Everyday kitchen gadgets make your job much easier. My favorites are the toys that enable me to get different visual appearances in the food that I prepare. From salads to fancy cheese boards the kind of cut you can make for a different product does a lot for the overall effect. From a simple Crinkle cutter,
to a high end Mandoline slicer, I use several toys on a daily basis. The extra ten minutes you spend in making a different cut makes for a tremendous difference in your finished product.
There are probably boatloads of places on the internet where you can find pages upon pages of everyday kitchen gadgets. The ones that I am listing here are some of the ones that I use almost everyday. Tossed salads come in a number of different flavors. In the catering business the object is always to make food look pretty.So when we send out a salad it has got to look good. Using the fancy “spring mix” salad I add carrots, cucumber, cherry or grape tomatoes, jicama and black olives. Putting it all together to make the best possible presentation.
The carrots are cut on a mandoline slicer using the crinkle cutter to produce a waffle or gaufrette style carrot. The mandoline is the only kitchen gadget that can do this kind of cut, and the process only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Peel the carrots, cut the tip off at a 45 degree angle and run them through the mandoline turning the carrot about a third of the way going left and then right with each slice and you get these cool looking oval waffle slices to add to your salad.
While I still have the mandoline out, I peel a whole jicama and run it through the mandoline to get fine juliennes of white sticks to put on the top of the salad. The skin of the jicama is too tough to use a peeler so I use my favorite fruit knife and cut off the ends and then slice the skin off by following the contour. Next I grate a big pile of sticks on the mandoline and I am finished with that step in less than 10 minutes.
Cucumber these days comes from the supplier with a coating of some kind of wax. That is why they are shiny when you see them in the store. I don’t like that, and I am not sure it is good for you so I get rid of most of it by using my zester. This can be done by carefully holding the cucumber firmly and running the zester down the full length. It will peel through the skin and come off in strings, then roll the cuc slightly and repeat the process until you have scored all of the cucumber. Now you can either slice it with
a knife or use the japanese mandoline to quickly cut it into even slices. A word of caution here! The blade on the “Benriner” is super sharp and it will cut anything that gets near it including your finger or palm. On the plus side it can cut vegetables literally paper thin. If you purchase one, you might want to consider getting a cutting glove to protect you in case you slip.
Today I made a salad that required fresh pears as a garnish. Fruits of this sort tend to oxidize quickly, so to prevent that I used
fresh lemon juice in a small amount of water to coat the pears and keep them white for a much longer time. If you need juice in a hurry the citrus squeezer is the “cat’s meow”, it gets all the juice without the seeds. This little toy is well worth the investment, it gets the juice without the mess.
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Pictures of finished salads are coming so stay tuned.