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Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Microzester

Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Well, not an ingredient, exactly. Today we are going to talk about a tool. The microplane started its life in the wood shop. Its original use was for shaving and shaping wood.

These tools have tiny razor-like edges which are formed by photo-etching in which holes are dissolved with a chemical, leaving edges that finely slice instead of tearing or shredding.

The big moment came in 1994, when Lorraine Lee, a homemaker in Ottawa, Canada, was making an Armenian orange cake. Out of frustration with her old grater, she picked up a new tool her husband, Leonard, had brought home from their hardware store, Lee Valley Tools. She slid the orange across its blades and was amazed. Lacy shards of zest fell from its surface like snowflakes. The Lees marveled at the tool, ate the cake, then promptly changed the product description in their catalogue. The Microplane® grater had earned permanent space in the kitchen.

It can be used for grating chocolate, hard cheese, zesting citrus, grating ginger, nutmeg. Even shaving butter! I love these, and no, they're not paying me to say it!