So I don’t know what’s happening at your house, but here, it’s all cooking shows, all the time. Against all odds, I have managed to make new friends during self-isolation and their names are Claire Saffitz and Molly Baz and Brad Leone. They taught me how to make sourdough and I am grateful to them and now my boyfriend and I are the proud parents of an eight-day-old starter named Cristobal.
Because we all aspire to be like our heroes, I consulted this list of necessary pantry essentials during quarantine. On it was lemon zest. I would argue that lemon zest is not a pantry item, but that is a problem for another day. How does one produce the best lemon zest? With a Microplane. Mine, which is perfect, cost $14.
When you own a microplane, everything looks like … something that could be planed, or in this case, zested. With an entire bag of lemons available for experiments in my fruit basket, I got to work. If you, like me, are an impatient chef, the sort who would rather get pre-sliced bread than a loaf, then let me just say: Zesting is for you. Zip-zap-zest, it’s done, and suddenly you have a lovely bit of bright-yellow color in all your dishes (as a visual person, this matters a lot to me) as well as a necessary freshness in otherwise-sorry situations like boring-ass yogurt or eggs that were probably stuck on the pan for 10 seconds too long. Steamed broccoli? Here’s some zest. Baked potato? Why even eat a baked potato without lemon zest? You might think that nothing could improve upon an Entenmann’s pound cake, but that would be only because you haven’t added lemon zest to it.
Best of all, the Microplane isn’t limited to planing the peel off of lemons—it’s also great for ginger, garlic (reframe: it’s life-changing with garlic) and hard cheeses like parmesan. A new world awaits, if you have the courage to try it.
+Yogurt and yogurt sauce
+Brownie or Entenmann’s pound cake
+Baked Potato (sweet potatoes are great)
+Chicken or fish or any protein of your choice
+Broccoli or roasted kale or any cooked veggies
+Vanilla ice cream
+Slice of bread with butter (specifically lemon-honey butter or lemon-chive butter)
+Left over matzo balls (happy Passover!)