a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces, inspecting with your hands to make sure there are no large clumps. (if it’s warm outside or things are getting soft, refrigerate it at this point to harden the butter back up.) This first part can be done in a food processor, but the next part has to be done by hand. Add a little water at a time, working the dough with your hands until it looks “shaggy.” Some parts will get there sooner than others, so push the finished dough aside as you go. Flick drops of water in at the very end to keep the dough from getting too wet.

Then shape it into a big cylinder and cut it in half. Form each piece into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling.

Rolling out the dough:

rolling out hte dough

Lightly flour the working surface and roll out your dough. Roll in one direction only, back and forth, not side to side, turning and flipping dough as needed. It should be about 1” bigger than the pie plate.  Check the thickness with your fingers, adjusting if you have thin or thick spots. Brush off flour with a pastry brush and slip it into the pie plate. Gently press, without stretching, the crust into the corner and sides of the dish.

Trim off raggedy bits, then fold up the excess so that it stands vertically on the rim of the dish.

preparing to crimp

Then crimp, using three fingers.

crimping 2




Pro Tips:

Premade pie crust (either stored in a disc or rolled out into a pie plate keeps for 1 day in the fridge and for up to 3 weeks in the freezer.

Blind baking or proofing (same thing): Roll out crust into pie plate, then freeze for 1 hour minimum. Line with foil, getting the foil all the way around the edge of the crust. Fill all the way up to the rim with rice/beans/whatever (you can keep reusing them until they start to smell) and bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes. The crust should be completely cooked and brownish.


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Keema Beef Curry

I was inspired to make this after my friend Paul Clark reminisced about eating it in London. I’d never tasted it before, but after looking up a recipe online, decided to give it a spin. This recipe was inspired by one originally printed in Food and Wine. It’;s sinfully easy, and tastes great.

Serves 4-6, 45 minutes prep and cooking time


1 tablespoon canola oil

2 pounds good-quality ground beef

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons Madras curry powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas

Chopped cilantro

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the ground meat and cook over high heat, stirring to break up the lumps, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and curry powder and season with salt and pepper. Taste, and add more curry powder if needed. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the potato, broth, coconut milk and the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes.

Using the back of a spoon, lightly crush some of the potato. Add the peas, and cook just until heated through. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top for serving.


Serve with naan and  plain basmati rice or Cumin Basmati Rice.

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