Friday, September 17, 2010

My Gadget is Just Plane Grate!

A few years ago, I traveled to the mainland for a couple of weeks for work. I spent two weeks near Atlanta, GA, and the weekend I was there I took the train into the city and went to a huge mall. There was a Crate and Barrel store there... which I had never heard of before and have never seen  since. But, as most of you probably already know, it is an immense kitchen store - this one was two stories! I spent a couple of hours in there, checking out all the cool gadgets and linens and appliances and things. It was a foodie geek's heaven... I was glad I was there by myself so I didn't have to cut my time short because someone else was bored! Since I had to travel home by plane, I had to be careful to only buy what would fit in my suitcase. I ended up with only one purchase - a microplane grater.

My trip to Atlanta was in early November, so I was able to use my grater for that year's Thanksgiving preparations. I had so much fun! I added fresh lemon zest to my apple pie (my guests declared it "killer").  I made a ginger-orange sweet potato dish with freshly grated ginger and orange zest that my boyfriend (now husband) couldn't get enough of. Since then, I've found so many uses for my grater that it's the most used utensil in my kitchen.

I probably use it most often to grate hard cheeses-parmesan or romano- for topping pasta, pizza or rice pilaf.

It's also great for zesting citrus fruits for baking. I love to add lemon or orange zest to muffins, cakes and pies.

I grate fresh ginger for marinades, sauces and dressings.

Here is the recipe for my orange-ginger sweet potatoes that my honey loves so much. (First, a disclaimer. I don't eat sweet potatoes. Or pumpkins, squash, carrots, yams or any other orange vegetable. In any form or recipe, they are unfit for human consumption - at least Lorie consumption. So I can't really comment on this recipe. But my family and friends who eat orange stuff love this one.)
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oven rack in middle position. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork, and roast in preheated oven until easily pierced with a fork, 1 to 1½ hours. Can do this step up to 2 days prior to serving. Remove skins and store covered in refrigerator until ready to continue.

Lower oven temp to 375°F. When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Add the orange zest, ginger, and egg; use a mixer or hand masher to make a smooth mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the orange juice and milk; if desired, add more orange juice to taste. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with pecans. Bake in preheated oven until heated through and pecans are toasted, about 30 minutes.


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