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What do you use your mortar and pestle for?

post #1 of 24
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I was very surprised to find out on another one of my threads that people love their mortar and pestle.  I guess I just have not really used one very much.  I am interested to see what people like about them and how they use them.

 

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post #2 of 24

For me there is a simple answer, pesto. Pesto is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, and while I know many people believe they can make an acceptable pesto using a food processor, I have compared them side by side and they are night and day. The flavors pesto is so famous for are carried in oils present in the herbs, those oils are released by pressing, which sharp blades are very poor at. It takes a good deal longer to make traditionally but it's the only way for me.
 

post #3 of 24

I like using it for my garlic to roast pernil, which is roasted pork shoulder.

 

I also use it for my chimichurri.

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post #4 of 24
Spice grinder
post #5 of 24

I do not own one and never hat the need for one

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Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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post #6 of 24

I usually use an electric coffee grinder for grinding my spices, but it does a poor job of coarsely grinding spices so I often turn to my mortar and pestle for that.

post #7 of 24

Cracking pepper, or black pepper, coriander seeds and pink pepper, which i use on meat a lot

 

Making a pesto for caprese salad.  Nothing looks nicer - the creamy pesto of the blender is just wrong - pesto is made of sharp tastes - raw garlic, basil leaves - and they just don't feel right creamy.  If you mash them up in the mortar with large grain salt (which helps cut up the leaves and garlic) and some pepper, and then gradually add the oil, you have something that stays bright colored for its bright (hardly creamy) flavor, and poured over the sliced red tomatoes and white mozzarella, is really appealing.  The basil comes out in tiny flecks and not pureed, and they;re floating in a green olive oil made greener by the chlorophyl.  just beautiful. 

 

I never use it for anything else, though. 

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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 24

I make my curry pastes  and chile in a pestle and mortar.

I also use it to crush pepper and coriander, cumin etc.

The thing is, it is standing at my table and is ready for use. The coffee grinder is packed somewhere in a corner and takes more time to grab:)

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post #9 of 24

I use it as a spice grinder, to make pesto sauce and mayonnaise.

Cannot live without my mortar!

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post #10 of 24

We used to do Lobster shells for bisque

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post #11 of 24

There are many ways to make alioli but in our family its mortar and pestle. My sister-in-law's father comes from the Basque country and he showed me how he does it and I have been doing it ever since.

He calls it  'tradition'. If there is a family BBQ  with seafood on the grill , ya ya  calls all the kids around to watch him make it. She then breaks off a piece of crusty bread and dips it in the alioli, gives a piece to each one and asks them if it tastes good ? Of course they all agree. He  then proceeds to make more for the meal.

Once you get the knack, it's pretty easy. At work, same thing & Crushing spices.

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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

Pesto is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, and while I know many people believe they can make an acceptable pesto using a food processor, I have compared them side by side and they are night and day.

I guess I am one of those people. I really ought to try the mortar and pestle method!!

 

I use my mortar and pestle for curry pastes, for aïoli, for other oil-emulsion marinades, and for grinding spices such as cumin seeds or coriander seeds (after roasting them first). 

post #13 of 24

 

Oddly enough tonight I was wishing I had a larger set.  Grinding some garlic, sea salt and black peppercorns to rub on a pork roast in this photo.

 

There is a difference in herbs and seeds and such done this way versus a blade grinder.

 

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post #14 of 24

Mixing anchovies or caviar into butter. Rub the mixed butter through a sieve, bam, easy.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post

There are many ways to make alioli but in our family its mortar and pestle. My sister-in-law's father comes from the Basque country and he showed me how he does it and I have been doing it ever since.
He calls it  'tradition'. If there is a family BBQ  with seafood on the grill , ya ya  calls all the kids around to watch him make it. She then breaks off a piece of crusty bread and dips it in the alioli, gives a piece to each one and asks them if it tastes good ? Of course they all agree. He  then proceeds to make more for the meal.
Once you get the knack, it's pretty easy. At work, same thing & Crushing spices.

This might get messy, but ask the Basque if the alliolli really come from the basque area, and not Catalunya (Barcelona), wich is a different part of Spain. Originally it's Catalan (alliolli) and means oil and garlic wich was made into an emulsion. It was originally made without eggs/egg yolk, and mustard but its often used to have an easier emulsion. Try the pure version.

Catalans and Basque people have in general a good relation because they both have fought for independence from the Spanish.
post #16 of 24

Like the others said, pesto out of a M&P is light years better than one from a blender or food processor. I mostly use mine to get a custom grind to bulk sausage spice blends. It's nice to just crush dry fennel/anise/coriander and still have little uneven bits both for texture and pops of flavor. Also, taking different dried chiles and crushing them in flakes is a cool way to substitute a more complex version of the standard red chili flake.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokjel View Post


This might get messy, but ask the Basque if the alliolli really come from the basque area, and not Catalunya (Barcelona), wich is a different part of Spain. Originally it's Catalan (alliolli) and means oil and garlic wich was made into an emulsion. It was originally made without eggs/egg yolk, and mustard but its often used to have an easier emulsion. Try the pure version.

Catalans and Basque people have in general a good relation because they both have fought for independence from the Spanish.

I won't get into any semantics but would you like to hear a good one ? He is Basque, and her  ? Ummm yes, Catalan.

So there have been a few debates in their kitchen on this topic . (where various dishes come from)

 

"Pure version" ? How do you make it ?

 

BYW: good point.

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post #18 of 24

I've been watching a lot of no reservations, and with seemingly perfect timing, there was an episode where the aioli was made in a mortar and pestle and was only garlic and olive oil. They made a huge deal over the delicate touch it takes to do it right, and only the grandmother was trusted to make it! They even were talking about keeping your voice down, I guess because it can break fairly easily?

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by trissynashville View Post

Mixing anchovies or caviar into butter. Rub the mixed butter through a sieve, bam, easy.


WOW!

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post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by trissynashville View Post

Mixing anchovies or caviar into butter. Rub the mixed butter through a sieve, bam, easy.


Describe your sieve in detail, please.  Which mesh?

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post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post

"Pure version" ? How do you make it ?

Place garlic and salt in mortar, crush into a puree, and slowly emulsify with olive oil (or your favorite oil) with your pestle. You know the aïoli has the right consistency when the pestle can stand upright in the middle of the mortar. 

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

Place garlic and salt in mortar, crush into a puree, and slowly emulsify with olive oil (or your favorite oil) with your pestle. You know the aïoli has the right consistency when the pestle can stand upright in the middle of the mortar. 


I start my chimichurri just like that, and my pork marinade as well.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #23 of 24

I also do pork wet rubs like that. Mustard, sage, garlic, peppercorns, bit of lemon juice are pureed together and slowly emulsified with oil. Let marinate for a few hours and grill or roast. 

post #24 of 24

So it's called a wet rub. All this time I never knew it had a name.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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