Let us guess: Somewhere in your cupboards is an odd jar of mostarda or chutney, a flavored salt or a fruit vinegar. Cool, but what to do? LeeAnn Zubay, who owns ZZest Market and Café in Rochester, can help. Her quarterly magazine/newspaper, Empty the Jar, is full of recipes, photos and other tips for using great ingredients that may not be as familiar as Dijon mustard. Issues have featured a pear and quince mostarda, smoked salt and preserved lemons. Zubay calls the upcoming spring edition the Big Fat Issue, in which "we want to tell everyone it's OK to eat the stuff you have been avoiding. In moderation, of course." ZZest, natch, carries many of these gourmet ingredients, so you can stop in for supper, then shop for the ingredients in that dish you liked. Photographer Mary DaRos is the eye behind this photo-heavy publication that's available for sale at Zzest, 1190 16 St. SW., or you can subscribe online through digital publisher Issuu. Check it out at issuu.com/zzest/docs/emptythejar_2.

First, there was a recipe

Knowing how some cooks like to fiddle with a recipe, Entree Press has a series of cookbooks with places to easily track substitutions, assemble shopping lists, note when you prepared a dish, or give it a rating -- in other words, organizing the info you'd scribble in the margins. Quentin Erickson, a retiree in Lakeville who calls himself a lifelong foodie and recipe collector, said he's always considered a recipe to be "a framework to build upon and to deviate from, to alter and to modify." Erickson's "play with your food" series of books are single-topic: "Only Grilling," "Only Wings," "Only Ribs" and "Only Chicken Breasts." They're $9.95 at www.EntreePress.com and www.Amazon.com, and at Von Hanson's Meats stores and various gift shops in the Twin Cities.

Qui-rious about quinoa?

The year is young, so we're still thinking about eating healthy; the trick is turning those thoughts into habits. One aid may be the classes offered weekly at Mississippi Market in St. Paul this month. Among the featured ingredients are quinoa, bitter greens, bulgur and chia seed. Learn why these are worth adding to your diet, as well as getting recipe tips to prepare them. Visit www.msmarket.coop/events for a full listing of classes, samples and cooking demonstrations.

Belated birthday wishes

Our hobbit story (food from the Shire), which ran Jan. 3, appeared on the day of J.R.R. Tolkein's 121st birthday. Miss it the first time? You can find it here at tinyurl.com/byueoy2.