Tuesday Treats: The Mortar!

UPDATE:  Winners have been selected!

Congrats to JamaABitchinKitchen, and Quenna for winning the random drawing


Tuesday Treats seems to already be a popular feature here at Macheesmo.  I’m still getting comments on the last edition which is long over and winners have been selected!

So, again, I’ll just repeat the very simple rules of Tuesday Treats:

1) You need to comment on the post to be entered to win.  A fair number of people were replying by email and that’s just too hard to manage.  So only comments will get you entered into the drawing.

2) The contest closes at 7PM Eastern Time sharp.  These aren’t multi-day contests.  Of course, that means that if you aren’t checking out Macheesmo every day, you might miss it.  One way you could make sure you don’t miss a Tuesday Treat is to subscribe to the feed or subscribe via email!

What’s up for grabs today?

Three of these beauties!


I use my mortar and pestle that’s just like this one (2 cup capacity) for a bunch of things, but I feel like it’s something that people would never really buy for themselves which is the exact kind of thing that I like to give away.

The nice thing about a really sturdy mortar and pestle is that they are actually really efficient at grinding things.  The stone is so heavy that it’s not a lot of work and sometimes easier than pulling out the spice grinder or food processor.

A good mortar and pestle will also give you way more control over the grind on something.  Sometimes I like to just barely crack up something like cumin seeds so they aren’t whole, but not completely ground.  That’s pretty hard to do in a spice grinder which will just spin them into dust.  A mortar and pestle gives me perfect control though.

So I like them and use mine way more than I ever thought I would.

Here’s a few recipes that I’ve used my mortar and pestle on:

Chili Powder Steak – This is a delicious steak and also my go-to way to make homemade chili powder.  Once you try it, you won’t be interested in store-bought stuff anymore!

Pepper and Spice Cookies – These were really interesting cookies.  Definitely different if you’re looking for a change.

Three Homemade Dry Rubs – Any dry rub is perfect for a mortar and pestle.  Most rubs you want to have some texture still so a mortar and pestle is perfect.

Really though any recipe that calls for whole spices or pesto of any type can always use the subtle grind of a mortar and pestle.

Leave a comment and maybe win a Tuesday Treat!  I’m giving away three.  Winners will be announced at 7PM Eastern Time today.

Winners Selected!

Congrats to Jama, ABitchinKitchen, and Quenna for winning the random drawing!


151 comments on “Tuesday Treats: The Mortar!

  1. Hey Nick! Not sure if the contest is open to those across the seas (Spain) but I'm throwing my hat in the ring just in case as I need one of these to make the catalan specialty – all i oli! I've been living in Barcelona three years and only made it once in someone else's mortar and pestle. Plus, I'm a huge pesto fan (who isn't).

    You might want to specify if the contests are USA only – shipping that thing overseas would be expensive!

    Keep up the fantastic work, I'm a longtime reader and lurker.

  2. Oh, Perfect Timing! I just broke the pestle I have over this past weekend. I was crushed because I use mine all the time… A replacement would make a Happy Tuesday!! =)

  3. I was looking at a mortar and pestle at the store this weekend, but just couldn't bring myself to buy it. Winning one would be sweet and a happy moment in a not so happy week (my car was stolen)!

  4. Another international commenter :)
    Nick, after living in DC for ten years (a place I know you also love) I moved to Amsterdam two months ago to start my life here with my fiance. I sold everything, and he, having also recently moved into a furnished place for us to rent, has nothing either. I think we currently have one skillet to our name, two bowls, two mugs…and that is it. We just bought an apartment and move next month. I was in a store looking at mortars recently and dream of having one. This would be perfect! As an added bonus, I can even bring it here myself from the states, since I'll be visiting next month. Can you tell I really want this?!?! :)
    My recent post On Learning Dutch

  5. I'd love to win this thing – exactly the kind of thing that I'd never buy but would love to have.

  6. I wonder if one could crush up some tasty guacamole in a mortar and pestle (vs. a molcajete–are they the same thing? I have no idea.). Either that, or pesto sounds about right.

  7. Thanks Nick! Love reading your blog. Wanted you to know that I make all my pizzas in my cast iron skillet now using your method. I had tried it before and it never really worked right. Thanks!!

