The dough recipe I return to, over and over again, is from a video by Mark Bittman in the New York Times for Potato Pizza (in which potato is just the topping). In our household, we refer to it affectionately as glug glug glug glug glug pizza—after the sound Mark makes (and I imitate) to “measure” the olive oil. I love precisely weighing out the flour and then glug-glugging the olive oil with almost reckless abandon before adding just enough water for the dough to come together. Here’s my adaptation, which makes enough dough for two 11–12″ pizzas:
8–9 g (2 tsp) kosher salt
This is double what Mark recommends, but I find that a single teaspoon results in a bland crust, and 8–9 grams is in line with a typical baker’s percentage of 2–3% salt for pizza.
2 g (1/2 tsp) yeast
This is half of what Mark recommends, because I make the dough ahead of time and allow it to rise in the fridge at least overnight, often for several days. If I was going to make the pizza day of, I’d use a full teaspoon of yeast.
5 glugs olive oil
about 180 mL (3/4 cup) water
I fill my liquid cup measure with 1 cup and add water into the food processor until the dough comes together. I almost always have close to 1/4 cup remaining, resulting in a hydration of about 55%.
I wanted to make refried beans, in no small part because I had two pounds of bacon fat trimmings in the freezer, which I had saved expressly for the purpose of making lard. I didn’t really have any intended vehicle for the refried beans, but Chef John suggested nachos, so I made nachos. Of course I didn’t have tortilla chips at the time (and I didn’t want to make a superfluous trip to the store), but I did have a large stack of corn tortillas in the freezer, so I turned those into chips. But I digress.
After straining the rendered pork fat through a cheesecloth, I was left with about 7 ounces of solid bits, known in the south as “cracklings” (ignoring the fact that lard is usually made with unsmoked, uncured bits of pork fat). The lard recipe suggested using these bits in something called “crackling bread”…basically cornbread with pork bits. I had a project!
In France they just call it Couscous (or occasionally Couscous Royale when it’s served with chicken drumsticks and merguez sausages along with the standard cuts of lamb). You can think of it as a vegetable-prominent, lamb and tomato stew served atop a copious bed of couscous grains, with harissa-spiked broth on the side.
When I looked up a recipe for black bean chili yesterday (spurred on by the odd can in our pantry), I only needed to glance at the ingredients to visualize how to cook it. Not because I’ve cooked this particular recipe before, or because I make chili frequently (I don’t—it’s not something Stephanie has ever really appreciated, until now), but I suppose just because I cook a lot in general. No humblebrag here, chili is obviously not rocket science. Most recipes consist of a simple 2-step algorithm: 1) brown protein in a skillet, and then 2) dump everything into a large pot and simmer for 2-3 hours. And I’m sure that would have rendered a perfectly serviceable chili using the ingredients below. Of course that’s not what I did, but what I did is based on my own personal relationship with each of the ingredients at this particular moment in time, and you might feel differently. So rather than try to codify what I did in prose, I’m just going to list the ingredients I used and leave the rest up to your interpretation and imagination. That said, the order in which I listed the ingredients is not by accident.