Red Wine and Soy–Braised Short Ribs Recipe

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Add onion, garlic, and ginger to same pot and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Add mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, and 2 cups water. Return ribs to pot and bring liquid to a simmer. Partially cover pot and cook, reducing heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and adding splashes of water and skimming as needed, until ribs are very tender (they should shred easily) and stew is saucy, 3–3½ hours. Add radish about 1 hour before ribs are done. Remove from heat.

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She broke three ribs on the job. Now this Toronto bike courier is helping others take time off for injuries

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When Leah Hollinsworth was hurt on the job she didn’t get any time off to recover.

“I remember it because it was one of those cold grey November rainy days when you have that Guns N’ Roses song in your head,” she recalls of the accident almost 15 years later.

Hollinsworth was coming down Blue Jays Way on her bike with a delivery when a car turned left in front of her, and she crashed into its rear-view mirror. She broke three ribs.

“I was a single mother the entire time I was a bike messenger so taking that time off work wasn’t an option for me,” she said, “I just couldn’t walk away.”

Her employer let her make some adjustments, walking to deliveries around the downtown core instead of cycling because that hurt too much. But she knows not everyone is so lucky.

It’s one of the reasons why the now 39-year-old is devoted to the charity Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund.

The global non-profit donates money to bike couriers injured at work, who are mostly independent contractors without health benefits, disability leave or even sick days.

The transient nature of the industry makes it hard to pin down exact numbers of such couriers in Toronto.

But the rise of food service delivery apps means more independent contractors and a shift toward the gig economy that leaves many workers without the safety net of a traditional employer, despite the risks that come along with cycling through Toronto’s often treacherous streets.

Most courier companies and app-based delivery services don’t pay into the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for messengers because they classify them as independent contractors, Hollinsworth said.

Opinion | Heather Mallick: It’s time to unionize the gig economy

Gig economy workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, often don’t realize how much it costs them

“Other jobs that are dangerous generally have some sort of pay that goes along with that,” says Toronto-based Hollinsworth, one of two volunteers who run the non-profit, which was started in 2004-2005.

The wages of a bike courier vary widely from city to city depending on how many shifts they work, but she said the average is about $80-100 a day — wages that were decent in the ’90s but have stayed stubbornly low with inflation.

“Most messengers are pretty hand to mouth, so the idea of not having two or three paycheques in a row is pretty devastating,” she added.

“If you get hurt on the job oftentimes that meant not only were you out of work but you could potentially lose your job indefinitely.”

The fund takes personal and corporate donations. But Torontonians contribute the lion’s share of the funding through an annual May Day bike race event, which has raised more than $25,000 over the years.

To apply for a $500 (U.S.) grant, bike couriers need to be working full time (more than three shifts a week, according to Hollinsworth), be injured on the job and unable to work using their bike for at least a month. The money, which is the same amount for everyone, is meant to help with costs of food and medicine.

The funds made a difference for Emily Glos, 32, a former bike messenger who had to stop work in 2010 after she was rear-ended by a car and broke her arm.

“It was pretty isolating,” she said of the incident, over the phone from Sayulita, Mexico, where she is now living.

Glos couldn’t ride with her injured arm, and turned to family for financial help. She also applied to the emergency fund, which gave her money to help cover costs for food. It also made her feel less alone.

“I think it’s so wonderful that it’s there to help financially. But it also adds a sense of community, knowing that there’s something you can dip into,” she said.

“That aspect of it is really beautiful.”

After she recovered, Glos helped start the May Day races as a way to give back. The fundraiser has grown over the years and allowed the charity to contribute $500, up from the $300 she had received, toward bike messengers who need help getting back on their feet.

A few companies are starting to recognize the gap that those two-wheeled messengers can face when they fall or are hit by a car.

At Foodora Canada, one of the most visible food delivery services in the city with its bike couriers bringing Thai food, pizza and burgers in bright pink containers through snow, sleet and rain, the company pays into WSIB (or provincial equivalents) on the riders’ behalf, said managing director David Albert in an email.

“This covers them for loss of earnings in the event they get injured while working. We feel it’s important to protect our riders to the best of our ability while they are on the job,” he said.

Facing court challenges in the European Union on its relationship with its drivers, Uber announced in spring 2018 it would partner with insurance company AXA to provide insurance coverage there — including sickness, injury and maternity and paternity payments.

But nothing like that exists for its drivers and couriers in Canada.

Xavier Van Chau, spokesperson for Uber Canada, wrote in an email they are “currently in active discussions to see how we can further support coverage for our delivery partners,” in Canada “and look forward to share more on this when possible.”

Andrew Cash, co-founder of The Urban Worker Project, an organization that fights for the rights of precarious workers, said he applauds the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund, but its existence highlights a growing underlying problem.

“It’s a good example of how the economy is continually loading all the responsibilities and all the risk on to individual workers themselves,” he says.

“Many of them would completely fall through any kind of safety net.”

