Okay, you probably already know about this thing but if not, prepare to see something unexpectedly awesome. The Star Peeler is (after a good chef’s knife) possibly the kitchen tool that saves me the most time. But first, to the heart of the problem… Vegetables, especially tasty gourds and roots often have some kind of unpleasant outer covering that keeps the veggie innards tasty by being a pain in the ass to any creature looking to eat said vegetable. The Star Peeler excels at solving that problem but is also so much more.
So… here it is… check out the video of the peeler being sold in NYC by its most famous (and now deceased) salesperson:
The Veggie Hacks (for now)
Although watching the demo video will give you a couple of awesome hacks (the carrot “starring” and slicing is cool to watch), vegetarians can apply it to so much more, such as:
- ULTRA-Thin Tofu – Take a block of EXTRA FIRM tofu squeeze out all the fluid that you can (his works poorly on anything less firm than “extra firm” because of the thickness you’re working with here). Lay the block of tofu so that the long and narrow side is down on a chopping board. “Peel” the tofu brick into strips. These pick up marinade in ways that hand-cut tofu cannot because there’s almost no thickness. Marinades permeate the whole piece (not just the outside). They also hold up to frying and baking (see the “Dreaded Tofu Rice Bowl” recipe to be posted shortly). (Anybody else thinking of using this technique in connection with the Vegan Gyros posted earlier?)
- Cucumber “Wrappers” – Take an English-style cucumber and then slice the whole length of the cucumber with the peeler. The first few strips are pretty much all skin but after a few strips, you get a really nice thin cucumber wrapper that can be rolled around rice or other grain and easily pinned with a toothpick I’ve seen these used as a wrapper in “vegan sushi”.
- Butternut Squash Peeling – Not really a trick but a life-saver nonetheless. Butternut squash is sometimes a pain to cook with because (a) when it’s diced by hand the curvy shape leads to a ton of wasted tasty squash; (b) it takes forever to prepare. Just peel the whole thing with the star peeler first and then you get nearly 0% waste when you cook with it.
Anyway, you can buy these things all over the place. Get one and never look back.