Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Using the Mandoline Slicer

The goal tonight was knife skills practice. I had purchased a mess of potatoes, onions and a few tomatoes to work with. There's a big bag of carrots in the fridge, too, so that will be in a day or two. But, I got distracted by our Oxo Mandoline slicer. Yes, seeing one in use on last week's Top Chef encouraged me.

Ever since we got ours as a wedding present (after coveting the Steele's for months), I have never been able to get very effective use out of ours. It just seemed difficult to use. To be fair, I'd never practiced using it - I just gave it a shot when I was actually preparing a meal. So, there was no room for error or playing around. It probably also wasn't helping that after every attempt, I cleaned it by putting the blade in the dishwasher, dulling it every time.

So, I tried sharpening the primary flat blade on my new whetstone tool by pulling it out and treating it like a knife. That seemed to help a whle lot.

Also, I'd had problems before on the back part of the veggie in question not getting a clean separation at the end. A quick firm stroke with a full follow through really helped that - I started getting clean cuts all the way through.

The texture of tomatoes seemed to require a small twist at the end of the stroke to work through the tougher outer skin. I got a series of perfect hamburger slices, which I then chopped by hand to use in the Red Lentil Dal later this week.

I then washed a 5 lb bag of potates and went to it. These came out very nicely. I went for a thin slice at first, ~1/8". After a few of those, I dialed it down as thin as it could go, which also worked well. Not quite paper thin. I'll use these in a Potates Gorganzola Gratin later, too. Channing usually isn't a fan of potatoes, but tried these at Taste of Heaven last week and liked them. Cheese conquers all, I guess.

I tried julianning and the wavy side of the blade. What I can't figure out is how on earth you get waffle fries out of this thing. I'll have to look that up.

So, I'm feeling a lot more confident with this tool. I've got a LOT of potatoes to eat now, though.

No comments: