Vintage Saris to Vibrant Aprons
For nearly 2,000 years, India’s tradition of kantha embroidery has been a colorful way to give new life to old cloth, upcycling worn-out saris into beautifully decorated quilts or other hand-stitched items. With their expertise in artisanal textiles, the husband-and-wife team behind J. Catma applies this distinctive approach to exclusively sourced vintage fabrics, resulting in soft, durable, one-of-a-kind kantha aprons. These colorful, hand-stitched pieces come directly from artisans in India, who craft them in small batches. Because of their handmade nature, no two are alike. Available for $59.95 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-apron.
Never Drop a Pizza Again
Nothing is better than homemade pizza. But if you haven’t mastered your peel technique, your artisan pie is liable to end up on the bottom of your oven. The solution? The Fiero Forni Italian Pizza Stone. What truly sets this stone apart is its ingenious metal frame, which includes a “pizza backsplash”—a metal lip that keeps your pie from sliding off when maneuvering it in and out of the oven. The stone heats quickly and consistently, ensuring a crisp crust, while its porous surface helps produce steam that prevents burning. And unlike other pizza stones, the exceptionally thick, heat-resistant material works just as well on the grill as it does in the oven. Available for $149.90 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-pizza.
Grind Guac with Whimsy
The molcajete is an essential part of the Mexican kitchen. Used since pre-Hispanic times, this wide-bowled mortar is carved from volcanic rock. Its rough surface makes it ideal for blending, grinding and pulverizing chilies, whole spices and other ingredients with its accompanying tejolote (pestle). And for a whimsical twist on this traditional tool, we love Ancient Cookware’s pig molcajete for making salsa, guacamole and more. Unlike a food processor, it offers total control over the texture of your ingredients. And while some mortar and pestle sets can be clunky, this one is sized just right: light enough to easily handle, yet large enough to prepare ample ingredients without spillage. Available for $64.95 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-pig.
The Best Hazelnuts Also Are the Most Buttery
We never realized just how delicious buttery hazelnuts could be until we tried Ash Creek Roasted Hazelnuts. Nut oils are particularly delicate (which is why they’re prone to going stale on supermarket shelves). But the extraordinary care taken to preserve the quality of these hazelnuts shines through in their rich, clean flavor. A fifth-generation family farm nestled in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Ash Creek cultivates the Jefferson varietal, especially prized for its size and flavor. If you can resist snacking on them straight from the bag, try them in salads, desserts or other dishes. Available starting at $9.95 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-nuts.
When Truffles Meet Caviar
Nothing adds a bit of luxury and savory depth to a dish like a touch of real truffle. One of the most elegant ways to do
it is with Tartuflanghe’s caviar-like Black Truffle Pearls. They’re made from the famous rare black winter truffles of Alba, Italy. The juice is gently extracted, then fashioned into tiny spheres that burst open on the tongue for a pop of truffle flavor. Naturally, these work wonderfully anywhere you’d use shaved truffles—or caviar, for that matter. Try them on beef tartare, or dollop them over crème fraîche-topped blinis for a stunning canapé. Available for $34.95 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-truffle
A Clever Way to Clean Greens
Too many salad spinners do a poor job of drying produce. So
we were thrilled to find DreamFarm’s Spina, which works double duty as a salad spinner and colander, and excels at both. In one configuration, it’s a long-handled colander. But with a quick twist, the handle can be snapped into place over the top of the bowl, ready to spin. High concave walls ensure that food stays in the bowl while spinning—no bulky lid required. Available for $29.95 at 177milkstreet.com/mj22-spin
Making the Most of Za'atar
Equally tangy, savory and herbal, za'atar is a staple of the Milk Street pantry. The Middle Eastern spice blend—often little more than a blend of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, thyme and oregano or za’atar (also the name of a wild herb similar to oregano)—is used to season everything from warm flatbread to roasted meats and vegetables. So we asked the members of the Milk Street Facebook Community for their favorite ways to use za’atar.
Jolene Bosché, of O’Fallon, Illinois, sprinkles it onto salmon fillets along with some salt, then drizzles on olive oil before oven-roasting or cooking them in a smoker. To get the same flavor more easily, we added a little smoked paprika to the za’atar, plus some grated lemon zest to balance the fattiness of the salmon.
Oven-roasted butternut squash and sliced red onion seasoned with za’atar, then finished with tahini and pine nuts, is the creation of Judie Spero, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We added just a couple accent ingredients— yogurt for a touch of acidity and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses for tangy-sweet fruity notes that complement the other deep, earthy flavors.
And Jessica G., of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, makes a fantastic traybake of za’atar-seasoned chicken parts, cauliflower and potatoes, all roasted together on the same baking sheet. A cut-up lemon at the center of it all yields tangy-sweet juice and fragrant oils that flavor a tahini-enriched pan sauce.
For Milk Street’s versions of all three recipes, go to 177milkstreet.com/communityrecipes.