Do you use food processors?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by broncoboxer, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Yes, ganache is a great application, good point, Missy! I was blown away the first time I made an alternative chocolate mousse with a processor: you put chopped-up chocolate in the processor, pulse it until it's very fine, and then turn it on full-blast. While it's running, pour boiling-hot cream through the feed tube in a medium-thin stream. Stop when it's the texture of chocolate mousse. Chill and serve. Yes, it's totally evil, but it's also delicious and mind-bogglingly easy.

    That reminds me. Take a bag of IQF (individually quick-frozen) berries, e.g. raspberries, thawed, and dump them in the processor. Add about 1/4 cup of sugar. Pulse a few times until it's going smoothly, then run it full-blast until smooth. Strain. Serve with an enormous range of desserts, from grapefruit supremes to flourless chocolate cake. Want to do this by hand? Me neither.
     
  2. grumio

    grumio

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    I vote yes on food processors, but only on good ones.  The first one I had, a hand-me-down, was junk.  Here's how to get a good one cheaply:  find out what KitchenAid's or Cuisinart's top of the line food processor model is - the KAFP-1000, or whatever.  Then find out the model it superseded, ie their previous top of the line FP (very likely the KAFP-900, or something).  Then search for a refurbished one of those.  I don't remember the exact numbers, but my refurbished last-year's-model KA cost me about 40% what a new this-year's-model did at the time, and has worked perfectly for the last 8 years.
     
  3. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Bronco-

    The food processor is probably the most revolutionary kitchen appliiance ever built. I say that as the owner of a KitchenAid mixer and a Vita-Mix 50-hp blender.You wanna get into cooking... get one (preferably on sale.)

    My wife insisted on buying one in  1968 and I looked at it (as a  lifelong woodworker and tool nut), and thought "what the heck can I do with that thing?' And, I've been cooking ever since. My wife says that before that, the only thing I ever cooked was...  popcorn.

    A food proocessor won't make you into an accomplished cook, but it will simplify your work for many prep chores so that you can concentrate on other aspects of your cooking repertiore. It won't replace your need for at least some knife skills, either.  Sorry. Everything but the blade can go through the dishwasher, so it's not that big a cleaning problem. Just rinse it out the moment you're through using - and clean the blade gingerly - and it's easy.

    As Jacques would say... get one and... hoppy cookeeng!
     
  4. siduri

    siduri

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    I agree that it's no doubt useful.   I have a bunch of hand-powered gadgets that do some of what that does (the food mill or foley mill (remember that?) with it's crank on top, blade and flat cone-shaped holey thing - though most of what i;d use that for i do with the immersion blender.  I have another thing for shredding with a crank and flat disks like food processor ones, though i find i'm quick enough with the box grater, that i would never bother to have to wash a food processor to make carrot cake even if i had one.  I make chicken liver mousse in the blender (always put whatever liquid you use at the bottom FIRST,then put the other stuff) and an immersion blender for soups (why bother with a big machine?) I make ganache melting the chocolate broken in pieces in the double boiler with a little of the cream, then let it cool and add the rest if i want to whip it, otherwise i just mix the room temp cream into it.  I chop onions either by hand or with the little attachment with blade and cup for the immersion blender. 

    Would i like someone to give me a good food processor?  Yeah, i guess, but i still wouldn't want to occupy more counter space.  Of course, never having used one, I may change mind if i did have one.  But i wouldn;t exchange it for the immersion blender (much easier to clean and can do the boiling hot soup directly with it). 
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I flatly disagree with the argument that putting one in a dishwasher reveals a bad attitude toward tools,

    Perhaps I was ambiguous, Chris. I was referring to your chef's knife and the dishwasher. And that I stand by. Anyone who puts their good knives in a dishwasher has no respect for them.

    As to putting food processor parts through the dishwasher, if that's your choice I have no argument. But you didn't present it as an option. You dogmatically proclaimed that if a person doesn't have a dishwasher than they shouldn't own a food processor: "Incidentally, I'm assuming you've got a dishwasher. If not, skip the processor:"

    So, I reckon the thousands of us who either don't own dishwashers or who choose not to use them for the FP are left sucking hind teat. Guess I better trade my KA in on a Vegamatic. Or can those not be washed by hand either?

    For the record, while I've amassed many a knife cut through the years, I have never cut myself on the blade of a food processor.

    I'm also wondering about this statement: "getting every trace of ground-up whatever out of the hollow stalk with the blade was not so delightful..." If you've fitted the blade to the shaft properly you shouldn't be getting much up into that hollow in the first place. Any that does should rinse right out under hot running water. If not, that's why we have cleaning brushes.

