I know, most of the time I post recipes, but today's entry is dedicated to one of the best non-electric kitchen tools ever - the microplane grater.
Watching Rachel Ray use it to grate nutmeg the first time, I thought "meh, I can buy powdered nutmeg what's the big deal?"
Then I saw someone else use it for zesting an orange, and I had to have one. Some of the ones you'll see are long and narrow, and while I did find one, I also found one that was wider. So I bought them both!
Microplane graters are the fastest, best way (in my personal experience) to zest fruit. Lemons, Limes, and Oranges have been stripped of their color to flavor my dishes in nothing flat for a few years.
But I finally bought some whole nutmeg to see if Rachel knew something I didn't. Oh boy, did I get schooled! Fresh ground spices are MUCH better than buying spices already ground to a powder. Nutmeg and cinnamon are amazing when freshly grated into something, and it's so very easy. It convinced me to try what Indian folks do - toast and grind spices myself (though not with a microplane, it's still amazingly better).
Of course, you can also grate some of the hard cheeses like Parmesan super easy, it comes out like that angel hair stuff some folks decorate with around the winter holidays. It just melts on your tongue and has a very nice presentation.
And last but not least - you can use your new toy (assuming you don't already have one) to grate ginger and cloves of garlic instead of mincing by hand. If you peel your ginger root and put it in the freezer like I do, you can grate it frozen with the microplane and it works just fine. It's a lot easier to clean than a garlic press, and frankly takes less work. Like all graters, you have to be careful not to grate your fingertips because this one is extra sharp.
So there you have it, if you don't already have a microplane grater I really think you should go get one. It's a time-saver, and quite versatile.