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Dec 13, 201810:48 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Kitchen Techniques

 

I admit that recently I learned I have been using a standard can opener incorrectly, or at least not optimally. This video made me briefly question my sanity.

If I have been laboring under the illusion that can openers were only meant to be used in one way for these many years, what else am I missing? Is there a third way to hang toilet paper? Should I be refrigerating my batteries? More importantly, are there any other kitchen implements whose myriad uses are opaque to me?

Then I recalled that I once also failed to recognize the utility of the common vegetable peeler, and I think I’ve written about it. If I did write about it, it was before I understood the effect that salt has on vegetables sliced very thinly.

The technique is very simple: use a vegetable peeler to cut very thin strips of vegetables. Collect the thin strips in a colander, mix with some salt and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. There are lots of ways you can use the result.

I cooked dinner for an old friend not too long ago and I found some really big asparagus spears that were pretty damn good in a lemon vinaigrette. More recently I’ve been using thinly sliced zucchini strips in either a tomato sauce or drizzled with super-hot chile-garlic oil.

You can use it as a pasta substitute, I suppose, but I tend to dislike any food used in an illusory manner. I do not like products that are intended to taste and worse feel like meat but which do not contain any animal bits. That is a carnival ride I am unwilling to take and if pressed I will climb down the rickety goddamn superstructure to free myself from it.

I think it was John Adams who said “let vegetables taste like vegetables, and meat like meat, and we’ll all be better off.” Could also have been John Quincy Adams to be honest. I get them confused all the time.

In news that doesn’t involve thinly sliced vegetables, one of the best bakeries in town, Bellegarde, is opening an online store where they’ll offer stone-ground flours and bakery themed merchandise. I may not spring for a t-shirt, but I am addicted to Bellegarde’s breads. I will almost certainly be buying their flour. Whether I can make good use of it is another question, and one that I will answer here unless I don’t make good use of it.

 

 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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