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Blender/Food processor

I live in a teeny nyc studio and desperately miss my blender and food processor. I've gone through two cheapie blenders in 4 years trying to make hummus with them and am ready to upgrade past the $20 model to something that will handle gazpacho, hummus, the occasional pureed soup, etc. I use the processor aspect more than the blender, but the blender's size/foodprint will fit in my kitchen so..

whats the best ECONOMICAL tool for both? I've been without for over a year so I dont "need" but I miss being able to make basic processor foods, although the actual usage is only about 4-6 times a year. I dont need a beast of a machine and price/footprint is more important than durability and even performance. Basically, I'm looking for a reliable new multipurpose toy! I miss my gazpacho so much in this weather...

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  1. Would a hand-blender be inappropriate?

    1. or one of the smaller volume -- 7 cup or so -- FPs? There was another thread going about best food processor and one of the things I miss about the 1st generation Cuisinarts (which were RobotCoupes) was their small footprint, largely made possible by twisting the cylinder assembly to turn it on, thereby dispensing with the larger footprint required for an on/off switch. I'd at least try to surf ebay or hunt for a late 70s Cuisinart.

      1. "Basically, I'm looking for a new multipurpose toy! I miss my gazpacho..."
        I just posted on another thread, my excitement that my wife just brought home a "Ninja Master Prep Food and Drink Maker." Can't wait to use it. The comments on Chowhound and other reviews around the web are uniformly positive. May take up a little space in an apartment kitchen. (Cost: approx $39.00 at WalMart.) And the Ninja recipe booklet does have a Gazpacho recipe! But I'm posting here because I had a space problem, too, several years ago, and some Chowhounds suggested a hand-held immersion blender. Unfortunately, it turned out to not be very versatile at all and I am just passing on "caution" if you consider going in that direction.
        Good luck,
        Florida Hound

        1. A few months ago, Costco had a Cuisinart multi-purpose thing that had a blender, full sized food processor bowl, and mini-processor bowl that could all be attached to the same base. A friend that bought it has found it to be very useful-- The base has a fairly small footprint on the countertop, but storing all of the attachments takes a bit of space.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chococat

            I bought one of these at CostCo years ago, and it's still a gem. Have ground dried corn in it, crushed ice, and all kinds of basic dough prep, slicing, etc. Great product.

            1. re: chococat

              Just be sure you don't mistakenly purchase the Cuisinart "SmartPower Duet" blender-food processor, which I got from Costco and hate. It comes with only one food processor bowl, which is so undersized I can't fit a pie crust recipe in it.

              The blender is underpowered. How hard can it be to blend a smoothie with frozen fruit, for Pete's sake?

              The motor screams like a banshee and smells like an electrical fire about to happen. I was going to wait for it to finally incinerate itself but I'll probably put it in the donation pile.

            2. I've had good luck with my Cuisinart Mini Prep processor and an immersion blender. Both are close to ten years old. The newer Mini Prep fixed the worst aspect of the original which was removing the blade and flipping it over to switch between chop and grind. It now reverses the blades direction by selecting either chop or grind. The cup size has increased as well as a handle. While it does require loading of food by removing the top it does have holes to add oil etc. The footprint is very small. I've never attempted to chop up ice with my immersion blender but everything else it does very well and excels at hot soups right in the pot. Plus it can store away in a drawer.

              1. I'm in the same situation, I've got a small place and I don't have room for single use devices...

                What are some situations in which I would use a food processor vs. a blender? And does anyone have experience with a machine that does both?

