Kelp: Pickles From the Sea
We thought we’d seen just about everything get the pickle treatment, then along comes Barnacle Foods Dill Kelp Pickles. The Alaskan company harvests naturally growing kelp, slices it into rounds, then pickles it in a vinegary brine seasoned with dill, garlic, coriander, mustard, fennel and caraway. The result is pleasantly crunchy and tastes like a cross between a caper and a sweet gherkin. We like them in tartar sauce and egg salad, or minced into a browned butter herb sauce for fish or pork. They also make
a great addition to a cheese plate and are delicious on burgers, fish sandwiches and in a dirty martini. Available from Barnaclefoods.com for about $8 for a 10-ounce jar.
Umami in a Bottle
We couldn’t believe the delicious difference a splash of Liquid Shio Koji made to some simple chicken thighs. Shio koji is a traditional Japanese condiment made from fermented malted rice. Often used as a paste, it adds rich, savory-sweet flavor to meats, marinades and sauces, as well as soups and stews. But Hanamaruki Foods’ liquid version is easier to use and combines the sweetness of mirin with the umami of soy sauce. We tossed 8 ounces of cubed boneless, skinless chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon of it and let it sit for 20 minutes. We then seared the meat in a nonstick skillet; it browned and caramelized wonderfully and had an amazing teriyaki-like flavor. It would be equally good brushed onto a steak or chicken skewers before grilling, stirred into warm rice, or whisked with orange juice and a splash of honey for a simple dressing. Available online (including the Milk Street Store) and in Asian markets for about $13.
Cut to the Core
Using a chef’s knife to cleave the florets from heads of cauliflower and crowns of broccoli can be tricky. The vegetables rarely rest flat on the cutting board, making the already tough cores even tougher to slice. So we were surprisingly impressed by the HINNLAC Stalk Chop Cauliflower Prep Tool, which combines a comfortable handle and metal spade-like digger that makes it simple and safe to core cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage. It even works well scooping the seeds from squash. Sets
of two are available on Amazon for about $7.
A Coffee Press That Keeps the Grounds at Bay
Much as we love a good French press coffee, we’ve never cared for the way coffee left in the jar continues to steep. The result is that lingering over your first cup can result in an unpleasantly strong last one. Then we were introduced to Flask by Ethoz, and on looks alone we were immediately smitten. It’s a stunning rethinking of the classic French press coffee maker, with an important difference: The one-way brew valve means that once water is expressed through the coffee grounds, it doesn’t continue to steep. The result was delicious coffee brewed only as strong as you like, no matter how long you linger. Available for $100 from ethoz.us.
Honey Dippers, Minus the Mess
Honey dippers seemed a bit old school for us. To be practical, most require being left standing in open pots of honey— not quite practical in the modern kitchen. Which is a shame since they really are perfectly designed for extracting just the right amount of that sweet syrup. Then we discovered a honey dipper designed to be retrofitted into a 16-ounce canning jar—a perennial favorite of ours for storing all manner of ingredients. As a bonus, the wide lid at the handle end of the dipper makes an excellent drip guard, so no sticky fingers, either. Widely available online starting around $5.
A Better Way to Bake
We didn’t expect to get excited about a baking sheet. Then we tried the Holy Sheet from New York cookware company Great Jones. The ceramic-coated half-sheet (171⁄4 by 121⁄4 inches) pans are sturdy and impressively nonstick. Burnt sugar and scorched sauces washed off the brightly colored pans with no effort. And reinforcing steel rods keep the pans from warping at high heat. Available for $35 from GreatJonesGoods.com
At milk street, we love the way creamy-savory tahini transforms everything from rich chocolate brownies to roasted whole heads of cauliflower. So we recently asked the members of our Milk Street Facebook Community for their favorite ways to use this staple of North African and Middle Eastern cooking, and we were amazed by the delicious creativity of the responses.
Jennifer Wozniak, of Flint, Michigan, drizzles tahini onto lamb burgers that she spices up with sumac, cumin and red pepper flakes, then serves the burgers topped with feta cheese and sandwiched in brioche buns.
Jason Lewis, of Philadelphia, roasts butternut squash and red onion, then finishes them with a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce and a dusting of za’atar, the Middle Eastern herb, spice and seed blend.
Suzanne Lewis Peins of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, makes a rich and silky—yet simple— sauce for udon noodles by combining tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce and a little water. After tossing the cooked
noodles with the mixture, she sprinkles them with sliced scallions and sometimes a little chopped parsley for fresh notes and a spark of color.
For Milk Street’s versions of all three recipes, go to 177milkstreet.com/communityrecipes.