kruizing with kikukat

Monday, April 29, 2013

Introducing My Benriner

Mmmmmmm.  Just look over to the right at the cool, creamy cole slaw.  While most people would sink their teeth into the succulent smoked brisket, I'd make a beeline for the cole slaw.  Now don't get me wrong...I like 'cue just as much as the next person, but 'cue just isn't 'cue without good cole slaw.

Whenever I wanted to make cole slaw, I used to get out my bulky Cuisinart food processor, fit it with a slicing disc, and make quick work of a cabbage.  If you are planning to eat the cole slaw on the same day you make it, the 3mm slicing disc produces nice shreds.  If you are making this a day ahead, use a 4mm slicing blade.  You will get thicker pieces which won't be totally soggy and limp when you serve it.

I still have my nearly-20-year-old, trusty Cuisinart, and it gets used regularly.  But I found a faster, less cumbersome way to shred a cabbage.  I use my Benriner!

A Benriner is a mandoline.  Its made in Japan, which has caused me to pause more than once to try and to try and imagine how "Benriner" should be pronounced.  I am positive I'm not pronouncing it correctly.  The Benriner comes with a blade mounted on a platform, a finger guard, and 3 "teeth" blades.  The teeth blades are in varying widths, and the level of the platform can be adjusted for different thicknesses.  There are no measurements (that I can tell), so you just need to slice a few pieces and adjust (by turning a screw underneath the platform) until you get the thickness you want.  That is how I make quick work of a cabbage.

If you want julienne pieces, simply insert one of the teeth blades, tighten with the yellow screws on the side, and slice away.  For julienne carrots which are the right thickness for cole slaw, you will likely need to adjust the thickness from the cabbage slicing.  Changing blades and adjusting thickness are very simple.  The yellow screws on the side hold the teeth blade in place.  Taking the thing apart to wash is also simple.  The main thing is to be careful not to slice your finger because the mounted blade is super sharp.

Of course, like many other things, there are some things I wish I knew before I bought my Benriner.  I have the regular Benriner.  There are other models:  Super Benriner and Jumbo Benriner.  Both have platforms which are wider than the regular Benriner.  The slicing area of the regular benriner is under 3" wide.  Had I realized how easy it would be to use, I would have splurged for the widest model available! 

Some of my previously posted recipes would work well with a Benriner: Kimpira Gobo, Cold Noodles with Boiled Pork Topping (for slicing the cucumbers), Spicy Shredded Potatoes.  Even Cucumber and Chicken Namasu would work.

As far as pairing cole slaw with food, barbecue is king.  Whether its served in a mound on the side or piled onto a pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw and barbecue were meant to be together.  Seventy years of KFC has taught the world that cole slaw also goes well with fried chicken.  My former coworker BM told me to try it with meatloaf.  I did, and she was right.  The Help claims cole slaw goes well with pastrami, like in a pastrami sandwich.  I wouldn't know.  I don't eat pastrami.  The pastrami I've seen was/is usually eaten with the Devil's condiment.  I have bad memories of seeing it smeared all over the school lunch bun with pastrami slices coated in thick, ugly, coarse black pepper.  I also think pastrami smells like sweat.  Bleccchhhhh!!!

Okay, okay, this is just getting awkward now.  Without further ado, here is my recipe for cole slaw:

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 cabbage
     1 c mayonnaise
     1/4 c cider vinegar
     2/3 c sugar
     1/2 tsp salt
     1/8 tsp white pepper
     1 carrot
     1/2 tsp celery seed, optional

Shred cabbage.  Julienne carrot.  Combine all ingredients.  Chill until ready to serve.  Best if made 3 hours ahead of serving.

And as good as this recipe is, I must admit that I have gone to KFC just to buy a tub of their cole slaw.
A year ago, I was busy preparing for my trip to San Antonio.    Even though it feels like its time to take another trip, I don't think I'll be going anywhere for quite some time.  The Help finally got his birthday present. . .
We will be Hilo-bound for a while.  Sigh. . .

Shopping Info:
You can buy a Benriner (Super Benriner) online at Sur La Table for $64.99.  Just click on one of the links below for a replacement blade to get to the Sur La Table website.  You could also get a Benriner at Marukai, but if you don't live on the island of Oahu, Sur La Table might be a better bet.

You can buy a Congo African Grey parrot at Sweet Leilani Aviaries, just outside Pahoa Town.  I know Charlene currently has Senegal babies too.  Babies are hand raised with tender loving care.  Shakas sister is Maui-bound!

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