shawarma stuffed peppers with tahini and herbs

Happiest Tuesday to you! I’ve just returned from a weekend of celebrating Mia’s 12th birthday! It was exactly what you’d expect out of a 12th birthday weekend: we played with slime, got locked in a room with a zombie, and ate unicorn cake that was dangerously close to looking like a penis cake. It was my first time, ok? How was I supposed to know that rolling marzipan around a log of rice krispies treat and then adding grooves all around and painting it with edible shimmery dust would make it look like an almond flavored wiener of gold? 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s not my fault. But thank you, Instagram friends, for setting me straight and encouraging it to be more conical and pointy at the top. See? It got better:

The next time I make a unicorn cake I’m going to make two ropes of marzipan and twist them together so that the grooves are plumper and smoother, like the one here. Does anyone in Grand Forks need a unicorn cake?? I want to practice my unicorn cake now. Or maybe even a narwhal cake? Mia’s into narwhals too, I hope this lasts so I can make her a narwhal cake next year.

The whole time I was making this cake I was also watching the World Figure Skating Championships free dance, which was a treat!!! It was a bummer that the Shib Sibs weren’t there but (!!!) Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker went in their place and my heart just melts when I watch them. They have this young, old-fashioned, first-time-in-love vibe that’s almost as Disney as Meryl and Charlie and it just makes you love them soo much. And then I was running terribly behind on my unicorn horn de-wienering but had to stop everything and give Papadakis and Cizeron my full undivided attention because that was the last time we’ll see *that* program and, sigh, I still can’t get over it’s beauty. Of course they broke the record again. Of course! 

I’m really sad that the skating season is over but now Eggboy gets to have his sports time fun since cycling is about to start. 

Oh but not before our last ski trip hurrah! We’re heading to Whistler at the end of this week for Passover and I’ve been looking forward to this for forever. Whistler seems like the most adorable winter wonderland and you know I love a good mountain!! I’ll be giving Passover cooking demos when I’m not skiing, at Pesach on the Mountain, so I’ve been working up a bunch of new Kosher for Passover recipes including these shawarma stuffed peppers. These peppers are super easy to make. Easier than they are to eat. (Are Eggboy and I the only people who have always struggled with the mechanics of eating a stuffed pepper? Or do you also find this dish slightly flawed in execution?) Maybe we should just eliminate all shame from the equation and use our hands to eat these like an apple. Eh. They are worth the little mess though because they have warm delicious shawarma spice all up in it and when you cover them in a pool of creamy tahini sauce, mmmmm, they are good.

I’ve made these a couple of different ways: one with rice and one with cauliflower rice. Rice absorbs the juices and binds the filling together nicely while the filling in the cauliflower version stays a bit loose and juicy. Juicy lucy. I personally prefer the texture of the rice version but the cauliflower version is still super tasty and a great Passover dinner if you’re not going to be eating rice. 

For shawarma seasoning, I love NY Shuk’s, but here is a great easy homemade version too. And here is a great k for p tahini!


shawarma stuffed peppers with tahini and herbs

serves 4

ingredients

2 tb olive oil or canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

Kosher salt

2 tsp shawarma seasoning

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 lb ground turkey

black pepper

1 c (6 oz) cauliflower rice or 1 c cooked basmati rice (from 60g dry rice)

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

4 large or 6 small bell peppers

1/4 c (50g) tahini

3 tb cold water

1 lemon

fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint), for topping

 

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 400ºf. 

In a large skillet or pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the shawarma seasoning and turmeric and cook for another minute. Add the ground turkey and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of pepper. Brown the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. When it’s all cooked through and no longer pink, reduce the heat to low. If you’re using cauliflower rice, microwave it (covered in a bowl or in the bag it came in if the package says that it’s ok) for 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice or basmati rice to the skillet and stir in the diced tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Cut off the tops of the bell peppers, core them, and place them in a casserole dish. Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture and then bake for 35 minutes. 

To make the tahini sauce, stir together the tahini, water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. When the peppers are done cooking, squeeze them with additional lemon juice, top with a nice big blob of tahini sauce, and a pile of fresh herbs. Enjoy!

