Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ribbons & slice, spirals & dice ...


... these are just a few of the things made easy with the Joyce Chen Asian Mandoline Plus and Spiral Slicer. I had hoped to do a showdown of sorts between the two, documenting it all in pictures, but as you can read in a recent post on my blog, my "plans" didn't quite go "as planned." Instead, I decided to share two simple spa-inspired recipes made using both of these tools sold on the Natural Zing website.

You see, my friend Becky and her son Leo had come for a visit the other day to help me sample some natural beauty recipes from a book I was reviewing, in addition to testing out the mandoline and slicer. I should have known that completing both tasks with two tots in tow would prove to be an even bigger challenge than the one between the two cutting tools.

I managed to test them out while making a spa water recipe and beet-wrapped melon snack, fitting for the theme of the day. Thank goodness I took some pics then, as the lighting was terrible later in the evening. That's when I finally got the chance to run some other produce through these gadgets.

Besides, I never would have had room in this post to give a true visual of all that these little guys (they'll easily fit into any kitchen, no matter what the size) can do. Just check out the pics on the side of the mandoline box to get an idea.

The mandoline comes with a variety of interchangeable blades (be careful changing them, as they are small and very sharp) for slicing (there is a knob to adjust the thickness and as a safety precaution when not in use; don't forget to use the finger guard when you are slicing, especially when you are getting dangerously close to the end) and creating different strip sizes (chop across these and you have a dice). The smallest one reminds me of straight noodles.

If curly noodles are more your thing (like the ones in this recipe), than I recommend making them in a spiral slicer. Although I already have another bulkier model (it's good, too), I do like this one's compact size and ease of use. Just pop your produce of choice, whether it be onion (probably not the best idea for noodles, though), cucumber, sweet potato, zucchini, turnip, daikon radish, carrot, potato, apple, etc., (make sure it fits the size requirements) onto the center of the device, lock on the top, lower the handle so the holder prongs are firmly attached to your produce and turn the crank one way for spiral slices and the other for ribbons (like the beets in this post). Rather than changing blades, you only have to switch a lever to the right or left.

Now I have read some complaints about the amount of fruit or veggie left at the end of the process, but as you can see, it really isn't all that much, in my opinion. I just snacked on what was left, while I made the following recipes. I also noted that this particular model has a stainless steel shaft, so you know it is the real deal (from what I understand, there are some imitators that are entirely plastic).

In the end, I had fun running various fruits and veggies through both. They are definitely time savers, including the fact that they are easy to clean, too.

They definitely came in handy while making spa recipes yesterday (I've never sliced lemons so perfectly and quickly), along with this simple snack and refreshing beverage. Finally, I can relax. Enjoy!

Spa-like Lemonade
*This version of spa water tastes like a jazzed up lemonade without the refined sugar. The sweetness comes from the apple ... and the fact that using these tools makes the prep process more relaxing.
  • Organic lemons (the rind is included in this one)
  • Organic apples (I kept the skin on them, too)
  • Fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • Filtered or spring water
Thinly slice lemons, using a mandoline. Add to the bottom of a glass pitcher and/or individual drinking glasses.

Using a spiral slicer, thinly slice apples into ribbons. Add to the lemons in the pitcher and/or glasses. The lemons will help maintain the apple's color, while the apples sweeten the lemony taste.

Next add fresh sprigs of rosemary and fill the pitcher and/or glass with water. Chill to allow flavors to combine.

Beet-wrapped Melon with Mint
*This recipe is inspired by the classic melon and prosciutto pairing. Spiralized beets are flexible enough to wrap around the melon in place of the meat.
  • Cantaloupe and/or honeydew melon (I used 1/2 of each)
  • 1 medium or large beet, peeled
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste
  • Bunch of fresh mint leaves
Using a spiral slicer, thinly slice beets into ribbons. Squeeze lime juice over top and sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.

Use a melon-baller to scoop out/shape melon. Place a bit of mint leaf on top of each melon ball and wrap with a piece of marinated beet ribbon (just tear off a small slice for each melon ball). Arrange on serving plate and garnish with lime slices and and mint leaves. Serve.

*****

Shannonmarie, a.k.a. "Rawdorable," also posts on her blog of the same name, http://rawdorable.blogspot.com/.

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