Good Food Blog
Gee whizzPosted at 12:02PM, 18 September 2008 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
If I could choose only one kitchen gadget, it would be my food processor. Chopping, slicing, puréeing and grating are all done effortlessly. Onions can be finely chopped in seconds; vegetables can be sliced quickly; stuffings, houmous and mayonnaise can be made in a fraction of the usual time and scone and pastry doughs can be whizzed up in a jiffy. I use my food processor to make pâté, using whatever I want to use up in the fridge - cooked chicken or salmon and cream, for instance.
A food processor is a great speedy time-saver too. It's perfect for finely chopping all those dried dates, figs, candied peel and nuts for rich fruit cakes . I oil the blades lightly first to stop the fruit sticking. I grate oddments of cheese and freeze to use later in sauces and toppings. If I run out of icing sugar, I process granulated or caster sugar to a powder.
I often process herbs with a little water, then freeze in ice-cube trays for later use in soups, sauces and stews
A processor is terrific for making bulk quantities of foods. Breadcrumbs, crumble toppings and fresh herbs can be finely chopped then frozen in bags. I often process herbs with a little water, then freeze in ice-cube trays for later use in soups, sauces and stews. For a long-lasting garlic purée, chop about 20 garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt in the processor and whiz for about 30 seconds until smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and process for a few seconds until blended. Put into a screw top jar, pour a little oil on the surface and seal tightly. It will keep in the fridge for up to six weeks.
For a special dinner, I make tasty 'potato crowns' by processing hot boiled potatoes with egg yolks, butter and choux pastry dough , then deep fry spoonfuls of the mixture until golden. A word of warning though - don't make mashed potatoes in the processor as they become gluey and sticky.
I love shortbread, but it can be tricky to make - too much kneading and it becomes tough and greasy. I whiz up the ingredients in the processor into crumbs and tip the crumbs into a buttered baking tin. Press down with the back of a spoon and bake as usual. It's made in seconds and the result is meltingly tender, rich shortbread. The ingredients for those intriguing American 'impossible pie' recipes are whizzed together, poured into a greased pie dish and amazingly, as the mixture cooks, it forms a crust on the base, a filling and a golden topping. Magic - and so easy!
I'd love to hear about any other shortcuts using a food processor.