 


rhubarb short ribs

ok show of hands, how many of you did your homework and pickled rhubarb last weekend? it's ok if you totally slacked, this short rib recipe actually tastes its best when you take the full 48 hours to make it, which, coincidentally is the minimum amount of time that you want to have your pickles go for. so get started today for a badass supper on sunday. or! spend a week mentally preparing and then go for it, just in time for father's day. cause dad's love meat!!!! and if your dad is anything like my dad he also un-ironically likes the color of rhubarb (pink).

(aside)

pops, why are you wearing a pink shirt??

pops: pink is my favorite color!

pops, why is your collar popped?

pops: it keeps my neck warm!

…was a real conversation that we had in the early 2000s, right around a time when pink popped collars were making their rounds in the preppy crowds of suburban american high schools. but pops doesn’t have an eye on trends, he’s just logical in his fashion choices and undoubtedly literally thought, “pink’s nice, warm necks are also nice, ok time to start my day!” before he cleared his entire wardrobe to make way for 70 different bernie sanders t-shirts, he had a large quantity of ahead-of-his-time millennial pink garments.

(end aside) 

so my dad likes pink! which is part of my explanation for when you ask why we're sprinkling our father's day meat with hot pink pickles. the other part is that we have shit tons of rhubarb and rhubarb with short ribs, it turns out, is the chrissy teigen and john legend of braised meat land. 

this recipe is heavily inspired by the pomegranate molasses braised lamb that i just about died over at zahav last month. they're a multi day production where you cure, braise, rest, reheat, inhale, exhale, and the only smells that really come close to as good all are freshly baked challah and santal 26. these short ribs pull sweet and sourness from a sticky rhubarb jam situation and then get some additional sweetness from their bed of onions that over time get caramelized down to almost an onion jam. the amount of flavor is a lil absurd. to the point where i had to actually pump the breaks a bit with the braising liquid by watering down my chicken stock. but paired with crispy persian rice and a bright pink sour rhubarb pickle, you basically have a perfect dinner. it's actually the dinner i had on my birthday right before eggboy’s cake!

i've done all this with bone-in and boneless short ribs. boneless was easy to pick up in town, while bone-in i had to call around about and then special order which yielded some gnarly grocery store phone holding music. i didn't necessarily find that the flavor (in this recipe at least) was sacrificed by having boneless, so i'll say that you should go with whatever route you'd like since i'm already asking a lot of you by requiring 48 hours for this thing.

the tahdig (crispy persian rice) is a great companion to this!! if you’ve never had it, there are great directions here. it’s just really delicious good rice with a crispy saffrony shell that, when all mixed up with short rib juices, adds some nice texture to the perfect bite. (i made minis in little cocottes and simply cut the cooking times down by a few minutes.) we also had these short ribs in tortillas one night with fresh herbs and a pile of pickled shredded carrots and it was mad good too. you really can’t go wrong. at all. which is what i like about short ribs. they taste so good even if you’re out of shape in the meat department and have to google dumb things like how to cut them. 


rhubarb short ribs

serves 6

ingredients

Kosher salt

1/2 c + 2 tb (125g) sugar

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Black pepper

5 pounds bone-in short ribs or 4-4 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs

4 c (500g) rhubarb, chopped and divided

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 head of garlic, peeled, cloves smashed

2 tb olive oil

about 2-3 c chicken stock 

about 2-3 c water

 

for serving:

pickled rhubarb

tahdig (optional: top with crushed pistachios, chopped dates, and rose petals or ana)

clues

day one: in a small bowl combine 2 tb salt, 2 tb sugar, the fennel, allspice, and a bunch of turns of pepper. rub it all over the short ribs and place them in a big pan. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

(get your pickled rhubarb going)

make the rhubarb sauce (this can be made on day 1 or day 2): combine 2 c (250g) of the chopped rhubarb, the remaining 1/2 c (100g) sugar, and a good pinch of salt in a saucepan and heat over medium high heat, stirring often. when the rhubarb softens and collapses into a purée, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until it reduces to 2/3 c (200g). this should take around 25-35 minutes. stir in the lemon juice, let cool, cover, and refrigerate until further notice.

