Pros:Makes short work of slicing or chopping mushrooms, olives or eggs.
Cons:I wish the slices were a bit narrower. Caution required - those blades are sharp.
The Bottom Line: This nifty gadget has gone from convenience to necessity in my kitchen. I wouldn't want to be without it.
My parents have a history of buying clever little kitchen gadgets. Apparently, I inherited the gene, because when I saw the Mushroom Xpress by Ontel hanging up in the grocery store two years ago, I just couldn't resist buying it. I'm glad I didn't - it has become one of my favorite cooking tools.
As the name indicates, this is a tool designed for slicing mushrooms, though it works equally well for slicing any small and relatively soft food. Made from white plastic (or possibly PVC - I can't tell for sure) it has a 4 inch long handle with a spring-loaded hinge at the end. On the bottom part of the handle is a slicing area which is roughly 2-1/2" square and holds 9 stainless steel blades. On the top handle is a slotted press area used to push the food through the blades. Both the top and bottom pieces have tabs opposite the handle so you can safely use both hands while slicing. Also on the top of the unit is a latch intended to keep the slicer safely closed when not in use. When closed, it lies flat at approximately 1-1/2" deep, easily fitting into any kitchen drawer. Included with the slicer is a small, soft brush for cleaning mushrooms.
As I said, this is a very useful little tool. It has become a near-essential in my house for slicing olives and mushrooms for pizza or spaghetti sauce. To use it, simply unlatch it so that it opens; place the food on the blades; and squeeze it shut over a bowl, cutting board or other container. As the food is pressed past the sharp steel blades, it is cut into perfect ¼" slices.
Because this device is so simple and efficient, I have completely stopped buying pre-sliced mushrooms (which are sometimes lacking in freshness and quality). I've stopped buying sliced or chopped olives (which are ridiculously expensive compared to the whole ones. My egg salad (when I make it) has a nice, even chop size instead of the somewhat unpredictable results obtained from just mashing an egg with a fork.
A word of caution is in order though. The blades of the Mushroom Xpress are extremely sharp - even after a couple of years of regular use. I wouldn't let young children use this tool unsupervised. And extra care should be taken when cleaning and drying it. Because of the way that the top and bottom pieces fit together, the blades are never completely protected. I once cut a deep slice in my thumb while drying this tool off. You really don't want to repeat my mistake.... Ouch.
My suggestion for avoiding a similar injury is to rinse it under hot water immediately after using it - use dish soap and a dish brush if necessary to clean particles of food from between the blades. Then leave it to air dry while you finish making your meal. By the time you're done eating, the Mushroom Xpress is ready to be put away for the next time without anyone needing to hand-dry it.
Fun with Food
I like to use the Mushroom Xpress for slicing olives and mushrooms directly on to home-made pizza. However, it also works well for something a little more entertaining. Make a desert pizza by pressing cookie dough into a large flat pan and baking it. Frost the top of the cookie and then add toppings with the help of the Mushroom Xpress. Candy corn, jellybeans and gumdrops are all the right size and consistency to be easily sliced with this tool, and make tasty toppings for a chocolate chip crust.
I wouldn't want to be without the Mushroom Xpress now that I'm used to having it around. While it may be more of a specialty item than some people are willing to clutter their kitchen with, it can make short work of otherwise tedious slicing tasks. My only real frustration with the tool is that the latch recently broke so it no longer stays shut. I'm now keeping it closed with a rubber band, but it may be time for me to track down a new one instead. At a price of only $7.99 I think its well worth the expense.
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