The Mastro Newsletter:
Original articles and project ideas for the home chef.
Mastro Company works directly with artists and small-scale producers to cultivate products that will evolve over generations.
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Going au naturel in the wine department isn’t as risqué as it sounds, however you will be liberated and rewarded just the same.
Advancements in technology have changed the face and taste of modern-day winemaking.
Additions such as sugar, cultured yeasts, additives, and even Mega Purple - a wine concentrate - are included at various times throughout the process while impurities and flaws are stripped away by egg whites, dairy, or even a sturgeon's dried swim bladder. These alterations are intended to improve taste, appearance, color, and clarity in your favorite glass of wine.
With a refrigerator full of ready-to-eat salads and vegetables, you’re almost ready for spur-of-the-moment summer meals.
The only things missing are jars of sauces and herbed oils to dress your sandwich or top a platter of grilled vegetables.
Homemade condiments are simple to assemble and don’t require any heat. Usually, they’re a lucky combination of ingredients you already have on hand. And since they keep for a while, you can make them at the start of the week and use them until the weekend rolls around again.
Simple grilled vegetables are a natural make-ahead ingredient in the summertime. They’re easy. Toss a big batch of your most abundant vegetables in olive oil, lay them on the grill, and turn them over (and over again) to make sure every side is lined with char marks. Then enjoy them all week in salads, sandwiches, and scrambles.
But you may find that the sheer quantity of produce begs for innovation. Enliven your bumper crop by turning an eye to the herb garden. Pair your vegetables and herbs mindfully and you’ll enjoy beautiful flavors all week.
Though we won’t reach the solstice for another couple of weeks, summer is all but here, with evening hours stretching to their limits. Enjoy them more, and keep your kitchen cool, with make-ahead salads that can transform your refrigerator into an in-home deli case.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll share promising summer recipes you can prep on a Sunday evening and eat for much of the week. We begin today with cooked grains because they’re some of the best keepers and suited to summer add-ins, despite their wintry associations. Hearty, lesser-known grains are a ready foundation for light, filling summer meals.
Summer side dishes are the comfort foods of outdoor get-togethers. Easy to make, filling, and familiar, a classic potato salad or slaw is just the thing to accompany burgers or hot dogs coming off the grill.
But what if your host is springing for Porterhouse or beef tenderloin? Then it’s time to step up your contribution to the party. Try these alternatives:
Planning for summer entertaining, we’re starting to think about tackling outdoor cooking projects, the ones we always seem to put off until another year. Instead of the typical patio party or barbecue, here are three possible projects, from an ancient cooking method to an all-day, all-out extravaganza:
An orange-laced butter sauce can transform a plate of white fish into an elegant meal for two. A pungent chimichurri can make you scrape your plate.
We may appreciate them when we’re dining out, but many of us skip the sauce in our day-to-day cooking, opting instead for bottled sauces and condiments.
It’s time to roll them into our repertoire, not only to increase our serving options for roasted vegetables and grilled steaks, but to learn the age-old craft of dressing our meals.
Auguste Escoffier, the renowned French chef, designated five essential or “mother” sauces, those he considered indispensable for a variety of dishes, from pot pies to poached eggs.
Mother’s Day gift-giving is usually easy. A bouquet of flowers and a brunch reservation are usually all our moms are looking for.
But to nurture the relationship in a deeper way, tackle a kitchen project together that neither of you would attempt alone. A signature dish takes time and attention, both things that will draw you together. You’ll inevitably have more time to bond as you knead, roll, or pipe—and there will be two of you to do the dishes.
We suggest you start with French desserts. French pastry can be intimidating, which makes it the perfect candidate for a day together in honor of Mother’s Day. And at the end, you’ll have a show-stopping sweet to impress the rest of your family.
To make the dishes of North African cuisine, you may not need to look further than your own spice drawer.
Since North African cuisine has been influenced by a variety of other culinary traditions, many of the spices you keep on hand for Indian, European, and Mediterranean dishes can be combined to create a Moroccan tagine, Ethiopian wat, or b’stilla.
For Earth Day, we think it’s a good time to explore not only where our food comes from, but how its origins are communicated to us when we shop.
As consumers demand more transparency, food labels have only grown more baffling. What are “natural” potato chips? Was that “fresh” halibut previously frozen?
Here are just a few of the most prominent claims and labels you’ll see in the grocery aisles and what they mean.
I originally found this cleaver on a trip to South Korea and a friend quickly dubbed it the “Chicken Killer”. You’ll see it at work in almost every street side restaurant. “Scary fast chicken deboning cleaver” would have been a more accurate if not meandering name.
The original form of this knife is far too crude for most kitchens. With the help of knife-maker Isaiah Schroeder we’ve created a much more refined version.
First in a series of solid Bronze Mortar and Pestles.
Each one is unique and was cast using the lost wax method typically used bronze sculpture and jewelry.
