Rinse Your Way to Better Rice
The ideal pot of fluffy, perfectly cooked rice is surprisingly elusive. Rinsing can help prevent sticky, stodgy results, but traditional colanders aren’t designed for the task, with oversized holes that let small grains fall through. Meanwhile, few fine-mesh strainers can stand upright in the sink. That’s where Milk Street’s Rice Washer comes in. With small holes and a perforated pouring spout at the top, this colander keeps rice inside when draining. We also love it for rinsing fruits and vegetables—the small nubs lining the interior are as good for brushing dirt loose from bok choy and berries as for removing starch from rice grains. And the grippy silicone base keeps the washer firmly planted in the sink, on the counter or wherever you need it. Available for $29.95 at 177milkstreet.com/jf23-rice.
Turkish Delight That Actually Delights
On a recent visit to Istanbul, our first stop was Haci Bekir, renowned for producing the best Turkish delight in the world. Perhaps not coincidentally, it’s also the first Turkish delight in the world: The fifth-generation shop prides itself on having invented this jewel-like confection in 1777. Known as lokum in Turkey (from the Arabic word for “morsel”), these candies have a pleasant sweetness that doesn’t overpower. Whether you opt for the jellied fruit assortment (in vibrant flavors including sour cherry, strawberry, apricot and orange) or their soft, caramelly date squares, each bite is studded with plump hazelnuts and pistachios. And where lesser versions can be jaw-achingly tough, these are supple and pleasantly chewy. Available in 11.5-ounce boxes for $15.95 at 177milkstreet.com/jf23-candy.
The Right Tools for Perfect Pasta
Making pasta by hand can be daunting—unless you have the right tools. La Gondola streamlines the process with their handcrafted brass and beechwood pasta tools made in Treviso, Italy. On one side, the Double Pasta Cutter Wheel has a sturdy straight edge for clean cuts and uniform lines, and on the other a crimped edge for cutting long pasta shapes like pappardelle or tagliatelle. And the brass Mezzaluna Ravioli Stamp makes perfect half-moon ravioli with a tight seal. The frilled edges on the stamp are designed to pinch each raviolo closed—no more irregular shapes and seals that come undone during cooking. The wheel is available for $65.95 and the ravioli stamp for $75.95 at 177milkstreet.com/jf23-pasta.
Salt You Can Spritz
Why sprinkle your salt when you can spray it? So went the reasoning at Salzburg’s Bärenwirt restaurant. Searching for a more precise method to season their Wienerschnitzel, Bärenwirt developed their Der Kleine Bär salt sprays as a convenient way to add briny notes and bold flavor, while also allowing greater control. Use the mildly spicy Salted Pepperoncini anywhere you would salt and pepper, while the Salted Wasabi offers a blast of bright heat, and the Salted Lemon provides a fresh pop of citrus reminiscent of preserved lemon. We love how a spritz lightly coats even the most hard-to-season foods (think lettuce leaves) without needing fussy dressings or sauces. Try it on anything from meat and fish dishes to salads, roasted vegetables or even cocktails. Bottles are available for $22.95 each at 177milkstreet.com/jf23-spray.
Upgrade Your Red Pepper
As true Aleppo pepper is no longer grown in Syria, authentic versions are nearly impossible to source. But for similar bright, fruity pepper flavor—with a spice level that won’t overwhelm—we like maraş biberi, produced in Turkey. Also referred to as Kahramanmaraş aci biberi, it often is called Turkish pepper (in Turkish, “biber” simply means pepper). In Istanbul, where we first encountered it, maraş biberi is available in various degrees of heat; we brought back a large bag of Misso brand flakes for under $10. It now is our go-to everyday pepper. We keep it in a large glass shaker and use it anywhere we would Aleppo or Urfa pepper (another comparable chili pepper). Luckily, you don’t have to go Istanbul to get it; you can find 1-pound bags on Amazon for around $13.
Authentic Scottish Shortbread
If you’re used to the gritty, greasy, bland biscuits that pass as shortbread in American supermarkets, true Scottish shortbread is a revelation: rich, buttery and toothsomely tender yet shatteringly crisp. And you won’t find a better example than Shortbread House of Edinburgh’s velvety cookies, made by hand from a family recipe. Their sweetness is balanced with a hint of salt, while their trademark addition of rice flour lends an especially light, crisp texture. For purists, their plain Original shortbread hits all the right notes, but we also love the bright Sicilian Lemon, warming Ginger and decadent Dark Chocolate versions. And they all come packaged in playfully printed tins made by British home designer Sara Miller. Available for $29.95 per tin at 177milkstreet.com/jf23-shortbread.
Travel the World with the Milk Street Podcast
With over 200 episodes, the weekly Milk Street podcast (winner of a 2021 Taste Award) is available on Apple Podcasts, at 177milkstreet.com/radio or wherever you get your podcasts.
With co-host Sara Moulton, we take live calls from listeners and travel the world to find curious food stories—including children who harvest cod tongues after school in Norway, a detective who tracks down food thieves, and cooking for space aliens. And we interview Jacques Pépin, Vivian Howard, Rachael Ray, José Andrés, Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson and Stanley Tucci.
Our regular contributors include New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, A Way with Words cohosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, the Sporkful’s Dan Pashman and J. Kenji López-Alt.
And at Milk Street, you can always find the unexpected: a visit to the Museum of Failure, the joys of eyeball Jell-O and how to eat your way through Italy. We also tackle the science of stir-fry and how to cook everything from authentic pad Thai to Mexican beans.
Plus, we solve your cooking problems, from uneven cakes and bread that doesn’t rise to fixing a family recipe that has fallen on hard times.
Milk Street also is broadcast weekly on over 230 public radio stations.