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Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Dish)

Ethiopian is one of my favorite cuisines and the fact that the flavors come primarily from the berbere, it is so easy to make at home with Pinch’s Ethiopian Berbere. This is one of our more popular blends and it really highlights the quality of the spices I source.  This dish is great in the fall or winter or really anytime of year.  The slow cooked chicken absorbs all of the flavor as do the eggs.  The rich spicy sauce will warm your heart and stimulate your mind.  This recipe doesn’t require much prep or active cooking so it works well as a weeknight meal.  It’s also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

Doro Wat

Easy, Spicy, Delicious doro wat that will warm up your tummy and your spirits.  

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author shoebocks


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, leg quarters, bone in breasts
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomatoe paste
  • 6 soft boiled eggs
  • 2 tbsp Ethiopian Berbere add more if you like spicy
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth water can also be used


  1. in a large pot heat oil over medium high heat

  2. add chicken and brown on all sides

  3. remove chicken and set aside.  you dont need to cook the chicken all the way through just want to brown it.

  4. heat butter in the same pot over medium heat

  5. add onions and sautee until browned.  stir to avoid burning, but you want the onions to carmelize

  6. stir in garlic and berbere and stir until fragrent about 30 seconds

  7. add tomato paste and allow to darken while stirring about 2 minutes.

  8. add water and stir to incorporate everything

  9. add the chicken and reduce the heat to low.

  10. cook for 40 minutes

  11. add the eggs and cook for an additional ten minutes

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Ranch Dressing


Easy Ranch Dressing with Pinch Valley Ranch

Follow this easy recipe to make the best ranch dressing using our dry ranch dressing mix.  

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 tbsp Pinch Valley Ranch
  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Mix the Pinch Valley Ranch , mayonnaise and milk together.  Let sit for five minutes and serve.  

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Buffy Remoulade

Since we recently released our newest blend, Blackened, which is available at our farmers markets, and will soon be available in our store, we decided to revisit one our favorite Buffy recipes.  Buffy’s Slayer Helper Remoulade!!!  This is a super simple sauce that is great on sandwiches, blackened fish, or french fries. Yumm

Buffy’s Remoulade:

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbls Buffy’s Slayer Helper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbls relish or chopped up sweet pickle (optional)
  • Mix ingredients together and let sit for 5 minutes, enjoy

Buffy's Slayer Helper Remoulade


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Buffy’s Slayer Helper-Put it on pizza!!!!

Homemade pan pizza with buffy
Homemade pan pizza with buffy

Well, I didn’t make a heart shaped pizza, but I did make some delicious homemade pan pizza this weekend.  One of Pinch’s most popular blends is our Buffy’s Slayer Helper, I wanted to show how easy it is to add amazing flavor to your everyday cooking, and I find this blend shines the most on top of pizza. Whether it is a frozen pizza, your favorite take out, or my favorite, homemade pizza; Buffy really takes it to the next level, with tons of garlic, parsley, basil, and a touch of chili flake as its tools.P1030736

I love making pizza, you name it; thin crust, deep dish, pan, wood fired, frozen, gluten free, simple, and exotic.  I’ve built pizza ovens, made pizza at burningman on a car and helped make pizza with my mom when I was a little boy.  I just can’t get enough.  In this instance, the weather was telling me to stay indoors, so pizza was going to happen in the basic kitchen oven.  For this type of cooking I prefer to cook pan pizza using a cast iron skillet.  Here’s what I do, and you can too.

First you need to make some dough.  You want to have at it rise for at least a few hours, but my preference is to make dough the day before.  There are a ton of recipes out there on the Internet.  I have usually used recipes from Peter Reinhart, as he is kinda of the guru of dough, and his slow fermentation method yields great results, especially for wood fired thin crust.

Here are the ingredients for his basic pizza dough

  • 5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water

A couple notes on making dough.  When you dissolve the yeast, add your sugar and really let the yeast get frothing before you incorporate it.  This will insure that the yeast is hungry and active when it meets the flour.  Thus you get really good fermentation, and excellent bubbly dough.

