Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.
Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Microplane Classic Zester/Grater. I love this tool and use it often in my cooking. The way I ended up with this is a friend who has helped with some of our workshops brought one to us as a gift.
My response was, I have always just used a small grater for zesting, her response was simply try this and you won’t use anything else.
Well she was dead on! The three primary things I use this for are grating hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, zesting rinds of citrus like limes, lemons and oranges and finely grating large spices like nutmeg.
These are all almost like cheat codes in the kitchen. Here are two examples…
- Slice up some peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and carrots and slice a big handful of green onion on the bias (that just means slanted) now add olive oil to a pan, season your veg with salt and pepper. Saute the carrots for a minute or two, then add peppers and mushrooms and saute for about 3 more minutes, then toss in zucchini for about one minute. Then shut off heat and add most of the green onions and stir in and serve. Most would be happy, here comes the cheat codes!
When you start out also grate up finely some ginger and garlic and lime zest. Add these when you add the peppers and mush rooms. Then when you serve the dish, top with the reserved green onion and grate a small amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. The first dish is good, the second is great and it only takes about 2 minutes of extra time to make it happen.
- Next one, take a whole chicken and cut the back bone out of it with something like these shears. While you are at it cut the wing tips off and reserve those. Flatten the chicken out and rub with oil, then season both sides with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Par boil some potatoes, build a bed in a roasting pan with the potatoes, an onion chopped coarse, some carrots and celery. Place bird on veggies and roast in oven at 425 till chicken is done.
While roasting boil chicken back, wing tips, neck, heart and liver with salt, pepper, celery and carrots to make a stock. Do this in about 4 cups of water and add about 1-2 tsp of Better than Bullion Chicken base to it. Strain stock and make it into a gravy with a flour and butter roux. Serve chicken and veggies with gravy and enjoy a great meal!
Cheat codes, use zester when you are getting the chicken ready, and zest 2 lemons and 4 cloves of garlic, rough chop some fresh basil and parsley, mix thyme and rosemary with basil, parsley garlic and lemon to make a paste. Gently separate the skin and stuff this paste in between the skin and meat under the breast and thy skin use about 75% of the paste this way. Oil and season chicken as before, but rub remaining past on it along with the oil. Place on veggie bed and squeeze lemons on top of chicken and veg. With a little fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and proper use of this tool, you have gone from good meal to gourmet dinner.
There are so many ways to use this tool, just adding lime zest to your stir fry in addition to the customary ginger, garlic and chili is big boost in flavor for instance. Zest a bunch of lemons, put in jar with vodka and allow to soak for bout a week, then strain out the zest and mix with 50% of the volume of simple syrup (equal amounts of sugar and water), you have high proof Limoncello at a fraction of the cost at a store.
Heck take some dark chocolate and zest it over that desert you are so proud of and take it to another level in appearance alone, not to mention taste.
One big thing is how well this tool shines at zesting citrus. The key with citrus zest is you want all color and no white pith. The colored part is teaming with flavor and amazing oils, the white pith is bitter. This tool does an amazing job of taking off the part you want and leaving the rest behind. So check out the the Microplane Classic Zester/Grater and for under 9 bucks you can take your cooking to another level! For more ideas on using this tool, tune in to today’s show.
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