The $20 Gadget That's Shockingly Necessary for Summer
Hopefully we all know by now to resist the siren call of infomercial products. But every once in a while, one comes along that, astonishingly, can actually change your life. Or, at the very least, make it a whole lot easier.
That's how I feel about the Vidalia Chop Wizard, which I got on a whim and have zero regrets about. What's a Vidalia Chop Wizard? It's a chopper that helps you chop all your summer veggies in one fell swoop.
Buy: Vidalia Chop Wizard, $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond
It's so simple: You place half an onion or zucchini on top of a grid, press down, and that's it! You get perfect little squares. I use it for pasta salad, summer salads, fruit salads — basically every type of salad (and salsas!).
I love that I don't really have to worry about knife skills when it comes to cubing and dicing. I wish I could say you could put your knife away all together, but you do still have to peel the onion and cut it in half and trim other fruits and veggies. But once you've done that, the Wizard does the rest. You'll be serving picture-perfect fruit medleys and egg salad sandwiches in no time!
The Chop Wizard is a basic piece of equipment — just a clear box with a stainless steel cutting grid on top and a lid that you press down on firmly to force items through the blades (think: alligator jaws). The Wizard comes with two grids that cut 1/2- and 1/4-inch pieces, and the container catcher has measuring marks to tell you how much you've diced.
And although you can put all the parts in the dishwasher, little bits sometimes remain in between the boxes on the lid that press food into the cutting blades. To remove them, you can use the included little comb, which I found downright fun to rake through the squares.
A similar and equally good option is the OXO Good Grips Vegetable Chopper with Easy-Pour Opening. It works the same way but only comes with a 1/2-inch grid. While it doesn't have measuring lines, it is open on one end, making it easy to pour the diced ingredients into a bowl and keep going rather than open the contraption when it's full and then reassemble it before you continue cutting. And instead of a comb, a plastic mat sits around the boxes in the lid; pull it off and any residue comes off too, making cleaning a non-issue.
Get one of these two to make all your summer chopping a breeze. I promise, you won't regret it. And you might even find uses for it in the winter. Chili doesn't make itself, after all ...
Do you have a veggie chopper? Do you love it as much as I love mine? What else do you use it for?