This month’s hacks come to us from Alice Waters, chef, author and proprietor of the world-renowned restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. She’s an American culinary pioneer whose philosophy maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients produced sustainably and locally.

My Tip: The Daily Grind

I use my mortar and pestle every single day. It’s something a lot of people don’t think of, but it is so great at doing so many things. I love making vinaigrette in mine: I pound garlic to a paste along with salt, then add herbs, lemon juice, vinegar and spices—all within the mortar and pestle. I also use it to make homemade hummus (crush the fresh garlic and salt, then add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini and so forth).

The mortar and pestle give you this wonderful texture that’s not blended or completely puréed in the way you get with food processors. Instead you get a really natural and unique consistency without completely emulsifying everything. Bonus: The mortar works as a beautiful serving dish as well, so you don’t even have to transfer the final results to another dish.

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