Stretching Food With a Mandolin
This is a Japanese mandolin. It is not a musical instrument. It is a food slicer.
Mine isn't this fancy. I got mine from a carnival barker at the Los Angeles County Fair who was giving them away with the purchase of kitchen knife sets. He gave it to me because I kept him in hot lunches while we were working there. I kept an igloo cooler and a hot plate behind my booth, so I wouldn't be tempted to leave my work station to buy over-priced but tempting-smelling fair foods.
ANYway, this device is a great food stretcher. I make my own potato chips and fries with it. I julien vegetables and cheeses.
But its best function is as a meat stretcher.
Last month, I bought a ham. Not a good ham, made from a real pig leg, but I bought one of those "particle board" hams.
You know, where they glue pork scraps together under pressure, shoot it full of salted water, shrink wrap it? Looks like a football? I
cut a section off the ham, no wider than the mandolin blade. I have to remove the skin, because it catches in the mandolin. But I feed that to the cats and dog as a treat. I thinly slice the ham. I end up with rectangles, 2 inches wide, about 4 inches long, and about a quarter inch or less thick.
These can be fried like bacon. They can be chopped into omlettes. They're good for sandwiches and ham salad (with mayonaise, mixed vegetables, lettuce or cabbage, pickles, hard boiled eggs and either pasta or rice). They're fantastic laid over a baked potato which has been stuffed with either butter, sour cream, cheese, or chili and warmed in the microwave.
I can make a five pound ham last several months this way.
And the ham only costs about a dollar or less per pound, on sale, which is the ONLY way, of course, I'll buy one!
The mandolin works on poultry, too. It sometimes works on beef, depending on the cut of meat.
I can jullien meats for french bread pizzas, pasta salads, casseroles, soups....just about anything.
As I rarely eat meat as a main course, but use it to flavor othe foods, the mandolin gives me evenly-cut pieces which are small. Julliened strips can, of course, be cross-cut to make small dices.
I unscrew my mandolin's blade from time to time and sharpen it. It's hardened steel, and gets sharp as a razor.
I wash and dry my mandolin and its slicing blades immediately after use. I don't want rust.
And I always handle the foods I'm slicing with the little "handle" that came with the mandolin. It's very sharp and I don't want to cut myself.
The mandolin makes fast work of any firm vegetable. It's not too good for tomatoes; it's too easy to apply too much pressure and squish them. But, for celery, carrots, potatoes, jicama, turnips, cucumbers and many other vegies, the mandolin is wonderful.
And the mandolin doesn't use up electricity, like a food processor does.
posted by Rogi # 11/2/2003 09:18:13 AM
Arts & Crafts