28 July 2010

Food Processor: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . (a.k.a. Post for Kristen)

So I think I have already raved about how much I love my food processor. It’s so versatile and it has really broadened my cooking horizons. My first experiences making pie crust, freezer jam, hummus, and homemade peanut butter were facilitated by this little machine. I have used it to cut up all of the lovely CSA squash and veggies I get. I can use it for many of my slicing, grating, shredding, grinding, and mixing needs, and I there is more that I probably haven't tapped, too. It's great to chop onions, slice tomatoes and squash, shred potatoes, grate cheese, etc.

So if you have a food processor, please make the following:

  • Hummus (When I make hummus, I just throw together the following into the bowl of the food processor: a can of drained garbanzos, with a little bit of the liquid from the can, about a tablespoon of garlic, a tablespoon of tahini, a teaspoon or so of olive oil, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, maybe some seasonings, then process away!)

  • Peanut butter: I used this recipe from Alton Brown, except I didn’t add any honey—I didn’t need it)

  • Salsa or pico de gallo

  • Guacamole

  • Tofu balls (I haven’t cooked a lot with tofu, but I tried this recipe with slight alterations—I browned the outsides in a pan on the stove, and then baked them in the oven.)

  • Falafel (I have tried this recipe with moderate success. How do I keep falafel from not falling apart when I fry it, anyone know?)

  • Freezer jam (I used the processor to puree the strawberries for the jam. You can pulse them to chop if you want it more chunky, though.)

  • Pie crust (I love Ina’s perfect pie crust recipe here. I have used it a lot to make chicken pot pie, though not apple pie.)

  • Bread dough and pizza dough (I love this recipe for regular pizza crust and this one for whole wheat pizza. I'm not sure why, but I have had varying results with bread [Then again, what's new there? My results with bread always vary even if you don't factor in the food processor.] So not all of my bread dough has worked exceptionally well in the food processor, but it seems like it is usually pretty good, especially when I''m not making a lot of dough at once. I found this multigrain bread dough recipe at America’s Test Kitchen. You can see it here [you can also find it for free on America’s Test Kitchen website, but you have to register]. I have made 5 loaves of it already in the past week and a half and have been subsisting mainly on bread slathered with freezer jam and nothing else. Yummy. Didn't work so well in the food processor, though, unfortunately.)

  • Cookie dough (Just add the chocolate chips after the dough is already mixed if you’re making chocolate chip cookies so that they retain their shape.)

  • Honey butter, or any kind of specialty butter

  • Soup (Have you tried Ina’s chicken chili? Sarah introduced it to me, and it's just delicious. I use the food processor as she recommends in the recipe.)

  • Ground meat (I made this chicken thing in the food processor a while ago: ground chicken, tomato sauce, some spices, and pan-cooked. We put it in burritos.)

  • Bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs (Have you ever used ground oatmeal as a substitute for bread crumbs, or flour for that matter? We tried it in falafel when we made it with our gluten-free friend, and it worked surprisingly well!)

  • Waffle batter, crepe batter, cake batter (I used it for banana bread, which is more of a cake batter, and I really liked pureeing the bananas to make them smooth before adding the rest of the ingredients when I made this recipe. Also, Tim and I landed on a waffle recipe very similar to this one that we use almost weekly [waffles on a Saturday morn, anyone?].)

  • Chop nuts

  • Zucchini (this one is for you, Kristen): I like chopping or grating zucchini with the food processor. I really like this one pasta with zucchini and chickpeas/garbanzo beans, similar to the one here (I also saw it on Real Simple originally as well); you can adapt it however you want, but it is a really quick, easy meal. You could also grate zucchini and make zucchini bread/muffins.
The end . . . or just the beginning.


Home on the Grange said...

Man. I've never worked with a food processor before, but I have to admit, your post has me tempted. It sounds like a miracle-worker.

Tyler and Kristen said...

I've been meaning to tell you forever. THANK YOU. Your post was fantastic, I made the peanut butter and love it. You are amaizing. Thank you. I'll post a post on anything you want, anytime.

Margaret said...

All of these descriptions sound delicious! You should make an informercial about them. I'd be your biggest fan. :)

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