Christopher Kimball 6.5” Nakiri Knife
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Traditionally used for vegetables, the nakiri, a Japanese-style chef’s knife, changed the way I cook. It has a thin blade that is great for slicing through vegetables and makes for a lighter, easier-to-use knife that is ideal for the home cook. (Over the past 100 years, European knives have competed with each other on heft, which makes little sense to us here at Milk Street—lighter, thinner knives are both easier to handle and to slice through foods.) I designed this nakiri during a meeting in Albacete, Spain, with the folks from Zwilling J. A. Henckels. My nakiri's cutting edge measures 6.5 inches and is 2 inches high, half the height of a Chinese cleaver; the deeper blade makes it easier to rest the flat side of the blade against the knuckles while slicing, for comfort and safety. The high-carbon stainless steel blade is well balanced; its edges are expertly honed and require little maintenance other than the occasional sharpening; and the smooth polymer handle is triple-riveted. This knife will make cooking fun again, since the food prep will be quicker, safer and easier. I could not recommend a knife more highly, especially at this amazing price.
- Net Weight: 6.9 ounces
- Dimensions: Blade Length: 6.5 inches | Handle Length: 5 inches
- Material: Stainless steel
Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon 5 quart Wok Skillet with Lid
Finally, a wok perfectly designed for the home cook. Our 5-quart, carbon-steel, flat-bottomed wok heats quickly and distributes that heat evenly for uniform cooking. The domed glass lid seals in liquids, prevents splatters and allows you to see your food when cooking, while also allowing you to steam as well as stir-fry in the wok. The wok’s long handle and helper handle make the wok easy to maneuver, no matter how heavily loaded. We also like this design because it is not too large—many 12-inch or larger woks are difficult to store, so they end up going to the basement, not the kitchen! Pair it with our Wok Spatula.
Before first use, wash your wok inside and out in hot soapy water, then dry over low heat on your stovetop. To season the pan, heat over high heat until a drop of water evaporates on contact. Add 2 tablespoons neutral oil and swirl in pan over medium heat until interior surface is coated. Add in sliced or chopped onions, ginger or scallions and cook. As they start to soften, spread the mixture over the entire surface of the wok's interior. Continue doing this for about 20 minutes over medium heat, adding oil if the ingredients become too dry or start to burn. Discard the mixture, allow the wok to cool down completely, then rinse with hot water and a soft sponge to remove excess food particles. Heat the wok on low heat until completely dry. Coat lightly with vegetable oil and wipe clean with a paper towel before storing. The seasoning process will change the color of the wok's interior—this is called a patina and will darken with each use. Once seasoned, soap is not recommended for cleaning—it will negatively affect the patina and require re-seasoning.
- Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Capacity: 5 quarts
- Dimensions: Length: 23.5 inches (with handles) | Width: 12.5 inches | Height: 5.5 inches
- Material: Stainless steel, carbon steel, glass
- Use: Suitable for induction, gas, electric, glass-ceramic, and halogen stovetops. Not oven-safe.
- Care: Wash interior with hot water and a soft sponge. For stuck food, cool pan, then soak in hot water until food is loose, about 5 minutes, and gently scrub. Rinse well, then heat wok over low heat on stovetop until dry. Coat pan lightly with vegetable oil and wipe clean with paper towel before storing.
Milk Street Chef's Slotted Turner by Lamson
Also known as a fish spatula, Lamson's slotted offset spatula is an indispensable and endlessly useful kitchen tool for sautéing, stir frying, grilling and more. The long, flexible paddle is lightweight and easy to manipulate, yet it's sturdy enough to lift half-pound burgers and whole grilled cheese sandwiches. On the other hand, the sharp, angled edge and ultrathin design will easily slide underneath delicate foods like eggs, pancakes or its namesake fish fillets. The hardened and tempered high-carbon stainless steel—the same stuff Lamson makes its knives from—gives it a terrific springiness. We worked with Lamson to produce this exclusive version of the Slotted Turner, with a durable polymer handle in our favorite Milk Street high-visibility orange. The pop of color makes it easy to find in the messiest utensil drawer or beneath all the dishes in an overstuffed sink.