day two: preheat the oven to 475ºf. place the onions, garlic, and remaining 2c (250g) chopped rhubarb in a roasting pan and toss with the olive oil. if you’re using the same roasting pan that you cured the short ribs in, give the pan a little rinse first to get rid of any excess salt. place the short ribs on top of the onion mixture and roast uncovered for 20 minutes, until browned. 

take it out of the oven and reduce the oven’s heat to 325ºf. pour in the rhubarb sauce and then add the stock and water until it comes halfway up on the short ribs. i do this by pouring in one cup of stock, and then one cup of water, and then another cup of stock, and another cup of water, etc., and stopping once i reach the halfway mark. (you could also just dilute your stock before pouring it in but then you run the risk of having leftover diluted stock.) cover with foil and then bake for 5-6 hours, until the meat is very soft and falls off the bone (if you're going with boneless use your imagination to imagine if they would fall off the bone or not). taste it, add more salt if you feel like it needs it. at this point you *could* give in and eat it, but it’ll be better if you let it sit over night. so let it cool, cover it, and stick it in the fridge.

(oh also on day two, you can get your tahdig rice soaking)

day three: preheat the oven to 350ºf. scrape off the layer of fat that’s accumulated on your short ribs and discard it. cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. 

make your tahdig. 

slice your pickled rhubarb.

slice and serve your short ribs, spooning some of the juices on top. top with pickled rhubarb (and fresh herbs for greenery if you'd like), serve with tahdig!

leftovers can be frozen! 


-yeh!

spiced beef matzo pie

we've just returned from a fantastic few days spent in florida for my youngest cousin's bat mitzvah, which, like all bat mitzvahs, made me want to go to wayyy more bat mitzvahs (and maybe have my own 90s-themed one someday?). because the parties are just like weddings but with many more mozzarella sticks, less mushy emotions, and tons of glow in the dark shit. and when done correctly, they have added bonuses like a t-shirt airbrushing station or sting-ray petting zoo. i'm not even kidding! this party last weekend was at the tampa aquarium and we were given the opportunity to engage in such things as eating a mini pizza with one hand and reaching into a sting ray tank with the other. then we did the hora and filled our bellies with sour patch kids and charleston chews. it was so great. 

after the bat mitzvah we drove our little red cozy coop rental car down to sarasota to stake out a place for retirement. and also because my friends george and sam were presenting a concert of reich and muhly and all of the music i adore, so we basked in the sweet sounds of that and then stayed in costume to party like college kids, eat fish around a bonfire, and ketchup with old friends (whose birthdays i still need to memorize...). during the day we walked over two bridges, past a baby dolphin, to the bookstore downtown where i bought brooklyn because i've been wanting to see the movie soo badly but it never came to our theater! so lame. so i guess i'm doing things the old fashioned way. although since the new season of house of cards is out i don't know that i'll have any units of free time leftover to read. 

other than that, now that we're back home i've been hurry scurrying quick like a bunny to meet the photo deadline for my book because it is right around the corner. today was soup and cake day, tomorrow is casserole and more cake day, and next week we are staging a holiday a party! good thing the chrismukkah bush is still up... uhh, hehe, oops...

and because soup day and casserole day just weren't enough, we also have pi day on monday! yayyy! *applies stretchy pants* pi day is great because it allows me to reminisce on all of my fun mathlete years back in the day, but it can also be intimidating because i'm quite clumsy with pie dough. i am no michelle or samantha or yossy. and probably have no place living on a farm in this regard. but! i recently learned about mina, which is a passover pie with sephardic roots that uses matzo instead of pie dough. it's often layered, like a lasagna, with lamb or beef or vegetables. but in zahav it's made in a round pie pan and then flipped onto a plate. i loved the look of that so i took that route as well. i also love what mike solomonov says in his headnotes, about how tasty it is when the fatty juices from the meat soak into the matzo. the result kind of makes me think of what a beef fatty ritz cracker would taste like if such a thing existed. 

the filling here is spiced with a bunch of cinnamon and cumin and will make your house smell better than thanksgiving. it's pretty rich so you'll be glad it's wrapped in matzo and not pie dough, and, with passover right around the corner, you officially have two great reasons to make this. so go on, flag down the matzo truck 🚚 🚚 🚚 🚚 🚚!!!! 