  8. I have a mortar and pestle but it's pretty small and not very good. Would love to win one of these!

  9. The mortar and pestle are beautiful. They are like the ones I saw traditional cooks use when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. I have some of their yummy recipes that I could make a lot easier with an awesome tool like this. I think I would want to keep it on the counter when I wasn't even using it. So cool.
    Jeanne G.

    1. And by the way, we made your chile powder steak, paired with your sun-dried tomato pasta salad for a date night, and they were both AMAZING.

  10. Oh sweet! I bought one for my dad last Christmas, and wished the whole time he was using it while cooking Christmas dinner that I would have gotten one for myself as well.

  11. You're right–this is one of those kitchen tools that I always eye, but never get around to buying for myself! My boyfriend is a huge meat guy, so it would be fun to use this to create our own rubs.

  12. I make a lot of recipes that call for grinding in a mortar and I've just never gone out and bought one. I crush things with the back of a spoon or roller on a cutting board. Just not the same. I love your blog and have made tons of your recipes all to the delight of my family and friends.

  13. I'm sure I'd use this for making guacamole and other great dips. Speaking of munchies, I'm going to make your sticky wing recipe for my fantasy football draft this weekend. Hope all is well Nick!

  14. I had a really nice one and it got dropped onto the mexican tile! Shattered the poor thing! This would be such a blessing! I love to use this, is great for bruising the leaves or ginding them up to get all the wonderful flavor! And gee, going to need this to make all those wonderful rubs!!

  15. I'd love to win one of these. I've just moved and am setting up a whole new kitchen. I can't wait to stock it with useful tools such as this one.

  16. I'd love to have one of these. I have never used one but you just made it a "new necessity" for my kitchen!

  17. When I was in the 7th grade, we had to learn the name of all the equipment in the science lab. Everyone had to make a poster of something in the lab, and I chose the mortar and pestle. Now, 20 years later, the mortar and pestle has come back into my life. I think it's a sign that we're meant to be together. Pick me!

    Also, I agree with milorlz–it's best use is in making guacamole. we didn't get to do that in my science class.

  18. WOO HOO! for Tuesday Treats! My little head is swimming with things I could grind, pulverize and pummel in one of these. A primitive food processor…so cool. :0)

  19. Nick,

    One of my favorites is your broiler tandoori chicken. I own a big green egg grill and cook the chicken in there (turns out great every time). It’s probably as close to a tandoori oven as one can get while on their deck. Have you tried out with lamb?

    One subtle variation ok make to your recipe is using whole coriander which I toast then, you guessed it, crush by hand. I have a small ceramic mortar and pestle but sometimes a larger bowl our coarser grind is more desirable.

  20. An additional benefit of these mortars (according to the book "Born to Run") is that they are a source of dietary calcium!

  21. I’ve been hoping for a mortar as a present for years now but so far no dice. Maybe you’ll come through for me, Nick! Love the blog!

  22. I almost bought myself one the other day at a thrift store…but I had left my wallet at home…boo….so I would really love to have this one…

  23. Nick, welcome to Colorado, and thanks for the continued entertaining and mouth-watering posts. Love that you've discovered Olathe corn and Palisade peaches!

  24. Nick, I have made a ton of recipes from your site and am always excited to see a new post in my email. Thanks a million.

  25. Would love to win – have never owned a mortar & pestle! Thanks fo rthe giveaway

  26. You're so right in that this is something I'm constantly yearning for in the store, but I can never bring myself to spend the money to buy! Thanks for offering it up to a lucky winner!

  27. I would love a mortar-, it would work out well with all the tex-mex cooking I do! Hook me up please!!!!

  28. Oh, I am one of those people who has always wanted a mortar and pestle but never bought one.
    Your heavy one makes sense because you can control the grind more easily and it is handsome enough to sit out. Count me Entered!!!!

  29. You wouldn't believe the number of bowls I've broken trying to use a spoon and bowl to pulverize and mix spices. I have the scarred hands and fingers to prove it. Yes I could use a good mortar and pestle.

  30. This is a kitchen item I would definitely use and have not bought for myself. I think I'd use it mostly for guacamole! The spice cookie recipe sounds intriguing so I look forward to giving it a try.

  31. I've been eyeing up stone mortars and pestles for such a long time now! Molcajete! I would love, love, love to win this!