Essentially you need to mix all the ingredients together, with either a mixer or by hand.  When it has come together, but still fairly moist, you want to knead the dough.  Add flour as needed.  I like my pizza dough to be fairly moist but you have to be able to work with it.  A dough knife is really helpful at this stage.  After kneading you will want to let the dough rise.  If you are going 24 hours, let it rise in the fridge.  If you are cooking same day, put it somewhere with constant room temperature.  Either way, cover it with plastic wrap, a moist towel, or put it in to a tupperware container.

The dough should double, maybe even triple in size.  If not, something went wrong.  Now you need to pull the dough out, and separate it in to separate pieces.  Each piece will represent a pizza.  This size recipe yields 5 thins, or in my case yielded 3 pan pizzas.  Form each piece into it’s own ball and allow to rise for another 30 minutes or so.  Get your oven going.  I put mine at 500.  You want that sucker to be hot.  Let it preheat while the dough is resting/ 2

Now shape your dough.  I put some oil in the pan.  Plop the dough in and start stretching it evenly to the edges of the pan.  It might fight you a bit, but it will hold it’s form.  Now add some sauce, and cheese, and BUFFY, and what ever toppings you like.  On this pizza we put fresh mushrooms and giardiniera from Pickle O’Pete, thanks to our friends at

photo 5

Throw it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until it has browned up to your liking.  Carefully remove it, the pan will be extremely hot.  You should be able to run a spatula around the edge and transfer the pizza to a cutting board.

Cut and serve.

As always, please feel free to contact us if you need some additional guidance or just want to chat about pizza and Buffy’s Slayer Helper.

photo 1

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Hummus Recipe

Homemade hummus with Za'atar

I was so excited to be on WCIU this morning for the You & Me This Morning show.  I always enjoy getting to highlight my love of spices and all things delicious.  If you didn’t get to see the show, I was asked by Meaghan Olson, creator of, to come on and talk about giardieniera with Melissa and Jeanne.  It seemed a little much to try and eat giant Italian beef sandwiches on a morning show, and we didn’t think just tasting straight giardiniera would be all that fun, so we decided to make some homemade hummus.  One of my favorite dishes that is so easy, and far superior to make at home.

For this recipe you will need a blender, or food processor.  I guess you could do this with a mortar and pestle, but that seems like a bit too much work.  Here is what you will need to grab from the store:

  • 1 can of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • about a tablespoon or 2 of Za’atar Spice Blend


Of course I like to recommend Pinch Spices in our blog, but you certainly can use what ever you have on hand.  Let’s be real, we all have a bunch of spices in our cupboard that need to get used.  That said, I am beyond proud of all Pinch’s awesome spices and they work great for this recipe.  In this case we used our Za’atar blend, that has sumac, thyme, marjoram, and sesame seeds.  We also love making hummus with our Buffy’s Slayer Helper or our Humboldt Sazon.

Ok, enough with the spices, let’s get back to the hummus.  So to get started drain and rinse the chick peas.  It is definitely worth the time to take the skin off the chick peas.  This is really pretty easy and takes about 10 minutes to go through a can.  Simply pinch the skin and the bean will pop out.  I do this over a separate bowl and discard the skins.

Now we want to get out our blender or processor going.  First add the tahini and lemon juice and blend for 45 seconds.  It will get really thick and creamy, and will smell absolutely divine.  If you are adding garlic, now would be a good time to do so. Now we add about half the chick peas and blend until smooth, drizzle in half the oil and blend for 5 seconds.  Now add the rest of the chick peas and blend, finally add the rest of the olive oil and blend until smooth.  Wow….you just made hummus.

At this point I add the za’atar or what ever spice I am using and stir with a spoon.  This is ready to serve, but will stay fresh covered in the fridge for a week or so.  For all of our giardiniera fans this is great served on a cracker with your favorite giardiniera on top.  Need some help picking out the perfect giardiniera, why not pop over to and check out their awesome list of giardinieras available both locally and nationally.

