I'm kicking off kitchen gadget week with my favorite gadget in my kitchen gadget arsenal: my Microplane grater. Accept no substitutes, folks, the Microplane will rock your grating world. If I could only choose one kitchen gadget (aside from a really sharp chef's knife) to take with me to a deserted island, it would be my Microplane.
I own three Microplanes: 2 grater/zesters (so two people can grate cheese at a time--helpful for pasta parties!) and a ribbon zester for grating chocolate. My microplane grater/zester isn't limited to grating cheese, however. I use it for grating citrus zest and for grating ginger and garlic, too. I use the ribbon grater for grating apples into our homemade Bircher muesli and for grating carrots into a salad.
But the best use of the Microplane is definitely for grating hard cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano. I rarely buy pre-grated cheese. For one, it's more expensive and two, I don't always trust what's in it. I buy hunks of cheese in bulk and make quick work of it with my trusty Microplane. Even very hard cheeses grate beautifully with a Microplane.
Tonight we made a luscious chocolate orange mousse and the first thing I reached for was the Microplane grater so we could add some fresh orange zest along with the orange juice. If you don't have one maybe Santa will bring one to you...if you'd ve been nice!