“ Brand: Zyliss / Type: Grater „
I hadn't eaten carrot salad for many years because the gadget I needed to grate the carrots with had stopped working and was binned. When I wanted to boil carrots, I didn't have problems, I could use a knife. It took some time to cut the hard, raw carrots into thin slices, but it was doable.
I'm using the past tense here because I decided at last to buy a new gadget. I looked here and there, decided against a mandolin (What an odd term!) slicer which you hold inclined in one hand moving the vegetable you want to cut up and down the metal slicers. You always get a thingy with spikes with it with which you can keep the vegetable in place, but before you know it you've cut your fingertips nevertheless. I'd rather condition my salad with oil and vinegar and not with blood. I also decided against an electric gadget. Most electric kitchen gadgets are expensive and superfluous knickknack. Electric apple peelers, eh? Everybody can turn a handle or move their hands a bit, can't they?
I found a cheap gadget which looked as if it was perfect, but it wasn't. Pieces of vegetables got stuck in the knives and the cuttings didn't fall into the container underneath as they should do according to the instruction leaflet but splattered all over the surface I was working on. I'm mentioning this here to warn you not to be stingy. When I took it back to the shop, the shop-assistant only rolled her eyes. She was not surprised at all when I told her that the thing was crap. She said, "Of course, I shouldn't say anything against the shop I'm working in but...."
When I saw the Zyliss Nut & Vegetable Grater in a different shop, I thought my search had come to an end. Due to a nasty incident with a Swiss train conductor years ago I have no positive feelings towards the Swiss. I have the preconception, however, that their products are of good quality (the legendary army knife!). In the early 1950s a Swiss bicycle mechanic named Zysset developed fruit juicers and garlic presses. Since then the firm has created more than 100 kitchen tools (from Amazon.com) "each backed by a good idea executed in a smart, straightforward, and functional way." Amazon sell the Zyliss Nut & Vegetable Grater for 29.81 GBP.
The Nut & Vegetable Grater is made of white plastic and consists of four parts which are easy to assemble, dissemble and clean. The body is 18 cm high and stands on a square base of 7.5 x 7.5.cm. You put it on a clean, smooth surface and move a small lever just above the base to the back and then the whole thing stands firm. When the shop-assistant showed me this simple mechanism, I was impressed. What a good idea. Unfortunately, I was a bit foggy-brained when it came to the rest of the contraption. I should have noticed the small opening at the top, 4.5 x 4.2 cm, into which the vegetables you're going to slice are inserted. Carrots are rarely thicker but cucumbers are rarely as small as this, at least not German ones. That means that you have to quarter them before inserting them. With so much preparation beforehand you wonder if you shouldn't slice them by hand as well and not use the slicer at all.
Please mind the measurement 4.5 x 4.2 cm. This is the most idiotic thing the designer responsible for this gadget could think of. The opening looks like a square but isn't one. There's a kind of lid you put on the vegetable so that you can press it down onto the metal drum. At the beginning you can use your fingers to do this but when the vegetable becomes shorter, you use this plastic lid. You can be sure to put it into the opening the wrong way because you can't see the difference of 3 mm at a glance. Well, at least I can't. And then it gets stuck and you have to wrench it out! I'm now going to make a sexist remark: I'm sure the designer was a man who never does anything in the kitchen. I simply can't imagine a woman who uses graters at home to design something like that. There are other examples round the house where one can't but wonder. Windows in staircases high up in the walls! You can't put a ladder on the staircase to clean them from inside and you don't have a crane at hand and are not a mountaneer with climbing gear to clean them from outside. So you never clean them.
But that's not the topic here. Back to the grater. In the middle of the body is a round opening. You put one of the three metal drums in depending on what you want to grate or cut, a metal pin at the back of the bottom of the drum is stuck through a hole and then you screw the handle onto it from the other side. When you've finished, you hold the drum so that it can't move and turn the handle backwards. It then opens and you can dissemble the grater. The drum with the smallest holes is for grating hard cheese, almonds, nuts or breadcrumbs. The coarse grater with bigger holes is for grating carrots, beetroots, cabbage, celery, cucumbers and fruit. The slicing drum is for carrots, cucumbers, radishes, potatoes, onions and soft cheese. The grating as such is OK if you forget everything I've said above.
Maybe you've wondered what carrot salad is. It may be a speciality from Saxony, I learnt it from my mother. Now I live in a different part of the country and nobody knows it here. It tastes good and is healthy. I think you know that raw carrots are good for the eyes. After all nobody has ever seen a rabbit with glasses.
Grate carrots with the coarse grater (one medium sized carrot per person). If you like, grate half an apple as well.
Season with oil, vinegar, pepper and salt.
(We can't get the vitamin A from eating carrots raw, therefore oil is added.)
Why do people buy ready made, frozen carrots or carrots in glass jars? Search me, don't you have half an hour to boil carrots? You can keep them for some days in the fridge or freeze them after preparing them and eat them later.
Cut an onion into pieces, roast gently in oil, add the sliced carrots and some water. Add salt and a teaspoon full of vegetable stock. Boil for about 20-25 minutes. Before serving sprinkle parsley which you've cut into small pieces over the carrots.