Saturday, October 15, 2005

Best things, Part I: salad

For those days when I have nothing to write about (i.e. the day after I make a mediocre dinner), I'll try to report instead on some piece of equipment or a particular ingredient that I think rules and doesn't drool. Things that make my life easier or more fun, and things that I'm pretty sure are the best in their class.

We'll start with an old favorite, something I have tried and failed to live without at different points in the last few years: the Oxo salad spinner. I used to sell these babies at the Kitchen Wizard. In fact, they were so easy to sell that we hardly ever had them in stock. I'd put one on the counter, demonstrate how it worked for anyone who would listen, and then it would be gone. Pump the handle, and press the little brake if you want it to stop (left alone, it will spin for a couple minutes). The handle can be fastened down for easy storage.

I can't make a salad without a spinner. Lettuce should be a little moist, but it should not be wet. Whether you've taken the 2 minutes necessary to make your own vinaigrette or you've spent $3.59 on a bottle of Newman's Own, you don't want to dilute it with a bunch of water. And I don't want to waste 18 paper towels getting my lettuce dry (not to mention all the available counter space).

A lot of Oxo products are crap, but this isn't one of them. The spinner is usually about $25 (or you can get the mini version for around $17). If you need an excuse to go buy one, here's my personal favorite.

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