Kitchen Favorites: Mortar and Pestle

 Testing mortars and pestles revealed not only the best ones for various tasks but also my favorite. Learn more at
As I’ve taught spice workshops and ground spices into custom mixes at home, I’ve used a range of tools: coffee grinders, nutmeg grinders and graters, salt mills and pepper grinders, hand-cranked spice mills. But it wasn’t until earlier this year, when I tested seven mortar and pestle sets for The Spruce Eats, that I became enamored of this traditional grinding tool.

As I spent weeks using various mortars and pestles, I not only learned how to choose and use the best ones for various tasks but also found my favorite: the IKEA Adelsten Mortar and Pestle. In my latest piece for The Spruce Eats, I tell the tale of my prior poor choices in mortars and pestles that never made them my go-to grinding tool and why I’ve made room for IKEA’s set in my small kitchen.
Learn about choosing and using a mortar and pestle set


Garden-Fresh Basil Pesto and Homemade Pasta

Scratch-made pasta is far easier than I had anticipated and pairs perfectly with creamy homemade pesto. Learn more at
When I started this blog 6 years ago, one of the first recipes I shared was Basil Pesto Base, which I make in large batches in my food processor every time our basil plants threaten to flower and then freeze to use all winter. But recently, I had the chance to test mortars and pestles for The Spruce Eats and became hooked on the creamy texture of freshly pounded basil pesto. My reviews haven’t gone live yet on that website, but I couldn’t resist sharing the recipe and technique I developed during testing in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon.

Once I had several batches of freshly pounded pesto, I also couldn’t resist trying my hand at scratch-made pasta. With some tips and tricks—and a hand-cranked, countertop pasta maker—homemade pasta turned out to be far less messy and far less difficult than I had anticipated, with tasty results that paired perfectly with creamy, mortar-pounded pesto.
Learn to make Garden-Fresh Basil Pesto and Homemade Pasta