(c) 2001, by Nomi Shannon, The Raw Gourmet*
Unlike the musical instrument of the same name, this mandoline is used in the kitchen. Mandolines are useful for rapidly producing multitudes of thin slices and julienne strips. Most professional chefs use them. The original version which sells for $250 US dollars or more- is made of stainless steel and has several attachments. They have sharp scary blades that have been the cause of many a kitchen accident. Finally, after a long search, I have found a mandoline that is safe, easy to use, versatile and affordable for the home chef.
Many people ask me what on earth is a mandoline and what is it used for? Actually there are several types of home version mandolines, although none are as versatile or as safe as my mandoline-plus. The common V slicer is a type of mandoline. So is the orange and yellow contraption sold at country fairs -the kind with a straight blade and a cumbersome safety holder. Making juliennes with the country fair version is especially hazardous. I have owned and used them all. I even went so far as to mention on page 193 of my book that using a mandoline is not for the average home cook because of the danger.
Well, things have changed now that I have found the mandoline-plus. First of all, safety first! The mandoline -plus protects your hand with a flat safety accessory that sticks into any type of vegetable or fruit that you are cutting (unlike the old ones that don't seem to work on anything), and limits the amount of waste. The blade is adjustable for thin and thinner, the thickest slice being about 1/4 inch thick. I use this for making perfect long slices of zucchini or eggplant for lasagne and other tasty recipes. No machine or hand slicing can do what this does (well, maybe one of those huge meat slicers that you find at deli counters- the kind that slices balogna and cheese, remember?) Another feature I really like is the container that neatly catches the food. What a pain in the neck it is to pick the newly sliced stuff up from the counter or cutting board and move it to where you want it. Of course you can also use it without the container. You can see me slice with the mandoline in my videos-(without the container so you can see the beautiful job it does.)
Then there is the julienne feature. There are three simple attachments that create jullienne slices from the thinnest imaginable (as thin as the angel pasta that the saladacco makes, only not long), then there is what I would call a generous matchstick size and finally a thin french fry size. All very useful for a variety of recipes. A good example of the mid-size julienne can be seen on page 104 in my book. Finally as if the various thicknesses of slices weren't enough, and three sizes of julienne, the bottom of the container functions as a nifty grater. This is a handy item to own. Good for RV'ing and second homes too where multi-task kitchen items are so important.
Still not meant for a child because of the sharp blades, I feel comfortable selling this mandoline because of the superior safety features. You can even raise one section up above the level of the blade so you can't cut yourself when reaching for it while stored away.
People ask me which should they buy, the mandoline or the saladacco (spiral slicer).
The answer is they are very different from one another. The saladacco is unique as it makes the long, long strands of angel hair pasta sized 'spaghetti' (this is very thin strands) out of zucchini, carrot, beet, parsnip, squash and all the other hard vegetables. Cheap mandolines are sold in many kitchen gadget stores. None as safe or as versatile as this one, however. If I could only buy one item right now, I would start with the saladacco. If you find that you make thin slices often, or entertain a lot, or would like to add julienne slices to your repetoire, then you are ready for the mandoline plus.
Just for being so sweet about reading all the way down to here, here is a recipe for you that uses the mandoline. Slice up a bunch of zucchinis, the long way. They should be just a bit thicker than the thinnest possible slice you can make. Spread a very thin coat of Sunny Pate or other pate on one side of the long zucchini strip. Place strips in dehydrator at 105 or so. When the zucchini has become soft and pliable from the dehydrator (2-4 hours), then roll each one up and secure with a toothpick. You will need to take out every other tray to accommodate the height of the roll-ups. (This will work out fine, fill all the trays with the long strips, with shrinkage from dehydrating and the smaller space rollups take, it will all work out.) Now dehydrate the rollups until they are quite hard and dry. (They can be stored overnight tightly sealed.) Serve as an appetizer at a "cocktail" type party, or bring them camping or travelling. Caveat 1: be sure they are really dry or they won't keep. Caveat 2. Don't let people eat too many, in no time at all one can consume the equivalent of 2-3 zucchinis and a lot of pate. They will feel full and uncomfortable and never come to your house for dinner or a party again, thinking that you are a bad cook. These were a huge hit at Thanksgiving a few years ago, 45 people were at that party (what was I thinking?)
There is a wonderful recipe for lasagne under recipes at this site. I use the mandoline for that-it comes out so well when all the slices are uniform, and guess how long it takes to slice up a gazillion zucchinis for a crowd? About 1/10th the time it would take to hand slice them. Maybe 1/20th.
So, that is the mandoline story. Go to saladacco on my site for the saladacco story. Go to video for the video story. In my three videos, I use the mandoline, the saladacco, a juicer, a blender, a food processor, and knives so you can see all this food creativity in action. That's what The Raw Gourmet is all about: showing you all the tricks you need to know to simplify and enjoy eating the healthiest way on the Planet. Bon Apetit!
Prices: Mandoline-Plus 47.50
Other prices listed at order
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*This article is written and copyrighted by Nomi Shannon, also known as The Raw Gourmet. Use of any part of this article on the internet or in any other manner is illegal and immoral. The Raw Gourmet does not look kindly upon plagiarism. Use of this article for information purposes by individual consumers is perfectly acceptable.
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