A Condiment with Kick
Sambal is to Malaysia what ketchup is to the U.S. The chili paste packs a riot of fresh, bright pepper flavor, and is used on everything from soups to stir-fries. And after tasting Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen Hot Chili Sambal, we understood why. Made in small batches, the condiment is chili-forward and balances the brightness of fresh peppers with the earthiness of dried chilies. The heat is rounded out with garlic, a touch of sugar and a glug of vinegar, while umami-rich shrimp paste contributes deep savory flavor with no lingering fishiness. We love it in stir-fried greens, such as spinach. Available for $12.95 at 177milkstreet.com/nd21-chili.
A 007-Worthy Apron
Impeccably stylish and ruthlessly functional—that’s maekake, traditional heavy-duty aprons used for centuries by Japanese tradespeople. They are rugged enough to tackle the messiest kitchen jobs yet retain their crisp appearance for decades. And their heatproof quality makes them especially suited for work around hot ovens and open flames. They’d fallen out of fashion about 50 years ago, but in 2019, Anything Co. began manufacturing the aprons on 100-year-old looms, resuscitating the industry in the process. These days, Anything Co.’s maekake are popping up in Japanese restaurants and izakayas—as well as making a cameo appearance in the latest James Bond film: According to Anything Co.’s founder, you’ll find none other than the series’ legendary gadgetmeister Q sporting one. Available for $59.95 at 177milkstreet.com/nd21-apron.
The Best Black Olive Tapenade
Briny, fruity, savory and lightly garlicky: That’s what our dream black olive tapenade tastes like. And after much searching, we finally found it with Casablanca Moroccan Tapenade, which is gently seasoned with herbes de Provence. It’s not overly salty like other tapenades can be, but rather balanced thanks to briny capers, rich extra-virgin olive oil and savory garlic. The resulting flavor is lightly floral with a bit of a grassy sweetness. The olives are harvested by Moroccan farmers and offer a soft, mild minerality. All together, the tapenade is simple and delicious—with a sumptuously scoopable and spreadable texture. Available for $9.95 at 177milkstreet.com/nd21-olive.
Smart Design and Sturdy as a Knife
This innovative peeler by Suncraft is almost too smart for its own good. And that’s why we love it. Made from 440A stainless steel—the same steel used for high-end knives—the Ever Peeler blade stays sharp with daily use and slices through produce with ease. It makes quick work of even the toughest hard-skinned foods such as butternut squash, breaking it down into paper-thin shavings. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, featuring replaceable blade inserts that switch out easily—no need to throw away the whole peeler. Its handle is ergonomically designed and comes in different shapes for right-handed and left-handed users, making it comfortable to use no matter what. Besides peeling veggies, use it to make delicate zucchini or carrot ribbons in lieu of using a mandoline slicer. It’s also ideal for shredding cabbage or strips of lemon zest. Available for $32.95 at 177milkstreet.com/nd21-peel.
A Stylish Solution for Warming Bread
Who knew keeping bread warm could be so beautiful? The SERRV International Birds of a Feather Bread Warmer is made by artisans in Bangladesh who craft them using terra-cotta clay gathered by hand from riverbeds. The clay is cleaned, thickened, molded, then fired at a low temperature to make the oven-safe stone warmer. We love its whimsical, nature-inspired design and whitewashed finish, which softens the material’s natural reddish hue. The stone sits within a basket that’s handwoven using kaisa grass and palm leaves, which are fast-growing, sustainable resources. Available for $32.95 at 177milkstreet.com/nd21-warm. ◆
While we never would suggest that perfect mashed potatoes require anything but ample butter and judicious salt, we also know there are countless ways to add bold strokes of flavor and texture to this comfort food staple. So with the coming holidays on our minds, we asked the members of the Milk Street Facebook Community to share their favorite ways to punch up basic mashed potatoes.
Mary Coughlan, of Waltham, Massachusetts, dials up the flavor by stirring in hummus. Tahini and za’atar, a Middle Eastern seed, herb and spice blend, bring even more layers of flavor. Our version of her recipe calls for red pepper hummus, but any variety is delicious.
Christine Bergman, of Richmond Hill, Georgia, offered a decidedly Mediterranean flavor profile. Spiked with lightly tangy yogurt, fresh mint and lemon zest, her bright and herbal potatoes are an excellent side to grilled kebabs or roasted lamb.
And Bhakti Pathak, of Mumbai, India, makes aromatic, golden-hued
mashed potatoes by toasting turmeric and other spices, then folding them in at the end. In our version, we coax the fullest flavor from the seasonings by making a tarka, a mix of spices and, oftentimes, other aromatics that are bloomed in hot fat. We stir in the blend of butter, mustard seeds and cumin seeds once the potatoes are mashed and creamy.
For Milk Street’s versions of all three recipes, go to 177milkstreet.com/communityrecipes.