Monday, August 28, 2006

I couldn't live without my ....

Cate over at Sweetnicks is hosting a fun blog event, asking us foodies to fill in the blank, "I couldn't live without my ___." Honestly, I don't know where she comes up with the great ideas for her blog events, but I always like them even if I can't always participate! If you're interested in participating too, check out her post explaining the event. The deadline is Aug 31.

We moved into our house nearly 15 years ago. It's the first time I've ever owned a house, and it's been a really interesting experience, ownership versus rentership. There are good and bad things about it, and I probably should muse over the experience someday. But, not to wander too far afield from the topic at hand, I will say that one of the good things is that it made me more willing to invest in really good kitchen equipment. Over time we've replaced all the major appliances in the kitchen, and if you've been reading my blog you know that we've just recently invested in new countertops, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

One thing that I had always wanted was a good stand mixer. There are some recipes that are really hard to make if one of your hands is tied up holding a hand mixer, and besides, stand mixers allow you to mix things that would leave most handheld electric mixers red-faced and smoking and cussing, bread doughs, for instance. So when The Huz gave me a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas, I was very excited. (No lingerie or perfume for this gal. The best present is something I can use in my kitchen!)

But I have to say, when I later got my Kitchenaid food processor, I truly found the appliance that I cannot live without. Well, OK, not literally. I'm not that materialistic. But I do find myself reaching for it constantly.

Perhaps my favorite use for it is to make scones. I whir the dry ingredients in it to mix them up, and then add the cold butter pieces. A few pulses, and I've got perfectly chopped butter, still cold as heck so it will leave nice little pockets in the dough. I turn the butter/flour mixture into a bowl to add the wet ingredients gently, and off we go to kneading, rolling, cutting and baking. Or freezing! Did you know you can freeze scone dough? Yep!

This past weekend I made some scones with golden raisins and a sweet wash of powdered sugar and milk for a largish group of folks. One gentleman commented that he'd never had such moist, light scones. It was so easy, thanks to my beloved food processor!

I use it to crush chocolate wafers for pie crusts. Grate cheese. Make pesto (using the small bowl that rests inside the large one). Puree soups (until I got my immersion blender, also a very handy tool!) Chop nuts, veggies, etc. I am constantly reaching for this thing. My mixer sits out on the counter because it's too bulky to be moved into a cabinet easily, but it's the food processor that I use the most.

By the way, I can heartily recommend my Kitchenaid, but I'm sure the Cuisinarts are also excellent, and there are probably other excellent brands. I do think it pays to invest in a heavy-duty food processor. In my experience, the less expensive ones tend to not do a good job with one or more of the tasks you care about.

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