The process is a mix of old and new technologies. We use 3D design software (Solidworks) to turn a concept into a design. Utilizing 3D Printing we create prototypes to further refine the design and work as a foundation for production. Next we use a lost wax method to cast each of mortar and pestle in solid bronze.
Elemental version of the form and finish.
The first in the series retains the most minimal aspects of the design. No patina with a brushed and polished finish.
The absence of color
A black object absorbs all colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes. Second on the series, Black Space is intended to represent the ultimate blank canvas as well as the most complete.
Patina with original cast form.
Second in the series Black Space retains the most minimal aspects of the form. Black patina with polished bronze.
Inspired by Yellowstone' Fountain Paint Pot
The pooled and layered patina of the Fountain Paint Mortar and Pestle was inspired by Fountain Paint Pot, one of Yellowstone’s most striking attractions. This popular area of the park includes hot pools, steaming fumaroles, bubbling mudpots and erupting geysers.
The colors run the gamut from pearly white to deep blues, even orange-red due to the presence and oxidation of minerals. Thermal features that are constantly changing due to hidden forces under ground.
Patina with original cast form.
The exterior patina of our Fountain Paint Mortar and Pestle is applied by hand to the hot bronze. The interior patina of the basin mimics a deep endless pool of blues and reds constantly moving with the light.
When a meteor survives its passage through the earth's atmosphere the part of it that strikes the surface is called a meteorite. All meteorites fall through the atmosphere at such high velocity that some material burns off the exterior. Meteorites that reach the ground have a glassy outer coating called a fusion crust.
Patina with original cast form.
Fourth in the series, Meteorite explores an alternate patina on the original bronze form
Venus has a dense clouded swirling atmosphere and a surface covered in sediment and relatively angular rocks. Scientists were unable to examine of the surface of the planet until 1970s and the development of radar imaging.
At least that’s the version you probably remember. On October 20, 1975 Vanera 9 landed on the surface of Venus and sent back the first images of the planet’s surface. A series of successful satellites launched by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s didn’t seem to make it into the headlines of the time.
Cold worked bronze
After the mortar and pestle is cast and the bronze has cooled, the surface is worked to create the rocky pattern. The bronze is heated again and the patina is applied to the outer surface of the mortar.
Nine to one ratio
The Bronze Age denotes the first period in which eponymous metal was used for tool making. The mixture of nine parts of copper and one part of tin was stronger than copper alone. Copper hammers and tools soon gave way to the new technology.
Physical changes are applied to the mortar(bowl) after casting. Polished pestle and interior surfaces. The exterior will hide its age over centuries.
Inspired by Greek Bronzes and an ancient myth
According to Greek myth, the first artichoke was originally a beautiful young mortal woman named Cynara who lived on the Aegean island of Zinari. One day the philandering Zeus spotted a gorgeous girl, Cynara, bathing on the shores. Impressed by her strength that he instantly fell in love, seduced her and turned her into a goddess.
Cynara was lonesome on Mount Olympus and missed her family. Soon she was sneaking home to visit. When Zeus discovered her defiance, in a fit of jealous rage, he hurled her back to earth and transformed her into the plant we know as the artichoke.
Sculpted directly onto the wax
The exterior of our Greek artichoke Mortar and Pestle is sculpted directly onto the wax form. The wax is cast in bronze and the patina is applied to the hot bronze.
The Geological History of the Isthmus of Panama
“...This is like the Tuyra and Bayano, so far as it consists of numerous radiating tributaries collecting into a single arterial outlet to the sea…” R.T. HIll June 1898
Borrowing a name and a description buried in an obscure academic paper from the late 19th century. A burst of forking channels and radiating textures bound by overlapping circles.
Creating the pattern
Texture is applied directly to the wax form in multiple layers. A simple dark patina is added as a highlight then the bronze is polished smooth.
When a tree starts to heal itself and forgets to stop healing.
A burl is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is usually found on the trunk, in the form of a rounded outgrowth.
Prized for the spectacular grain, texture and colors. Burl holds hidden treasures of unusual design and can be found in in everything from furniture to the dashboard of a Rolls Royce.
Instead of an error
Faceted Burl explores the concept of what might happen if a burl could be programed into a defined shape. A directed mutation.
Recent Press featuring Mastro Company Products
A whipped Goat Labneh recipe from Amy over at What Jew Wanna Eat.
Ashley Marti is a food stylist based in Portland, Oregon. A regular on Instagram with 93.5k followers she is also a collaborating on the Dishing up the Dirt cookbook
Lan Pham has been writing since 2008 on her blog www.morestomach.com. She has traveled extensively and grew up with parents in the foreign service. Her recipes are an eclectic mix of flavors and ingredients. Not to mention some great photography. Check out the recipe she developed for our large Eshelman Casserole dish.
Memorial day post and a terrific picture from @feedmedearly of our end Grain cutting board.
Jessica Fiorillo is a food writer based in New York City. Editor of the @thefeedfeed on Instagram with over 950k followers. She also authors her own blog www.feedmedearly.com