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New kitchen toys - how do you use?

  • f

Hi - thanks to the generoisity of my daughter I have two new toys - a food processor and a V-slicer. So far I have used the processor to make salmon pate and a cream soup (couliflower) and the V-slicer for scalloped potatoes. I have heard processors are good for pie crust - is this true? Do you all have suggestions on how to have useful, tasty fun with my new toys?

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  1. I always use the food processor to make:
    pizza. pie and pasta doughs

    If you are so inclined, try to find Abby Mandel's Cuisinart Classroom cookbook. Out of print, but filled with some great techniques and recipes for any course of your meal.

    Nowadays, I slice almost all of my veggies with the v-slicer. Everything cooks at the same time, and for raw applications, they are just prettier. Mine is easy to wash, so it is not hard to pull out for simple tasks. Some examples would be sliced cucumber for a smoked salmon appetizer, sliced potatoes for potato chips, cabbage for cole slaw, zucchini pasta strings, thinly sliced fennel for orange/fennel salads. Really, your imagination is your guide here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      What brand is your v-slicer? I've been browsing for awhile, and it seems few are universally loved. Thanks!

      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

        I bought this OXO model from the Williams-Sonoma post Christmas present return table for $10 a couple of years ago. Four depth settings and 6 different blades.


    2. Pie crust in the food processor, so quick and easy you'll be making pie all the time.
      Carrots shredded for carrot cake or vegetable fritters
      Mayo or hollandaise or aioli
      Chick peas for falafel
      Sweet or savory yeasted bread doughs
      Quick breads
      Cake batter and cake icing
      Dips, vinaigrettes and spreads
      Grated cheese

      Have fun!

      1. I like to use the food processor to make mirapoix, aka minced, onion, carrot and celery, for spaghetti sauce. And if I only have whole peeled tomatoes, I chop them in the processor too with some fresh herbs. It really speeds things up.

        1. So much you can do with a food processor...a lot of great suggestions from the other posters so I won't add but most processors come with a little book. I'm surprised yours didn't say anything about pie crust, especially if there are dough recipes in it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cherylptw

            Actually the little book only had three recipes in it - not too helpful!

          2. The processor is a must for curries for 20+ people. You can dice/chop tons of onions and tomatoes (and other vegetables) in seconds.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Haha how many tons in how many seconds, Sam?

              Try this one--I loved it:

              Roasted Carrot Dip from Passionate Vegetarian

              1 lb. carrots, peeled
              1 large red onion, quartered, skin on
              1 head garlic, sliced crosswise
              2 Tblsp. olive oil
              1 Tblsp. tamari or shoyu soy sauce
              2 tsp. ground cumin
              2 tsp. paprika
              pinch cayenne
              1-4 Tblsp. vegetable stock, water, or olive oil
              Salt & Pepper to taste

              Preheat oven to 375. Blanch carrots in boiling water for 4-6 minutes, then drain. In large baking dish, toss carrots, onion and garlic with 1 Tblsp. olive oil. Add 1 Tblsp soy sauce and toss again, keeping cut side of vegetables down. Roast for 40 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic from papery skins, remove outer layer of onion skin and ends, throw into food processor with spices, pulsing to combine. Add one tablespoon water or olive oil at a time until smooth, seasoning to taste with more soy, salt and pepper... Serve with crackers, pita, etc.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                The last time I made Hazan's Bolognese I used the FP for the carrots (I make a quintuple recipe and that was three plus cups of carrots). Boy, that made a big job at least a little smaller.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  I always use it to slice onions when I am going to caramelize a big batch. Twenty minutes of tearful slicing on a cutting board vs. a couple minutes with the processor.

                2. Food processors are great for chopping nuts finely without turning them into nut butter, for making quick fresh salsas when tomatoes are in season, for shredding vegetables and for slicing cabbage thin to braise or for coleslaw, pureeing things, and so much more.

                  There are lots of recipes for pie and pastry crusts that call for using a food processor, but the main thing to know is that you are letting the steel blade do the work of cutting the fat into the flour. You pulse a couple of times to mix the flour, salt, and sugar if you use it, then add cold butter in pieces and pulse to cut it in until you have the texture you want (coarse meal, small peas, etc.). Many recipes have you add the water and process the dough, but it is easy to overprocess, so it can be better to dump it into the bowl and mix in the water with a fork, as you would if you are doing the whole thing by hand.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Agreed - Cooks Illustrated came to the same conlusion a few years ago. If the pie dough forms a ball in the processor, it is overprocessed

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Yeah, it is possible to do it all in the processor if you do it carefully and stop when it starts to clump, before it is a ball, but you have more control if you do it in a bowl.

                  2. Fi: Oh, my!!! You need to use your food processor for a much-celebrated recipe from Goodhealthgourmet on this board, Smoky Black Bean Dip...really awesome:


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Val

                      You can also make your own breadcrumbs in the FP (so easy and so much tastier than the commercial stuff). Just tear up the ends of bread and toss them in and pulse a few times until it reaches the texture you want.

                      1. re: Rasam

                        I usually use my blender for bread crumbs...but I agree, homemade is much better...for me, using blender is easier because there are less parts to clean, easier to pull out from cabinet, etc. 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other, you know?

                      2. re: Val

                        Whenever I make pinto beans I double and make bean dip with half - just cooked pintos, cooking liquid and extra jalapenos & salt make for a great dip.

                      3. I was terrified of my mandoline for years after I got it :) But I'm using it alot more now but am still super careful.

                        As for the FP, I'm close friends with the "pulse" button. Much harder to overprocess that way.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one! I've NEVER used my mandoline, purchased from Wms Sonoma over 15 yrs ago. Admitting this is like shedding a layer of shame. Suggestions?

                          1. re: lifespan

                            Funny :) I'm most comfortable doing potatoes. They not so super hard so the "guard thingy" holds them securely. But still nervous.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I vow to start with a single potato and work from there. This morning I located a box in my basement where the mandoline is stored. A good first step. Haven't cut myself yet! :)

                              1. re: lifespan

                                Last sentence made me smile. Fry those potatoes slices in some duck fat. That will be a great reward for your bravery. Let us know.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                I have the Benriner mandoline and don't use a guard -- I ordered on line a cut resistant glove ($25) and it's great. I now also wear it when using my microplane box grater because, otherwise, I skin some of my knuckle. (I got this rec from CH, here's where I ordered: http://www.askthemeatman.com/cut_resi...
                                )I like to make that yam dish with the cream and chipotle pepper and using this glove and mandoline makes it easy and safe.

                              3. re: lifespan

                                My Borner V-Slicer, which has a good safety holder, is my absolute favorite toy! It cuts 2 thicknesses of slice, and two sizes of shred. Between them, it produces very attractive vegetables and fruits.

                            2. Thanks for all the great suggestions - I am looking forward to playing!

                              1 Reply