The bike courier system is also set up so that it incentivizes people to bike faster, make more deliveries and more money, which can put them at risk for collisions, he said. And the rise of delivery apps has meant that many restaurants now go that route instead of paying their own employees.

A 2018 report from the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario research group, a collaboration between university researchers and community groups like the United Way Greater Toronto, found just over 37 per cent of workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area have some degree of precarious employment.

That’s defined as part-time, temporary and contract, self-employed or full-time employment without benefits, regular hours or a guarantee of at least one year’s work.

“This is a brave new world,” Cash said, where the “matrix of rules and regulations” that governed employer-employee relations has been upended.

As that world shifts, we need to start thinking about new tools to adjust to the new reality, he said. For example, extending short- and long-term disability benefits to independent contractors.

“So that fewer are a bike accident away from the financial abyss.”

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11

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There Are No Shortcuts for Short Ribs

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Every Monday night, Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport gives us a peek inside his brain by taking over our newsletter. He shares recipes he’s been cooking, restaurants he’s been eating at, and more. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

Short ribs are worth every minute

There’s this moment when you’re making short ribs—before you’ve braised them but after you’ve browned them—when your house smells like a short-order burger joint and it takes all your willpower to not just stand there and pick at all the crispy nubbins.

But be patient. Time changes everything.

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After three hours in a Dutch oven, burbling with wine and stock and chopped-up vegetables, the short ribs transform themselves into something magical. They are why we have clichés like fork-tender and fall-off-the-bone.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself this past Saturday, one of those cold, damp, dreary afternoons, when the sun disappears at 4:30pm and you’re like, Well, what do I do now?

You cook.

I bought a few pounds of bone-in ribs and a quart of chicken stock from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. I grabbed some onions and carrots and garlic from a nearby market and biked home and got to it.

short ribs slow roasted in coconut milk

These short ribs are slow-roasted in coconut milk.

As evidenced by all the short rib recipes on our site, there are plenty of paths to follow. You can go with ginger and soy, or citrus and chile, or—who knew!—coconut milk and lemongrass (pictured above). Or, if you’re like me and just want to keep it old-school, half a bottle of red wine.

Regardless of which flavor profile you choose, just do as our essential Basically braising guide instructs, and remember these key steps:

adam short ribs seared

Photo by Adam Rapoport

These are my seared short ribs before going into the wine and stock mixture.

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, brown the well-salted meat over medium heat and then set aside.
2. In the same pot, cook down a bunch of vegetables in the remaining fat.
3. When the veg is nicely caramelized (you might have to add a splash of water to deglaze the crispy hits on the pan), nestle the meat back in the pot among the veg.
4. Pour In a mix of stock and wine. I had a half-finished bottle of red on the counter so I used that. I also had some leftover ramen stock from takeout a few nights prior, so I added that, as well.
5. Slide the covered pot into the oven for about 3 hours, after which the short ribs are done. But as the Basically guide illustrates, there’s this extra-credit thing you can do where you strain the braising liquid and then reduce it over medium-high heat till it gets all glossy and syrupy, and I highly recommend this.

Ultimately, your house will be the best-smelling place on the block (more restaurant than diner, at this point) and you will be very, very proud of yourself. And you deserve to be. You turned a cold, dark, dreary afternoon into something truly magical.

soy-braised-short-ribs-with-shiitakes

Molly Stevens

Get the recipes:

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Soy-Braised Short Ribs with Shiitakes
Citrus-and-Chile-Braised Short Ribs
Short Ribs Slow-Roasted in Coconut Milk

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Last Week at BA: Spooooky Recommendations, Short Ribs, and Scrambled Egg Feuds

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Every Friday morning, Bon Appétit senior staff writer Alex Beggs shares weekly highlights from the BA offices, from awesome new recipes to office drama to restaurant recs, with some weird (food!) stuff she saw on the internet thrown in. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

Scary stories to stream in the dark

Restaurant editor Elyse Inamine turned around in her desk and propped her chin on my cubicle wall. “Have you been listening to ‘Dr. Death’???” She asked. NO, I have not! But she knew the real life horror story of a Dallas neurosurgeon’s evil practices was right up my alley. I’ve been reading softened paperback Louise Penny murder mysteries from the library but I will take a break and check it out soon, I promised. This spiraled into a discussion of everything the staff was consuming other than food, and it turns out we’re all in a dark place right now:

Associate editor Alex Delany: Watched ALL of Maniac on Netflix in one rainy day.
Associate ed Alyse Whitney: Highly recommends This Is Us, Season 3.
Digital director Carey Polis: Is watching Forever on Amazon.
Associate ed Hilary Cadigan: Is reading There, There by Tommy Orange. “It’s devastating but everyone should read it,” is her review.
Healthyish ed Amanda Shapiro: Is reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation. “It’s really dark,” she admitted.
Basically ed Amiel Stanek: Has gotten into ‘Bundyville,’ which is a podcast on exactly what you think. It “gets really weird,” he added.
Food director Carla Lalli Music: Is rabidly listening to Slate’s podcast, ‘Slow Burn,’ about the impeachment of Bill Clinton, on her commute.