    I will concede that if you 1. did get some ground up whatever inside the hollow, and, 2. let it dry before cleaning, that you might have difficulty scrubbing it out. But that's supposition on my part because my FP components don't sit around like that.
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Well, Bronco, you've seen the welter of applications; and, in fact, we've barely touched on them. Food processors are wonderful kitchen tools, well worth the space they occupy. Personally, and I'm sure others agree, if I had to be confined to just one power tool in the kitchen a FP is the only choice. 

    Assuming you decide that you do need one, here's another piece of advice: Get the largest one you can afford. The more you use a food processor the more uses you find for it. Don't make the mistake of initially buying a mini, thinking you could learn on it and get a larger one later. The progession should actually be in the other direction. Get a full-sized unit first. Then later, if you think you need one, you can get a mini as well.

    Most quality food processors (Cuisinart and KitchenAid, for instance) come with three cutters as standard: the steel blade, a slicing plate, and a grating plate. You might be tempted to load up on assessory cutters, but don't. Learn to use the ones that come standard. Then you can make an informed decision about others.
     
  7. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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         Do you have a credit card that has a decent rewards point program?  It may be worth a look to see if they have a food processor on there.  I remember I redeemed some points and got one of the larger Cuisinart processors that they made.   I would stick with Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid.   But checking your rewards program may be worth the time.

      dan
     
  8. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    KYH,
     
    Okay, fair enough, I was being a little dogmatic.

    All I meant was that if you're new to cooking, and thus a lot of the processes --- including cleaning up --- are relatively time-consuming and irritating, and if furthermore you're constantly dropping your knives on the floor and chipping the tips off them (as the OP says), then cleaning a food processor blade is something of a chore without a dishwasher. I did not say that handwashing is impossible; on the contrary, I mentioned that I handwashed my processor for a year in Kyoto. I just said, and continue to say, that it's a bit of a chore.
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I just said, and continue to say, that it's a bit of a chore.

    Well, sure. But so is prepping a mirepois or breaking down a chicken.

    I reckon it's what you're used to, and the procedures you choose to follow.

    Short of entertaining for a crowd, I would never think to use my food processor to prep a mirepois. My knife is faster and more accurate for that small an amount. I could buy chicken parts and avoid the hassle of breaking down a bird. But I don't. When I first learned there were people who wash-up in the kitchen as they go along I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. Now I do it as a matter of course, and can't imagine letting the dishes and cookware pile up.

    Doesn't make my way right and the others' wrong. It just reflects different styles and different choices. To think otherwise just means falling into the Alton Brown fallacy.
     
  10. durangojo

    durangojo

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    my chime....

     i use a kitchen aid(large), and i use it pretty much everyday, for all sorts of things..i'm sure that the purists among you will be rolling your eyes on this,but garlic and shallots are a daily grind(no pun intended)....i use so much at the restaurant, that i could not keep up otherwise....and ky is spot on about the pulse button...its perfect if you know how to use it.....pestos, pates, veggie terrines...anything that needs to be smooth, some dressings, pizza dough, and of course, 'frosty paws' for the pooch...i have several work bowls as well as a smaller bowl that fits inside the larger one, for smaller jobs...i hardly ever use it as i can chop something that size faster by hand.....i have used robot coupes in restaurant kitchens, and they are a bear to work with...just even to move...heavy, base/motor, difficult with all the blades and shoots for shredding and slicing, and very pricey as well...i've had my ka for years...before that a cusinart...both were just great...still are...unless you like crying alot, i would recommend another veggie to practice on than onions...how about apples? at least you can throw them out for the foxes or birds or even make a pie!...if you get one, you will use it, i promise...just don't get too small a one...they are practically useless!!!....

    joey
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    KY,

    There's a lot of good stuff in your post but some of it is only implied and some of it was glossed over (because you stuck to the point).

    For instance,
    was frikking brilliant. 
    I seldom cut mirepoix with an FP.  Mirepoix just for cooking should be too coarse for an FP to handle well; and mirepoix that will be incorporated in a finished dish should cut in in fairly regular shapes and sizes.  FPs don't do medium dice, fine dice, or brunoise.  Now mirepoix for meatloaf and other charcuterie -- nothing does itty bitty chips better.  But, Mirepoix and Me is not the real issue. 

    Buy a good FP?  Emphatically, yes.  But it's just one tool of many.  It's very versatile and a godsend when volume means so much skill, effort or time that it's an FP or do something else.  But it's not the best tool for almost any process you care to name.     

    When it comes to cutting, a sharp knife and the skills to use it are every good cook's food-processor of first resort.

    BDL
     
  12. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    shoots=chutes   oh, but who really cares?  LOL
     
     
  13. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Hm, IIRC, that sounds like something I heard YEARS ago on a TV show, let's see, oh yes, Yan Can Cook!, Martin Yan with a Chinese cleaver in each hand!
     
