By Sarah Blackburn
When pizza enthusiast and avid home cook Andris Lagsdin opened his copy of Modernist Cuisine and read Nathan Myhrvold’s treatise on steel as the best conductor of heat, and therefore the best tool to make a perfect crust, he had a Eureka! moment: his employer, a family-owned Stoughton-based steel company, could supply the steel and he could design the perfect addition to any home cook’s oven. He was right: the Baking Steel makes crusts infinitely crispier than a pizza stone, with that gorgeous char that up until now was only possible from a high-temperature, professional pizza oven. But the heavy-duty steel does so much more than just great crust. Use it on your stove top as a flat-top griddle, like a Spanish plancha, for searing shell-on shrimp or steaks, roasting peppers, or making homemade naan bread. Or bring it outside to your kettle grill for smoky, wood-fired pizzas. Baking Steel version 2.0 is in production now for a summer release, complete with a grease channel so you can cook drippier things without a mess (read: burgers, pancakes, anything with a sauce). Available at bakingsteel.com/shop and surlatable.com for $79-$115 depending on size.
This summer, serve your grilled meats or local cheeses on a beautiful, handcrafted wooden cutting board from Boston HandyWorks. Based in the Pine Street Inn, BHW acts as a practical training program for men moving through homelessness and into the workforce, helping them regain their economic self-sufficiency. All proceeds from the sale of these gorgeous boards, with seven styles and sizes to choose from, go to fund the education program, helping men learn skills and rebuild their lives. Made from raw maple and cherry wood, these boards are not only elegant and useful, but you’ll feel good about supporting such a good cause. Purchase yours through the website: bostonhandyworks.com. Boards are $19-$85, depending on size.