Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Shiny Refrigerator

 What do a shiny refrigerator and a batch of summer pesto have in common?

                                     Olive Oil

Strangely enough, olive oil is the magic ingredient in more than just Italian specialties. My brushed stainless steel fridge was dirty and stained with fingerprints and nothing I tried removed the ugly smudges. Sometimes water helped when I dabbed the stains, but drying made things worse.  I splashed and patted with both plain and soapy water but when I rubbed the surface the metal got more streaked and smeared. After years of this hit or miss approach I consulted the experts on the Internet. The very first site I checked was Coulter Clean Up. They recommended using olive oil to clean a stainless steel refrigerator. This blew my mind! How could rubbing oil on oily stains remove them? Olive oil was the last cleaning product I expected.  They rubbed it on with soft cloths made from old T-shirts or  household rags. They followed this up with a vinegar rinse. The result looked shiny and clean on their video.  Just to be thorough, I went on to check other sites which recommended water, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and baby oil in various combinations applied with spray bottles and micro fiber cloths. The vinegar and water solution appealed to me but all I had were balsamic and sherry vinegars and I didn't have an empty spray bottle to apply them with.

After watching all these women wiping down refrigerators on YouTube videos, I was primed to clean immediately.  So, because I had olive oil and a household rag on hand, I followed the directions  of the Coulter site. I took the plunge, doused my cloth with olive oil and started rubbing it onto the metal surface. I did pick up some tips from "Clean my Space" and "SF Gate" which mentioned that you need to do the whole surface at once and that if you have brushed stainless like I do, you need to rub WITH THE GRAIN. I realized then that my former attempts at cleaning and polishing had failed because I had been  rubbing against the grain. Another life lesson!

I rubbed the entire front surface with plenty of oil, then rubbed and buffed vigorously with a clean cloth, making sure I worked with the grain and, just as promised, the surface was restored to its full, gleaming shine. I was thrilled with the result! Five days later my fridge is as bright and clean as ever, since the oil helps prevent new fingerprints from showing.

It's August, so besides cleaning metal appliances with my olive oil I've been making  PESTO . I love pasta al pesto but unfortunately pasta is sky high in carbohydrates, which I'm trying to avoid. So, I decided to experiment with zucchini noodles. I stocked up on medium size green and yellow squash, got out my Japanese julienne slicer and started to shred my zucchini. I pulled the blade down the length of the vegetables and spaghetti-like squiggles fell from the peeler. I was delighted with the colorful result until I energetically raked the blade down the last zucchini, right into my waiting thumb. The cut was fairly deep and bled profusely. Somehow I had ignored the primary rule of knife safety: keep your fingers out of the way of the blade. Life lesson #2 for the day.

Green and yellow zucchini noodles with pesto

After bandaging my thumb, and sipping some red wine, I cooked the noodles in boiling water for about three minutes. They were perfectly al dente and really quite appealing. I dressed them with pesto and grated Parmesan and I had a low carb winner. During dinner we toasted our shiny fridge and our nifty new vegetable noodles. For a great book on the subject, I recommend Peggy Knickerbocker's  Olive Oil: From Tree to Table.