Round and round with food
It all started when I was asked to one of those kitchen product parties. I had to go, you know, friends and all. So, with Christmas gifts in mind, off I went.
The catalogues and order sheets came after dinner and lots of laughter. Flipping through the pages, I became intrigued and kept going back to one page, one item. Known for overthinking decisions, I requested an extra day or two to “think it over.” I caved and ordered one, making me a member of the unofficial spiralizer gang! Spiralizers cut vegetables (and some fruits) into thick or thin noodles and ribbons. Various brands use vertical or horizontal designs, all with a set of three or more blades. The ones I’ve seen are hand-operated and use no electricity or batteries.
After delivery, a few days of procrastinating and carefully reading and re-reading instructions, I started spiralizing just about every vegetable in the fridge, followed by a trip to the market for more. Some vegetables work better than others, and I know a little more experience will add more. You can create beautiful, healthy dishes that are delicious and appealing, including those vegetables not always on everyone’s edible list. My friend had a different spiralizer brand she loaned me to try as well. I loved the book that came with hers. Mine had good instructions and online assistance with some recipes, however, I want her book or one like it. Both units had pros and cons regarding construction and use. Like all things, they’ll keep improving, which creates additional sales, right?
I learned to follow manufacturers’ hints, tips and basic instructions, including which blades and cooking methods work best for various vegetables and fruits, while including many fresh, uncooked produce ideas for salads, snacks, main dishes and more. Thus began my adventure.
Zucchini noodles are always mentioned in spiralizer talk. I turned this veggie into noodles and ribbons, and then it was on to fettucine- and spaghetti-shaped noodles using yams, russet potatoes, turnips, kohlrabi, jicama, yellow sweet potatoes and more. I laid out a beautiful spiral display and called doubtful Fred to taste my creations.
My discovery? All the shapes and different textures affect taste and appearance, with many surprising results. Fred was impressed with the look of the zucchini ribbons, but it still was old zucchini to him. But wait, he unknowingly tried the zucchini noodles, strategically positioned among all kinds of produce noodles.
“Now, those are really good, what vegetable is this?” he asked.
Ha — I got him, as I did again when he tasted yellow sweet potato, cut with the spaghetti blade and producing an angel hair pasta look.
“Wow, those are really good, whatever they are,” he exclaimed. Keep in mind all these were uncooked. Thus it went with most of the other items. Maybe he’ll like cooked turnip noodles better. He knew russet potatoes and predicted they would be delicious fried. I tossed them with a little bit of oil, and cooked them crisp in a non-stick skillet.
I know a good knife and other kitchen tools and culinary skills can produce many of the shapes, but the spiralizer is quick and easy way to add fun, texture, taste and a new twist on all those vegetables we all need to eat every day. My spiralizer won’t be just a pretty thing on the counter.
Here are a couple of ideas from a couple of friends.
From Marie Granat: “Roger’s Curly Cut, Sprialized Fried Potatoes:”
Peel russet potatoes (or not), cut potato chunks to no more than 4 inches in height and width. Using your ribbon blade, spiralize the potatoes. Marie doesn’t have a deep fat fryer; she uses a deep sauce pan or electric skillet with enough oil and chooses extra light olive oil for frying. Cook until golden brown. Add salt and voila. Palisade Mayor Roger’s Curly Fries.
Jill Fasken has the horizontal-type spiralizer. She uses zucchini noodles in her husband’s favorite curry dish. Sneaky.
For Halloween, how about orange yam noodles with red, spiralized beets on top? And what about spiralized baked yams or sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving?
What’s in your spiralizer book of tricks? Happy Halloween. Happy fall dishes.