- Net weight: 3.25 ounces
- Material: Carbon stainless steel, polyoxymethylene thermoplastic handle
- Care: Hand-wash only
- Place of Origin: Westfield, MA
Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons from Morocco
A fundamental flavoring in North African cooking, Casablanca Market's preserved lemons have a bright, balanced flavor, and they aren't overly salty or bitter like some brands. They are prepared from aromatic beldi lemons grown in Taroudant, a town in southern Morocco, by a community-based and women-run business. We like that they add a bold, piquant kick to dishes without being too sour, and their tender texture is perfect for chopping finely and incorporating into recipes.
Traditionally, preserved lemon is added to Moroccan stews, like our Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Butternut Squash and Spinach or Lemon-Saffron Chicken (Tangia). For both of these recipes, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of minced peel 10 minutes before the dish is done. They're also great for enhancing bean dishes, like a quick chickpea salad or our Turkish Red Lentil Soup flavored with cumin and paprika. Follow the recipe, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely chopped rind to the dish during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Preserved lemon’s piquancy helps cut through starchy grains. Chop up and fold a spoonful into bulgur or couscous. Try adding 1 tablespoon of chopped peel to our Herb and Pistachio Couscous Salad instead of the recipe’s minced jalapeño peppers.
If you want to improvise with preserved lemon, remember that the pulp and peel should be used separately. The soft pulp can be mashed and stirred into soups, stews, dressings and sauces. The firmer, stronger-flavored rind should be either minced very fine so it's not overpowering, or diced and cooked for a bit in dishes to soften its texture and disperse its flavor.
- Net Weight: 7 ounces
- Ingredients: Beldi lemons, water, sea salt
- Place of Origin: Morocco
Il Colle Del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread
For those who thought the Italians couldn’t top themselves after Nutella, we have good news. We recently discovered—and became obsessed with—Pistacchiosa, a sweet pistachio paste from Il Colle Del Gusto that renders other sweet spreads and nut butters second best. Made from Sicilian pistachios and extra-virgin olive oil, Pistacchiosa is a creamy, aromatic spread you will want to put on all your desserts and, yes, eat straight out of the jar.
The marriage of pistachio and olive oil came about via a different union, between Antonio Della Corte and Annamaria Conti. He worked in gelato and pastry shops creating sweet mixes; she ran a farm and bed-and-breakfast and loved to make her own olive oil. The rest is history. They started their company, Il Colle Del Gusto, and sold a line of spreads at farmers markets around Rome, among them Pistacchiosa.
We love to pair this intensely rich pistachio butter with fruity flavors: raspberry or strawberry jam and marmalade or a handful of chopped dried cherries or apricots. Ribbon a layer through your favorite pound cake, or smear across warm hearty whole-grain toast sprinkled with coarse salt or crumbled fresh goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. We also like to fold Pistacchiosa into a batch of ice cream or gelato and serve with grated bittersweet chocolate. Add a thin veneer to sandwich cookies such as our Citrus-Plum Linzer Cookies —the possibilities are endless, if you can keep from eating Pistacchiosa straight off the spoon.
- Net Weight: 250 grams
- Ingredients: Sicilian pistachios, sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, rice flour, sunflower lecithin as emulsifier
- Allergens: Contains pistachios and traces of other nuts, including peanuts. May contain traces of soy.
- Place of Origin: Italy
Pic's Smooth Peanut Butter
With other brands, even smooth peanut butter can taste clumpy and gritty once it's settled in the jar. Pic's Smooth Peanut Butter is always creamy because it is pressed twice. Choose between salted or unsalted—even the salted version has only half the salt of comparable brands. And while not impervious to separating, we find the peanut butter comes together quickly with just a stir or two, as opposed to the vigorous blending required with other versions.
This peanut butter’s uniqueness lies in the nut itself. Pic's uses an Australian-grown varietal with a much higher oleic acid content than conventional peanuts, so the peanut butter is naturally higher in protein, vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats, but also lower in saturated fat. It also boasts a shelf stability up to 10 times greater than regular peanut butter. And the peanut butter itself is always made without any added sugar, oil or emulsifiers.
Pic’s Peanut Butter works equally well for classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as it does for baking and cooking. Without any extra oils or sugar, the peanut flavor comes through clearly in both sweet and savory recipes. Use in your favorite cookies or brownies; try swapping out for the tahini in our Tahini Swirl Brownies. This peanut butter is also great for making Asian peanut sauces, like in our Singapore Chicken Satay or Peanut-Sesame Udon Noodles with Scallions.
