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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So You Had To Have A Mandolin Hey? Now What???

Mandolins are a culinary piece of equipment that have been around for years. They are magnificent in their efficiency but can be intimidating to use. I have put together a little list of uses for that slick gadget as well as a couple recipes to follow.
Tupperware has just released an amazing mandolin that you can purchase only if you host a party!
Here is the user guide to make each precise cut:
So once you get one - here are some great uses for this kitchen must have:

• Trimming fingernails if you are foolish enough not to use the finger guard – rest assured, you will only make this mistake once! A friend of mine who is a chef recommends using a Kevlar Glove (search online or any store that sells Hardware Supplies like Lee Valley Hardware/Home Hardware etc – average around $20 but are totally worth the investment). It will give you much more control of your slicing and also allow for less waste. The gloves are machine washable and usually come in a pair (reversible for either hand) so you will always have one available when the other one is in the wash! It will change your Mandolin experience from ho-hum to spectacular!!! (On a side note – these are also a must for oyster shucking!!!)
• Slicing Onions tissue paper thin for soups (Wonton, French Onion, or Pho) or salads (Greek, Marinated Onion Salad, House), as well as for Pizza Toppings – plus + no more tears.
• Great for perfect consistency for Caramelized Onions as a side dish. Perfect consistency means consistent cooking rate.
• Potatoes Au Gratin or Scallop Potatoes.
• Slicing pears or apples for a salad with goat cheese, spinach, nuts and a vinaigrette or for a fruit tart like Pear & Gorgonzola Tart.
• Good for making potato crisps or to slice ribbons out of any firm vegetable like zucchini to dip in a batter and fry or grill.
• Easy to julienne carrots or cucumber for summer rolls or sushi.
• Baked Apple Chips, Sweet Potato Chips, Zucchini Chips, or Beet Chips for a healthy snack!
• Great for slicing cucumbers for pickles – uniform slices present perfect pickle presentation – say that 10 times!
• Slicing cucumbers for tea/finger sandwiches, pinkies up!
• Shaving fennel or beets for salads, cabbage for making sauerkraut.
• Ribbons of summer squash that you can quickly blanch to add to pasta dishes

Potatoes Au Gratin
Slice about 4 large potatoes (skin on or off – up to you – I leave it on because I like the look!) and 1 large onion, thinly sliced…with your mandolin
Layer, alternating potatoes and onions, in stack cooker if preparing in the microwave or ultra pro if using the oven.
Mix 1 tub of sour cream with 1 tsp. garlic seasoning (I use Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning from Costco), 11/2 cups – 2 cups of milk, 1 cup grated cheese, salt and pepper.
Pour over the top layer of potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with one more cup of shredded cheese.
If baking in the oven – approximately 45 mins or 15 mins in the stack cooker in the microwave.

Baked Apple Chips
2 small apples
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a wire rack with cooking spray and place in a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently.
Using the mandolin, slice apples to 1/16 inch thick slices.
Quickly before they start to brown, place apple slices in the boiling sugar mixture. Turn heat down to a simmer. Cook apples, stirring often, until translucent and syrup start to thicken, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from heat and quickly remove apples from syrup 1 at a time using tongs and place flat on wire rack set inside the jelly roll pan. Discard excess syrup.
Bake apple slices 10-15 mins, or until golden. Transfer to lightly greased wax paper. They will feel soft at this point but will crisp up as they cool.
Optional For Apples: Sprinkle with Tupperware Vanilla Cinnamon Seasoning
Optional For Sweet Potatoes or Beets: Sprinkle with fresh cracked sea salt
Optional For Zucchini: Sprinkle with paprika & sea salt - paprika not only adds flavour but helps to boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite, and lower your blood pressure - according to the people in the know!

Summer Rolls
Serves 16
Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Summer rolls:
2 heads Boston lettuce
3 carrots
4 scallions, including 3 inches of green
16 rice paper wrappers (spring roll)
32 fresh mint leaves
32 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 red bell peppers, julienned

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp.chili paste
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. water
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 fresh red Thai Chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced, optional
Sriracha sauce, for garnishing, optional

Rinse lettuce and pat dry. Do not use center ribs and leaves. Set lettuce aside. Peel carrots with Universal Peeler. Cut carrots, scallions, and bell pepper into julienne pieces, using Chef Series™ Pro Chef's Knife. Dip a rice paper into a bowl of water for 5 seconds. Shake off excess and place on Simply Perfect™ Pastry Sheet. Place several lettuce leaves on the bottom third of the rice paper; top with carrots, scallion, bell pepper, mint and cilantro leaves. Fold the bottom of the rice paper up over the vegetables. Fold in the sides and then roll up. Repeat with remaining wrappers and vegetables. Keep rolls covered with a damp paper towel until serving time. Arrange on serving platter and serve rolls with dipping sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
Heat the oil in the Chef Series™ 8"/ 20 cm Open Nonstick Fry Pan and, when hot, add the garlic and Chili paste, and cook until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add the peanut butter and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before serving. Serve in small bowls, garnished with the peanuts, sliced chilies and optional hot sauce. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Happy slicing my friends!!!