Monday, February 23, 2009

Name that tool

When Chuck and I decided to make our own sausages, I thought we had some of the major equipment we would need. I was positive there was a grinder that my Grandmother Helen had used in a box in the closet, along with an antique shoe last and her cast iron apple peeler. When I went to the box however, to my great surprise, it wasn't a grinder. It was instead this mysterious tool. Can you guess what it is?
We knew it was for cutting vegetables. I thought it was probably the hand precursor of a food processor, Chuck thought it was a kraut cutter. It has four barrels with different cutting blades; a grater, one that looked like it would cut ripple slices, a shredder that looked like a series of little mouths with teeth, and one with just a large straight edge.

We decided to make slaw. We had a small head of red cabbage, a stored carrot, and an onion. We could have done it with that, but I gave into the urge and bought an out-of-season and non-local red pepper, and two out-of-season and non-local zucchini.

We experimented with all the different blades. The shredder was perfect for the carrot- the beautiful, fine pieces of carrot that filled the barrel were amazing.
The grater barrel was perfect for the zucchini, and the large flat blade cut the cabbage into lovely chunks. Next time I will try the shredder on the cabbage. We cut the onion and the pepper by hand- we tried the pepper on several blades, but it was too soft and just mushed. And we don't like the taste onions get when they are cut mechanically. Too many cells are crushed and sulpher compounds are released.

The vegetable mixture was gorgeous. We used half of it that night as slaw. I like a sweet, non-creamy slaw so we used a commercial poppy seed dressing and added some crumbled, crispy fried bacon into it. The rest of the vegetable mixture was saved for a stir fry and a lentil soup made later in the week.

We also used the tool to cut sweet potato chips. I love sweet potatoes any way they are prepared, but I hate to try to cut them for fries or chips. This was quick, easy and efficient, and the chips were incredibly thin. Drained on a paper towel after frying, they were practically greaseless. In the photos, the fried chips are on a paper towel

By the way, the shoe last and the apple peeler did not undergo a transformation- they were still a shoe last and an apple peeler.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Hey, this is beautiful! I am so impressed, and wish I could trade you Rob's antique french-fry cutter...