Finding My Food Processor

After a few months of mashing bean burgers by hand and forcing my immersion blender to make hummus (it hates that), I have decided to purchase a food processor. I began with a Google search and a question on Facebook, and thus began looking at Cuisinarts. Boy, are they expensive! I slashed my summer clothes shopping budget to save up the $200-$300 or more I would need. Now that I’m getting close to my goal amount, it’s time to shop!

I got some good guidelines from this article in Real Simple

Since I don’t make bread dough more than once a year, and when I do I really enjoy kneading by hand, I have determined that I don’t need a 1000 watt motor. Also ruled out everything with nesting bowls.

I have decided I need 11-14 cup capacity in order to make hundreds (ok, dozens) of burgers at once, or at least shred a whole head of cabbage. So this Cuisinart was initially my first choice.  14 cups, 720 watt motor, $200.

Then a good friend suggested this KitchenAid and I started to get confused.  12 cups, 700 watts, closer to $300 unless I get a refurbished model.

So many choices! So much money! What say you, Amazon customer reviews?

The reviews are more helpful in a “what to expect” way than a decisive, what to buy way. I read the best reviews (5 stars) and the worst (1 star), as well as a few in between. Everyone seems to say the same good and bad things about both machines. Pros: Powerful motor, high capacity, variety of handy accessories.  Cons:  Hard to clean by hand (an issue for the dishwasherless), flimsy plastic parts, tricky locking mechanism, takes up lots of space (duh).

Thought I was doing really well comparing the Cuisinart and the KitchenAid, until yet another person tipped me off to Hamilton Beach, a brand I hadn’t considered because it was so very cheap that I assumed the quality would be low.  She says she got hers used from a relative and it lasted her eight additional years.  Not bad, Hamilton Beach! Turns out, the low price probably has more to do with the lower wattage of the motor: 400-525 watts, compared to 700+ watts on the more expensive models. Additionally, from what I can tell, the body of the Hamilton Beach is plastic, rather than metal.  However, all the pros and cons of these cheaper machines are similar to the more expensive ones.

So what’s a poor young cook to do? I might have to make a trip to some kitchen stores to get a better idea of how things work.

Do you have a food processor? If so, what kind, and what do you like and dislike about it?

I’m trying not to get too political on here, but since it’s too hot to cook (and I have to work a lot too), I figure I might as well.  If nothing else, you’ll suddenly realize that the moon is very small.

 

Veganism by the numbers.

Infographic by CulinarySchools.org

Chili for the Children

Earlier this week I had a moment where I felt like a champion nanny:  I got both of the girls I watch to nap at the exact same time.  So what to do with this extra time?  Cook them a delicious healthy dinner, of course!  The cans in the pantry and the vegetables in the fridge combined with the rainy, cold weather told me it was time to make chili.

Ingredients:

Hooray for cellphone pics!

1 can of kidney, black, or pinto beans

1/2 c of lentils (I used black beluga lentils in this batch, but only because they were there.  Any lentils will work)

1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis or jalapenos if you’re not feeding this to a picky 5 year old)

1 small can tomato paste, disolved in warm water (1-2 cans of water)

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

2 carrots or a big handful of baby carrots

1 bell pepper

3 cloves garlic

Seasonings:

oregano, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper

1.  Start by cooking the lentils for about 20 minutes in about 2 cups of water.  While they’re cooking, drain your canned beans and chop veggies.  I recommend chopping the things the kids don’t like into teeny tiny peices.  For me that meant very finely diced onion and celery, and crushing the garlic in a press.  The carrots and pepper I cut into bigger chunks, since the girls love those.

Tiny onions, giant carrots

2.  Once the lentils are tender, put everything else in the pot.  Simmer for 30mins to an hour, until the vegetable are tender and the flavors are blended.

3.  Adjust seasonings and serve to children wearing bibs, because tomato sauce stains.

 4.  Take a picture of it before the children wake up and demolish it!