spiced beef matzo pie

makes one 8-inch pie

ingredients

2 tablespoons flavorless oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Black pepper

5-6 sheets matzo
egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of water
Fresh parsley or micro greens, for serving

 

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onion, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the beef and sprinkle it with the Aleppo pepper, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of black pepper and cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon or spatula, until it is fully cooked and no longer pink. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

Grease an 8” cake pan and set it aside. Soak the matzo in warm water for a few minutes until it has softened. Line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with the matzo pieces, breaking it up as needed and packing it down firmly. It will look a little rustic and that’s ok. Use a paper towel to blot away excess moisture once the matzo is in the pan and then pour in the beef mixture and pack it down firmly. Cover the top with soaked matzo, pressing the edges to seal, and then brush it with a healthy coating of egg wash. Bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto a plate. Top with parsley or micro greens and serve. 


-yeh!

pictured: plates, cheese stone, and linens from farmhouse pottery


taiwanese meat sauce + a giveaway

i had a startling realization two days ago when eggboy made an observation that some friends of ours are well read. it occurred to me that, as someone who spends her days playing with sprinkles and spent her college years playing the xylophone at an institution where some teachers nearly pat you on the back if you almost fail your one non-music academic class in the name of more practice time, i am extremely far from being well read. extremely far.

but that wasn't my startling realization.  

my startling realization came when i told myself that after the wedding, by gum, i will read more with the intention of becoming better read, maybe even well read. and so i envisioned myself after the wedding, reading books and... suddenly having one million less things to stress out about, and a much much much shorter to-do list. and. ok. that was startling. 

what will i do when i don't have 1,000 feet of bunting to make? a seating chart to puzzle together? zillions of pies to bake??? where will i go on my monday nights that's not to my dress seamstress's house??

what do people do after they get married?1?!?!!!! 

i'll read things that aren't benedict cumberbatch gossip blogs, i'll go on a honeymoon, i'll write thank you cards, i'll sweep up all the sprinkles that people throw at us after we smooch. but then what? is getting married like getting into college, when you receive your acceptance letter and then only do dance dance revolution for the next four months until orientation? 

you guys, help!

should i join a curling league?

i guess i could start thinking about dinner more. i love making dinner, i just get into these ruts sometimes when i get carried away decorating a cake and then get so hungry for salty food that dinner becomes whatever i can make the quickest. (it's usually a vegetable and a starch covered in sesame sauce.) so when i'm a married woman, yes, i'd like to plan ahead for meals like this taiwanese meat sauce that requires over an hour and a few more utensils but is worth it in every way.

the first time i made it, i was such an impatient patty that i didn't even wait to get the proper ingredients. breakfast sausage was subbed for ground pork, onions for shallots, and rice noodles for egg noodles. it was great, but then when i finally got to the store and made it with all of the right ingredients, its secrets were revealed to me: the gloriousness that is chinese five spice, super soft egg noodles, all of those shallots... consider me in love.

this recipe is slightly adapted from short stack's brown sugar edition. if you don't know short stack editions, you must check them out! they're adorable little cookbooks centered around one main ingredient, and a new one comes out every other month. i imagine they'd make great holiday gifts :) 


taiwanese meat sauce

slightly adapted from short stack, vol 12: brown sugar

makes 4 servings

ingredients

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb ground pork

1/3 c fried shallots (fry your own or purchase them at an asian grocery)

1/4 c soy sauce

3 tb dark brown sugar

1 tsp chinese five spice powder

1 tb rice wine vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

2 c pork stock or water

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

6 c steamed rice or 1 lb cooked egg noodles

thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

clues

heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the pork, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. add the shallots, soy sauce, brown sugar, five spice, vinegar, black pepper, and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

add the stock or water and bring it to a boil. pierce the eggs with a fork in four places and add them. 

cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour. the sauce will still be very thin.

pour over egg noodles, garnish with scallion, and serve.

 


-yeh!

if you'd like to win a copy of short stack, vol 12: brown sugar, leave a comment here with your favorite use for brown sugar! open to u.s. residents.