  14. durangojo

    durangojo

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    oops....thanks...maybe i was thinking that everytime i used the 'chute', the food 'shot' all over the place.....

    joey
     
     
  15. durangojo

    durangojo

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    its not the best tool for any process you care to name? what about pestos, pates, terrines, and while we're at it, pureeing salmon for a mousse...or soups, like split pea or acorn  or butternut squash...how is it not the best tool? i'd hate to have to do all that mashin' by hand...

    joey
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    (because you stuck to the point).

    Ya know, Boar, if and when you finally finish your book, after I get through editing it it's only going to be a third as long. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    Mirepoix just for cooking should be too coarse for an FP to handle well;

    Don't know as I can agree with this. If you turn the thing on and let 'er rip, yes, you're correct. Unless you're making mirepoix soup. But if you really learn what the pulse button is all about you can make perfect mirepoix for cooking. One trick is to remember that there are three ingredients there, each of which should be chopped separately.

    mirepoix that will be incorporated in a finished dish should cut in in fairly regular shapes and sizes. 

    Well, yes and no. In a restaurant, for sure. In the home kitchen, however, those of us who strive for perfect cuts do so to please ourselves. Family and friends mostly won't notice; and certainly won't care. So there's a danger of getting obsessive about it. I'm happy when I can convince the average home cook that knives need to be sharp. Getting them to make a perfect quarter-inch dice is above my pay grade.

    I've quoted Mitchell Davis on this before, but it bears repealing: "I recall another recipes that had you strain a soup twice through a chinois...This sort of excess use of equipment and refinement is a hallmark of chef recipes...When we eat at home, the soup can be a little lumpy."

    But it's not the best tool for almost any process you care to name.     

    I sort of agree with this. Call it 80%.

    Our first food processor (actually, part of an Oster Kitchen Center) was a gift, and for years I wouldn't use the food processor part at all. Thought the whole FP thing was a wonderful, but unnecessary, marketing job on the part of the Cuisinart folks. As noted, Friend Wife would use it to chop a single onion. Gimme a break. But I've since learned the times and places a food processor makes sense (should say, have been learning, because I'm always discovering new ways).

    Is a food processor indispensible? Not hardly. But it makes so many tasks quicker and more efficient that I'd hate to be without one.

    When it comes to cutting, a sharp knife and the skills to use it are every good cook's food-processor of first resort.

    Now that's something I can agree with 110%.
     
  17. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    When to use a food processor (all criteria must be met):

    1.  The end result (product) is acceptable (if you want a square dice, you're not going to get one).

    2.  The work required to prep the FP, the product, and the clean-up is greater than the work required to prep the cutting board and knife, the product, and clean-up. 

    If you can do it appreciably faster or "better" by hand, then you shouldn't be using a fp.  For me, making pasta dough can go either way.  If I'm using the FP for other things, then I'll use it for the pasta dough. 

    I never knew this could be so difficult.

    BTW, when it comes to size, the bigger the better in ALMOST all cases of FP.  However, if you're going to be using the chopping blade on very small quantities, a smaller FP would be indicated.  An example would be me trying to make alfredo sauce.  I'm using room temp butter.  Well, a few whirls in the FP and I have butter coating the bowl, and the blade whirling around mostly untouched.  Same goes for trying to powder parm cheese. I'd expect grinding "berry" type spices would also work better in a smaller FP (or coffee grinder).
     
  18. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    We've got a pretty good FP at home.  Number of times it gets used in a year - may 5 to 10.  Small family.  I don't make bread, biscuits, scones cales, pizza dought etc,

    When does it get used?  When we are doing fund raising bbqs - use it for the onions and the slaw when I need to make 10kg of each - but that's about it.  And then a couple of other times, but I find the clean up too cumbersome to be bothered with.  I tend to use a stick mixer more, as in for pureeing soups, then I sieve it.  only 3 items to clean there.  The stick, the sieve, the pot.  The FP however you have to fuss with to get it set the right way to start with (ok I am hopeless at locating where it clamps on properly), then there are at least 5 items to clean including a nasty sharp one.

    Stick mixers or simple blenders are the way I like it.
     
  19. lyniebeck

    lyniebeck

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    I've found cleaning a FP is easy if I dump some hot water in the work bowl with the blade in place, put in a drop (just a drop) of dishwashing liquid and whir for a few seconds.  I take the bowl and blade to the sink and rinse.  How hard is that?  The machine does most of the work if the bowl and blade are really gunky.  Just don't put too much dishwashing liquid in the bowl before you turn it on otherwise you'll think you're in an I Love Lucy episode with suds going all over the kitchen.
     
  20. kcz

    kcz

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    I would figure out where you're going to keep it.  For years, my FP sat in an inaccessible corner of my counter, and the discs were in the pantry on the other side of the room.  I never used the dang thing.  Since my kitchen renovation, the FP is front-and-center on the counter in my prep area and the discs are in a drawer underneath.  I use it almost daily.  It's like many small kitchen appliances...out of sight, out of mind.