  32. My girlfriend uses one when grinding coriander. The taste and smell of freshly ground coriander is amazing.

  33. I've been wanting a mortar and pestle for such a long time! Crossing my fingers :) And of course, love your site. Thanks for helping us out in the kitchen!

  34. Oh man, I'd love to win one of these! I've been looking into buying one for a while now, but couldn't find one that I liked!

  35. Your blog is my go-to for new ideas when I'm tired of what I've been cooking – plus I live in DC and used to visit Grand Junction every summer growing up, so it's fun to read about familiar places! Put my my name in the ring, I usually just hammer things out in a baggie when I'm convinced freshly ground is a non-negotiable. :)

  36. I finally broke down and bought a wooden mortar and pestle from Orr's trading company in downtown Grand Junction, and I love it.. i was actually just up the Mesa this past weekend and saw from basalt/lava rock and thought could I make my own??? I would love a great prize like this.
    My recent post Zucchini pickles- success

  37. I'd love to have this! Mine is very small and smooth inside so a big, hunkier one would be nice for bigger jobs! :D

  38. Just last night I put mortar and pestle on my wish list, after a recipe called for freshly ground fennel and I had to do it with a rolling pin. Pain in the butt. I'd love to try the real thing!

  39. It's funny, I use my mom's mortar and pestle a fair amount, but you're right that i wouldn't actually buy one for myself. Certainly wouldn't mind winning one, though…

  40. Oh, to win one of three mortars and pestles
    Deep in color as Harry Potter's thestrals
    I would grind basil in as fine a paste
    While taking care to make no waste

    My food-loving father used this utensil
    To make Indian powders to pack tubes shaped like pencils
    Clearly I have a declining ability to rhyme
    So please, bring a mortar and pestle to me this time!
    My recent post a little breakfast

  41. it would be nice to have a non-china mortar and pestle – fingers crossed – thanks for the giveaway Nick

  42. I have my Mom's porcelain mortar and pestle, unfortunately it has held gum arabic crystals for many years so is not food quality any longer. Many times I regret having used it for artist purposes (although it is perfect for that as well) I would love to win this one, because you are right, it is something you really do not think of buying!

  43. I have a molcajete that I have but I mostly cook in it, a simple mortar would be wonderful! I’ll trade you a mortar for a killer molcajete Mayan cheese recipe….

  44. This is definitely something I've been wanting but haven't bought for myself. I would love one of these!

  45. I could really use one of these– I see them all the time around antique shops or specialty kitchen stores, but have never snagged one. And this one's so attractive…

  46. I want, need, would love, must have one of these beauties. I see chili steak in my future!
    Keep up the great work Nick.

  47. I couldn't miss the contest because I'm here every day. Even when you aren't. Keep up the great, informative blogging fun. I sure do need a mortar and pestle….

  48. Very cool, Nick! I'd love to have a mortar and pestle…we live right next to a retail Penzey's store (such luck!) but still have to shy away from the whole spices because we don't have a dedicated spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. I feel like we're wasting our access to such awesome whole spices!

  49. Just like the immersion blender, the mortar and pestle is something I am lacking in my kitchen. It's a challenge now…will I own the next item you give away??? I thought I had one of everything in the kitchen…apparently I'm lacking a few. I decorate cakes, cater small affairs for friends and family, I can.

  50. such a sturdy and beautiful item. love this primitive stone vessel. nice connection to traditional cultures and the ancients. would be a dream to use!

  51. Tuesday is my new favorite day of the week. Awesome odea and the mortar and pestel is such a great gift.

  52. That would be fun. The last time I used a m&p was last month at my friend's house in Seattle. Group cooking party: he charged me with the task of crushing almonds for a salad dressing (Japanese style dressing: crushed almond paste, white wine, soy sauce). My arms got a workout and the salad was tasty. :)
    Thanks for the great food ideas on your blog!

  53. This is something that I would love to win- as "smokers," we use alot of rubs and are always crushing coriander, carraway, fennel, etc. We also make our own pesto and that's a great idea to use one of those to more finely grind the garlic when it's in the pesto! Thanks!

  54. That is going to look beautiful in my kitchen. And on my lap, while I eat guacamole out of it with a spoon.

  55. Yes, please! I've really been wanting one of these after using one at a friend's place to make pesto to go on some grilled pizzas. I love how the mortar gives the pesto an almost creamy texture.