As always please feel free to contact us, if you have any questions about this recipe, or our spices.


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Jamaican Jerk Tacos Two Way

One of the most common questions I get from our customers is, “Can this be used to make vegetarian food?”, or “What’s good on, say, chicken or beef?”.  So I thought it would be fun to start showing off how versatile our blends our.  In this month’s installment of the Two Way Recipe we are going to make a super simple and extremely easy dish,  Jamaican Jerk Tacos Two Ways. P1030652

Who doesn’t love Caribbean cuisine?  You get a great mix of sweet and savory with a nice blast of heat.  When I made this dish for a vegetarian friend, she exclaimed that she had never had jerk before.  At first I was kind of shocked, but then it dawned on me that the most common jerk dishes are made with some form of animal protein.  If a few vegetarians get to taste the magic that is jerk spice because of this recipe, then I will be one happy spice guy.  Regardless, this is such an easy method, I feel that everyone can enjoy some delicious jerk tacos.  Lets get started…


Your going to need some Jerk Seasoning.  I recommend our authentic jamaican jerk rub, available for purchase in our shop, or of course you can use what ever you have.  Seriously though, our Jerk is pretty frigging awesome!!! Just check out the list of organic ingredients we use in our hand made jerk rub (brown sugar, sea salt, onion, black pepper, garlic, bird’s eye chili, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, galangal, thyme, clove, and nutmeg). You are also going to need a little citrus, such as orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple juice, and a touch of soy sauce.  Finally you will want all the things you like on tacos.  In this case we chose; chicken and mushrooms as our base, and pickled onions, avocado, cilantro, and corn tortillas.  Lets make some tacos….


This is the process for the mushroom tacos, but the method is exactly the same for the chicken tacos.  You will want to do this prep at least a few hours before you are going to cook, but overnight is best.  Here you can see we have chopped up the mushrooms and added a generous dose of jerk mix.  This is a fairly spicy concoction and the more you use the hotter it will be.  For 12oz. of mushrooms you are looking at a heaping spoonful of rub.  Now we add a tablespoon of soy and a table spoon of citrus.  I used fresh squeezed orange juice in this case.  Below you will see the mushrooms ready for a nap in the fridge and also the chicken after the same treatment.




After marinating you are ready to make some tacos.  I sure was.  You are going to want to get a pan sizzling hot and add a little cooking oil.  Since everything is chopped up it is going to cook fast, and I like to get a nice sear on mine.


Both the mushrooms and the chicken will cook rapidly.  You can stir them around a bit to get even cooking.  Make sure to use separate pans and separate stirring apparatus for each if you are cooking for people with different dietary desires.


Once everything is finished cooking, you are going to want to get some tortillas ready and get your tummy ready for delicious taco time.


Now you just need to fix up the tacos with your favorite toppings and enjoy with a few friends.  Here is the chicken taco all dressed up.


And for my poor friend who has waited far to long in life to enjoy the magic of Jamaican Jerk, I present jerk mushroom tacos.  Her first comment was that she wasn’t going to waste space with beans.

Jerk Mushroom

Thanks for checking this out.  I am going to continue this series, and will have a new “two way” sometime next month.  Please feel free to comment or send us a message (  if you need some tips, have a question, or just want to say hi.

Your friend in flavor,


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Pinch Charcuterie-Pastrami

About a week ago we acquired a nice 13 pound beef brisket. In the summer I really enjoy doing Texas style brisket, but winter is perfect for making pastrami.

Pastrami uses time tested old world curing techniques and produces some of the best deli meat you will ever experience.  It is a fairly uncomplicated process, it also happens to be a great place to show case some of our amazing organic spices.

To start, we made a brine with our in house pickling spice, sea salt, sugar, and some curing salt.  Then we put the brisket and brine in a 5 gallon bucket, topped it up with water and stored it on a back porch for 6 days.  Pictured below is the pastrami coming out of the brine.

At this point we rinsed the brine off and did a couple cold water soaks to get any excess salt out.  We let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to dry out.

The crust on a pastrami in its simplest form is ground black pepper and crushed coriander.  We also added just a hint of onion granules to this mix and rubbed it all over the pastrami.  We let this sit overnight to dry out a bit more and to help evenly distribute all the delicious flavor.

What really sets pastrami apart from corned beef is the smoking process.  At this point we put it on a smoker to cook for 6 hours.  You want the pastrami to hit about 150 degrees internal temperature.  Here are a couple pictures of this process.


We used a mix of oak and charcoal for the smoker.  Temperature was about 20 degrees out and the smoker ran at about 220 degrees.  When it was done we let it rest on the counter for a few hours and then refrigerated it over night.  Here is a shot when we cut it in half right before putting it in the fridge.

The final and most gratifying aspect of this process was making a lunch of reuben sandwiches for some good friends.






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Pinch Introduces Jamaican Jerk Seasoning to the Shop

Pinch Spice Shop Organic Jerk Seasoning

It has been a very productive week at the spice shop here in sunny Chicago.  We have been hard at work developing and implementing blends and rubs that take advantage of our delicious organic herbs and spices.  We are proud to announce that we have added a most delectable Jamaican Jerk seasoning.  This little blend packs a big punch but is balanced with a world of island flavors that are sure to make any dish delicious.

What is Jamaican Jerk seasoning all about? As with any regional specialty, Jerk seasoning has a history that goes far back into the culture of Jamaica.  Most sources suggest that term “jerk” in this case comes from the Spanish, “Charqui”, which loosely translates to jerky.  I’m personally curious how this also relates to the term Charcuterie, which is near and dear to my heart.  Alas, this gets us a bit off topic.  It seems the technique goes back to a time when the Arawak employed a techniques of slow cooking over wood to help preserve meats.  A healthy dose of spices native to the Caribbean were also used to help as a preservative.  This has evolved into a cooking method that implements both native and foreign spices and often uses grills converted from steal drums. Much like American style BBQ. Jerk Chicken is a term synonymous with street food that many consider to be the heart soul of cooking around the world.

Organic AllspiceWhat’s in the seasoning blend?  One of the key ingredients is Allspice known in Jamaica as pimento.  Pictured above is fresh allspice berries  that look remarkably like grapes or maybe currants.  In the Pinch blended Jamaican Jerk spice we used our organic herbs and spices to create this classic.  The mix has brown sugar, sea salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, bird’s eye chili, allspice, corriander, cinnamon, ginger, thyme, clove, and nutmeg combining for a flavor packed taste delight. As a cook who has made this blend at home many times, I can honestly attest to the fact that this is made 1000 times better through the use of high quality organic ingredients.

How about a quick recipe? With spices already blended this is a pretty simple technique to master.  Jerk chicken, or another protein, can be cooked either on the grill or in an oven.  All you need is some chicken, your jerk seasoning, a bit of vinegar, some oil, lime juice, orange juice and a touch of soy sauce.  Oh, and some time and patience.  Take your chicken and sprinkle a generous amount of the spice mixture over it.  Rub the spice and chicken to insure that the chicken is evenly coated.  Now add the liquid ingredients to coat.  You want this to be a paste rather then a marinade.  Let the rubbed chicken sit over night.  Now the fun part, low and slow cooking.  On the grill you will want to use an indirect cooking method to get the chicken to proper temperature and then a quick sear over direct heat.  In the oven you will want to cook at 275 or so and then finish off under a broiler to char the chicken.  You can serve with this with rice and beans, or a nice salad.  Some people enjoy topping this with a spicy jerk sauce, while others just enjoy it as is.  You may find it goes well with a smokey sweet bbq sauce.  There you have it; delicious, fiery, Jamaican Jerk chicken.  From our humble spice market in Bucktown to your kitchen.