My kitchen is not stocked with an arsenal of fancy equipment as some may think. Besides not having a ton of storage space, I find that I get by just fine with the basics.
My go-to items include pots and pans, a set of good knives with kitchen shears, a basic vegetable peeler, wooden spoons, a spatula, can opener, roasting trays, as well as a couple of cheese graters. I sometimes use measuring cups and spoons, although I’m pretty good at eye-balling quantities and don’t bake much where precision really matters.
As far as any “extras” in my kitchen that are used regularly, there are a very small coffee grinder, a 7-quart slow cooker and an electric vegetable spiralizer. The coffee grinder is used daily, and the slow cooker and spiralizer about once a week.
In the past I used my vegetable spiralizer very infrequently, primarily only when making a fresh batch of zucchini noodles for a healthy pasta noodle substitute. Lately, however, I have been enjoying an array of cold vegetable noodle salads that I’ve found incredibly refreshing and really enjoyable to eat.
Pretty much any semi-solid fruit or vegetable can be turned into long noodle-like strands, including cucumbers, carrots, summer and winter squashes, radishes, beets, turnips, celeriac, apples and broccoli stems.
My favorite fruit and vegetable noodle salad of the week is one that includes daikon radish root, apple and chioggia beets, tossed with fresh mint and cilantro in a sesame-soy dressing. The flavor combination really hit the spot. You can use any type of beet you prefer, but the chioggia variety has a stunning pink and white spiral color and are less messy than their red counterparts.
Daikon, Apple and Chioggia Beet Noodle Salad
1 large daikon, peeled
3 medium chioggia beets, peeled
1 medium tangy apple, such as a pink lady
1/4 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (and/or use fresh basil)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
For the dressing
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, well minced
1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and very finely grated
Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside until ready to use. Whisk again just before using
Using a vegetable spiralizer, insert your daikon, beets and apple to create long noodles. Place in a mixing bowl and gently toss with a pinch of salt. Refrigerate covered for about 30 minute, then pour out any moisture from the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add a few tablespoons of your dressing, as well as the fresh herbs and toss. Add additional dressing if needed to taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Yield: Serves 4 salads.