But truthfully, I've harboured fears that the fad (and my interest) would quickly fade, leaving me with one more gadget to add to the donation pile.
If you haven't seen a spiral cutter, it is a small piece of kitchen equipment (several companies offer different models and styles) that cuts vegetables into (very!) long, curly noodle shapes. You push the vegetable into the blade area, turning it, hence the "spiral."
I suppose my husband got tired of seeing me eye the contraption every time we shopped the kitchen supply store because I got a spiral cutter for Mother's Day this year! And now I can't stop using it.
One of my favourite dishes is the zoodles, which can be eaten raw (toss with lemon juice, black pepper and Parmesan cheese) or can be softened by sauteeing for 2 to 3 minutes in a bit of olive oil before tossing with your favourite pasta sauce for a low-carb dish. But I'm also spiral cutting sweet potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, carrots and even apples.
The spiral hit of the summer, though, has to be these baked curly fries. Oven fries are a great healthy alternative to the usual deep-fried french fries. But oven fries have always left us feeling a bit deprived, unsure whether the french fry itch has been adequately scratched. Until now. We truly love these oven fries! And with only 1 teaspoon of oil per recipe, these oven fries alone are worth the price of the spiral cutter.
BAKED GARLIC-THYME CURLY FRIES
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.
Using a spiral cutter, cut the potatoes into curly slices using the coarsest/widest blade setting. Depending on the model of spiral cutter you use, you may need to cut the potatoes to fit into it.
Transfer the sliced potatoes to a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Divide the potatoes between the 2 baking sheets, spreading them evenly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are visibly browning and crunchy in places. Flip, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Total cook time should be 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic powder and parsley. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories; 10 calories from fat (7 per cent of total calories); 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 500 mg sodium; 32 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 4 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy." http://www.melissadarabian.net