                1. For your purposes and space limitations, a Ninja (such as the other readers recommended) sounds like it might be the perfect solution. They are powerful enough for your gazpacho, and dips and would likely handle your soups for 1-2 people. They are also economical and won't break the bank. I have used one for 2 years now and do love it, although I have the 14 cup Cuisinart Elite (not economical, not a spacesaver and probably overkill for what you described). I recently did come across a decision making guide to assist with deciding on a food processor as well as other gadgets and appliances. This may also assist you in your quest to what suits your purposes: http://www.howtodecide.com/food-proce.... Good Luck!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: momof3boyz3

                    I have never used a Ninja so have no knowledge of it's performance beyond the infomercials but Woot has one on sale today if the OP wants to check it out http://www.woot.com/

                    1. re: momof3boyz3

                      I bought a Ninja a few weeks ago [at a charity shop for a crazy good price] for taking to our son's house. I had given him my 11 cup Cuisinart [that I loved using when I was up there] which is often. Since I'd gotten my MagiMix [also at charity shop for stupidly inexpensive] I felt it ok to part with my cuisinart. Not sure what I did one day trying to make a pasta dough in it, but I somehow broke it. Nothing would turn on so I dumped it at a local take all area and 10 minutes later the entire unit was gone, good home I hoped with someone electrically inclined there. So, I intended to give my son this Ninja unit. I just used it for first time today, not even knowing how it operated as I have no instructions with it. Put in there oj/ff milk/2 pears/apple/banana/carrot/ice cubes. What a great breakfast that was, really good drink. It has a lot of power, not disappointed at all in that aspect, just a little trouble trying to figure out how to use it but think for you it would be a good purchase. Not sure how much they are though online or otherwise......plus this post is probably waaay too late and you've no doubt bought your desired brand. Was hoping for more info on the Ninja's though.

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Well, since I posted about the Ninja in June, 2010, we have come to really enjoy it. Nothing negative at all to say about the Ninja. There are more elaborate Ninja units available via the infomercials and even in WalMart, but our basic Ninja does it all for our drink needs, crushing ice, etc.
                        iL Divo, if you are looking for some specific information I can dig out of the Ninja instruction book or recipe book, I'll try to find the booklets out of wherever- please post if we can help.

                        1. re: Florida Hound

                          FH - Are you talking about the Ninja Total 1100 model?

                          Does the Ninja grind through a clump of frozen banana slices and
                          eventually turning that into a creamy puree? My old Osterizer 641
                          was able to do that with just the banana, easier with a little bit of
                          milk and/or frozen fruit - until it started smoking this evening as well
                          as not working on the slower speeds.

                    2. My BF got me a Ninja for my bday, wow, do I love this thing! I actually felt a liitle mournful, thinking i'll never use my Cuisinart again. Well, I decided to try a rcipe for pipian, in which pumkin seeds are pulverized to a paste. I ended up switching about halfway through, just so i could let the concoction spin on its own while i got the rest together. Anyway, the Ninja is: super solid, feels like quality appliance in your hand, breaks down to small parts, comes with a blender and processor converter (two cannisters, one with a processor blade that attaches to the power handle). I'm probably posting this in the wrong forum, so i apologize if so - i definitely recommend it so far!

                      1. Forgot to add that it is very powerful; I've made two large batches of soup and had to be careful not to liquify all of the veggies!

                        1. You could get a food mill. It is not electric and you would have to turn the crank on top but they are versatile and you can get one with interchangeable discs so you can choose the size you need for each job. It will give you a very smooth chickpea puree for hummous, you can make your gaspacho with the coarse blade or fine, depending on your preferences. You can make tomato sauce and apple sauce without having to peel them first, the thing will hold back the skins. If I am not hand mashing potatoes then they go through the food mill and you get very fluffy potatoes. The food mill does not work up the potato starches as a mixer will. It is easy to store and it should not have to pay more that $50 for one, you can even find them for less if you look around. There are a number at Amazon. The classic Foley does not have interchangeable discs and you probably don't want one that is designed for baby food, too small. Endurance and Good Grips are good choices.

                          1. My condo kitchen counter space could better be measured in square inches than square feet so an appliance has to sit up and bark before I will award it counter space, and I could not cook without my Cuisinart---it sits out all the time. On the other hand, in the last thirty years the only things I have used the blender for (it lives in a closet) are mustard and pina colada.