- Net Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Ingredients: No Salt: 100% peanuts | Salt: Peanuts, less than 1% salt (sodium: 60 milligrams)
- Place of Origin: New Zealand
Kikuichi Kokaji 6-inch Petty Bunka Knife
If you can only get your hands on one Japanese knife, this 6-inch petty knife—made by Japan's renowned Kokajikai knife guild—is a must-have, as it works double duty as both a paring knife and chef’s knife. Its gently curved bunka blade style makes the knife nimble and efficient, while the acute kiritsuke tip is especially fine and pointed. We found that the Kokaji petty was incredibly light and balanced in the hand, while its blade length and shape make it functional for close work, such as mincing shallots and garlic, as well as larger jobs like trimming roasts for stew meat or splitting chicken parts. And not only does it work great, the Kokaji petty is also visually stunning, featuring a minimalistic oval handle made from traditional magnolia wood and affixed seamlessly to the blade with a water buffalo horn ferrule. The knife comes sheathed in a saya, a carved wooden blade guard made of smooth balsam that was classically for ceremonial presentation but also helps protect the knife during travel and storage. A small wooden pin keeps the guard secure (and if the pin ever gets lost, just whittle the tip off a chopstick as a replacement).
The blade is forged from three layers of a top-quality carbon steel alloy that holds a keen edge forever and hones up easily on a diamond steel sharpener. Because of that carbon content, however, the knife should be kept dry and will develop a patina with use—but don’t worry, it’s not the same as rust. We recommend treating your Kokaji petty occasionally with camellia oil, which we are including as a free gift with purchase so you can keep your blade looking like new.
- Blade Length: 6 inches
- Weight: 3 ounces
- Bevel Angle Ratio: 50:50
- Materials: Blade: 9 layers hand-forged steel with Blue Aoko #2 carbon steel edge | Handle: Japanese magnolia wood, water buffalo horn ferrule
- Care Instructions: Hand-wash and dry immediately.
Inomata Japanese Plastic Rice Washing Bowl
It is a standing joke around the office that I LOVE this rice washer. It is just the right size, so storing it is not a pain (it’s small enough to keep it on my drain board at all times), it’s lightweight, it’s well-designed, and—if you like—it also washes rice. Why do we all have huge colanders, anyway? This 2.5-quart colander is the perfect size for 95 percent of your kitchen draining jobs. With rice, the device allows one to cover the rice with water and swish it around; there are tiny drain holes in the bottom and larger holes near the spout. You can use this simple bowl for washing any sort of produce, including berries—a simple but brilliant concept. As for cooking rice, I use a ceramic Japanese rice cooker (the Kamado-San Double-Lid Donabe Rice Cooker—available in our store) and use slightly less water than rice.
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Capacity: 2.5 quarts
- Dimensions: 9.5" L x 8.5" W x 4" H
- Material: BPA-Free Plastic
- Care: Dishwasher safe (top rack only)
ButterUp Butter Knife
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This revolutionary butter knife makes cold butter easily spreadable; it is so ingenious that it is sold at the Museum of Modern Art's Design Store—and pretty much nowhere else. A row of small droplet-shaped holes on one side of the blade function as a grater specifically designed for cold butter; simply run the knife over cold butter to soften and gather it in thin ribbons. ButterUp has a wider blade than other butter knives, which is ideal both for collecting the grated ribbons and spreading butter more evenly. And unlike other items that have niche functions, ButterUp's knife is as useful as any other butter knife for a broad range of tasks. The grater holes in the blade are small enough that they don't affect its use when spreading jams, nut butters and the like, while its serrated edge works just as well as any other butter knife for getting rid of crusts or cutting toast in half. Plus, cleanup is easy since ButterUp is made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel. Whether you use it for our Tamarind Compound Butter or other spreads such as our Greek Yogurt-Harissa Dip, with such a simple and effective design, why wouldn't you choose the ButterUp knife?
- Net Weight: 115 grams
- Dimensions: 8 inches long
- Materials: 18/8 Stainless steel
- Knife Finish: Polished Finish
- Care Instructions: Dishwasher safe