beggs short rib

Photo by Alex Beggs

But in between all of this culture, we’re still cooking. Last weekend I grilled the cover story from our June/July issue, Andy Baraghani’s short ribs. I got a few packs of Korean-style short ribs from Applestone butcher (where you can buy meat from a vending machine—cool), and was ready for a challenge. I was wrong! The magazine photo looked like a Dutch masters still life, dappled in metaphoric and literal sunlight, so I assumed the recipe was complicated…but it was a cinch! A blender marinade of chile pepper, lemongrass (I didn’t have), garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and oil, and then the ribs hit the grill for 2-4 minutes. The heat from the jalapeño nearly disappeared after grilling, leaving these juicy, flavorful short ribs that I wanted to eat by the stack, like pancakes. The final step was cutting some daikon radish, the most suggestive shape at the farmers’ market, and tossing it in a little rice vin. And that was hilariously simple too. I’ll definitely make this again—if not just the marinade. It’s fall grilling season, people!

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America runs on brevity

This week, the artist formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts dropped its last name. The company is now simply Dunkin’. They serve coffee beverages and round wheels of fried dough frosted in sugar, whatever those are. I wondered who this change poses the biggest challenge for, and I’ve landed on the sign guys. Overworked sign guys across the country put the newspaper down and groaned: Nooooooo! Blast it all! Criminy! (They’re British.) The week ahead looks rough. So many signs to remove. And where will all those banished “Donuts” go? I for one will be checking Craigslist.

broccoli and garlic ricotta toasts with hot honey

Broccoli makes a comeback

There are some truths we hold to be self-evident based on Instagram statistics: People love pizza, saucy wontons, seared scallops, glossy pasta…and broccoli? This week we posted some amazing new recipes, like creamy spaghetti al limone and crispy glazed brussels sprouts, but this photo of roasted broccoli and hot honey-ricotta toast garnered nearly 600 comments. Remember that New Yorker cartoon about the kid eating broccoli: “I say it’s spinach and to hell with it!”? Apparently people LOVE broccoli now. If that cartoon was redrawn today, what would it be? I think “kale.”

User Daniellewachtler tags her friend and lights a match: “Omg we need this @jross1118 hot honeyyy 🔥🔥”

Jewelofcana literally makes an entirely different recipe but her heart is in the right place: “I’ve made this exact recipe without the broccoli, with the obvious addition of prosciutto & arugula. Absolutely delicious. GOOD CALL, BA.”

I love the way @johey uses the comments as an opportunity to check in with sweet hippo feet (!!) on the grocery situation at home: “@sweet_hippo_feet do we have a good amount of broccoli left? I wanna pick up some ricotta and a baguette to make this tonight!”

PICK IT UP, SWEET HIPPO FEET!

One person saw it on Instagram, went to the store, and MADE the recipe all within the span of a few hours. This was definitely a record:

broc toast

Meanwhile

purple cauli baby

Via @tinygentleasians

New friends

It was Sasha Levine’s first week at Bon Appétit, replacing yours truly as senior editor on BA.com while I move over to write for BA full-time and really apply myself to this newsletter. I asked Sasha how it went: “Everyone is concerned about rebranding my office”—which was previously labeled “The Panic Room,” she told me. “People have brought my various lamps and lightbulbs to help with the lighting.” What did she think of her new coworkers? “Amiel threatened to lick the salt lamp, but other than that, everyone’s been really nice. Too nice.” Awww!

Update

Loup reopened! I love a good resurrection story.

Unnecessary food feud of the week

After all of the holiday issues, the food team is in January resolution mode, mentally. And this week, Andy has been making six, that’s right, six*, scrambled eggs for breakfast every day. This prompted the debate: Do you salt your scrambled eggs when you whisk them, or after, when they’re on the plate? Andy salts before. “Neither,” whispered Christina Chaey, who has a thing about eggs I’ll never understand. Food editors Anna Stockwell and Kat Boytsova salt after, for some reason. Emma Wartzman salts before and then whisks in some cream cheese after (!!!). But I’ll let egg-obsessed Adam Rapoport have the last word: “A) Chaey is cray. B) I think you gotta salt a little bit while whisking, and then finish with flaky salt when done. It’s definitely not enough to just sprinkle with salt after they’re plated, because the salt just rests atop the eggs and doesn’t infuse them with flavor. I’ve kvetched about this a zillion times, but nothing worse than unseasoned scrambled eggs. Bland and rubbery and, ultimately, flavorless.”

*He’s trying to bulk up. “After the fourth egg, it gets difficult to eat anymore,” he told me while pulling a seeded loaf for Healthyish out of the oven. “His biceps don’t lie,” Carla added.

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