  56. Aw man, i'm feeling all nostalgic (and hungry) at the sight of this awesome mortar and pestle! My grandpa was a pharmacist and used collect antique mortars and pestles but I've never actually had a functional one. I think i'd fit in my pint size, nyc kitchen just right!

  57. I'm one of the only people in my family who has a mortar and pestle. It's a small glass one that I use solely for whole spices. In fact, I've stopped buying preground spices. Now, reading some of these posts, it seems I've been missing out on some applications for "Ye Olde Mortar." I'd love to get my hands on a larger one and try some of these ideas.

  58. Definitely have been looking at these – keeping my eyes open for a bargain, so winning this would be huge!

  59. My girlfriend had never used one of these in her life before I bought one for her. but sadly, that was just a rinky dink wooden one, barely capable of handling even a cups worth of fine Macheesmo recipes. Help me save her from storebought spice mix!

    And actually, since I've got massive amounts of homemade curry powder to start making, I wouldn't mind borrowing it from her.

  60. I have always wanted to have a good mortar and pestle, but can never find a good quality one that's the right size. This one is perfect, I would LOVE to win it. Thanks so much for the chance!

  61. I would love one of these! My friend got one a few years ago and went through some kind of seasoning process with rice grains, I think? Did you have to do anything like that to yours?

  62. I've never used a mortar and pestle before but have been thinking about getting one for some time. This would be a sweet win!

  63. This is a great giveaway! My dad has one which I love, but you're right, it's something I wouldn't necessarily think to buy. I'm moving to a new apartment with my fiancé soon and we can't wait to have our own kitchen; I'm so excited to go grocery shopping and make the Chili Powder Steak just for him, in our own space!!! Thanks for the recipes, and this post!

  64. It would be GREAT to have one of these mortar and pestles! Occasionally I use a coffee grinder to powder some of my herbs but a mortar would be so much better!


  65. I used one all of the time when I was living in Australia. I haven't bought one yet since I've been back, but its on my list!

  66. I love and look forward to your blog. I'd love to win this stone mortar and pestle. I have a few Thai recipes that I'd like to try and would need this to make it the "right way". Thanks and keep blogging!

  67. I used to play with my parent's mortar and pestle when i was a kid, pretending i was making food for my dolls and toys haha. id love to actually have one now that i know how and what to use it for!

  68. Just this weekend I decided to buy one of these bad boys, and spice up some tacos with a homemade rub!

  69. Love your site, glad you are enjoying CO, it's a great place to live.
    Your mortar and pestle would look nice on my kitchen counter and get alot of use.

  70. I never knew that a morter and pestle was for the kitchen! I have alwys seen it as a chemistry/alchemist thing! Now that I have seen some of your recipies and tried to do a few (slow slow process, with a 6,4 and 2 yr old!) I would love to try out some of the rubs before the weather is too nasty to grill! fingers crossed!

    Have to add that when I saw your blog post title, I thought it was going to be some sort of recipie goodie, food treat, not giveaway treat! :) very new to your site! :)

  71. Molcajete it is. Good for wet mashing and mixing or dry grinding. My Mexican friend has one and I've been wanting one for myself.

  72. I absolutely love going to Mexican restaurants that make guacamole in these. One would be fantastic.

  73. Yahhh, pestle and mortar! I need me one of those. I just started grinding my own seeds and, you're right, the grinder takes seeds down to a dust. Good for most things, but it's also a hassle to clean if you just want a tablespoon of mustard seed, for instance. Great giveaway prize (_8^(I)

  74. I Love mine! I make pesto, grind seeds, dry rubs and a simple garlic/salt thing that goes great with green beans. If I were to win this one, I would gift it to my good friend, who is vegan, or to my sister, who I would teach to use it. No matter what, this is a lovely give-away, and kindhearted of you! xoxo :)

  75. I totally agree that a mortar is something everything needs, but they really don't buy for themselves. That's the reason I don't have one yet!

  76. I always wanted to get myself one of those pretty little things.
    But for some reason I never did. I even registered for one for my
    wedding, nobody ever bought it..
    It’s so perfect for making rubs! I should go and buy one. Finally.

  77. Awesome! Last time I ground some seeds, my tool was an ice cream scooper. This would be a great addition.

  78. I have lusted over those for years and always find a "good" reason to not get one. But if I were to win one…SWEET!!!!

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