I’m a kitchen gadget junkie. I long ago banned myself from Bed Bath and Beyond, Sonoma-Williams and Sur La Table. It is amazing how I walk into one of those places and suddenly I can’t live without some gadget I didn’t even know existed a minute ago.
I have a whole drawer of irresistible (and expensive) gadgets that I never use. Your basic waste of time and money. They sound good, but are hard to figure out and a nightmare to clean. BUT, every now and then, I stumble across some little, cheap gadget that makes life a whole lot easier. My latest find is the Adjust-A-Slice Mandoline. Picked it up at TruValue for the vast sum of $17.00.
I love this thing. It is easy to use – just lay it over a bowl, adjust the width and start sliding the food over the blade. Nothing complicated about it! It is not only simple to use, but a breeze to clean! You can even put it in the dishwasher.
I love how wide and sharp it is! It even cuts things like beets! If you use it over a bowl, it stays stable because there are ridges on the side that keep the slicer flat and in place. And because the blade is angled you can grasp the handle and hold it steady with one hand while using the other to slide the food over the surface and still get perfect slices.
It slices almost anything – cucumbers, carrots, onions, squash, radishes, green peppers and string beans. Three width adjustments give you the ability to cut thin for things like cucumbers and radishes to thick for things like beets and string beans. There is a handy little holder to use if you’re worried about slicing your fingers. David doesn’t like it. I am neutral.
We have an amazing number of cucumbers in the garden this year. We have given them away, eaten them and there is only thing one thing left that makes sense – make pickles. The idea of slicing 8 cucumbers sounded like a lot of work and I wasn’t to keen on the idea. But David prevailed and using the Mandoline it took all of 5 minutes to reduce all the cucumbers to nice even slices.
No excuses left, so I made the pickles. David and I agree that they pickles taste like Claussens only better. Here is the method:
- Make the Brine in a bowl or large measuring cup
- 1 and 1/2 cup white organic distilled vinegar*
- 1 Tablespoon of dill seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of mustard seed
- Put kettle on to boil
- While waiting for the water to boil prepared the cucumbers in a bowl by mixing:
- 2 large sliced cucumbers
- Dill weed (either 3/4 cup fresh or 4 Tablespoons dried)
- Garlic to taste
- Once you have boiling water you add more things to the brine and stir until the salt and honey are dissolved
- 1 1/2 Cup boiling water
- 3 Tablespoons of Kosher or Canning Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Honey
- OPTIONAL: Pickling spice
- Once you are sure that everything is dissolved throw in a cup of ice and let the ice melt
- Once the ice is melted pour the entire mixture over the cucumbers Make sure that all the cucumbers are covered; I put a heavy plate on top of the cucumbers as a weight
- Let the bowl sit on the counter for 24 hours to marinade
- The pickles are ready to eat at this point. You will want to transfer them to jars or airtight containers of some sort and store in the fridge. They will easily be good for a month or so
We now have 7 jars of refrigerator pickles. There were eight on Sunday night, but one is already gone.
Kudos to the people at Progressive International for a simple, effective and inexpensive kitchen tool. I am so impressed that I have ordered a grater. Will let you know how it works .
*We tried one batch with apple cider vinegar instead of white distilled vinegar. David likes that batch. I do not! They are way to vinegary and stinky for my taste. You can use either kind of vinegar depending on your taste buds.