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Jan 8, 2011 07:34 AM

How can I get better about using my

Cuisinart processor, blender, Kitchen aid mixer etc. I have wonderful tools for the kitchen but have never really used them. I just use my knife and cutting board. I cook "rustic" style according to my sister because I do it by hand and everything is uneven.

I would love to get better at using my processor because that would mean prepping veggies for roasting would be easier, no? Anyway, how did you start? I know I just need to take it out of the closet and just "play around" with it, but usually I am time crunched when I cook and don't want the hassle. Any ideas?

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  1. It was a long time ago, but I remember making mayonnaise was one of the things I learned first and did most often with my Cuisinart. From that came lots of mayo-based sauces. And lots of different things that required running peeled cloves of garlic through the feed tube while the motor was running. And cream soups (though I would eventually use the blender, and now the immersion blender). I still use the Cuisinart to make pastry for tarts.

    I have hardly ever used it for vegetable prep, other than to make cole (or carrot) slaw, or to chop celery, carrot, and canned tomatoes for Bolognese sauce.

    I make bread crumbs in the Cuisinart. But be careful; I broke the knife blade once trying to break down a really thick, hard crust of bread.

    A friend of mine used to cuise cream until it turned into butter.

    Not keeping it in the closet is the first change you need to make if you're going to use your Cuisinart.

    As for the other machines, I'm going to mix pasta dough soon in a K-A, according to Marc Vetri's all-yolk basic pasta dough recipe. And my blender is okay with smoothies--not great, though, with frozen fruit.

    1. In the food processor case, how much it gets use really depends on the individual and what one cooks. I have never found it to be a substitute for knife cutting, except for slicing or shredding very large amounts. If one has good knife skills, it is always faster and the food processor will not yield more even cuttings. If you cook "rustic style" and like large chunks of vegetables, the food processor is useless as a substitute. It has some great uses such as making dough, dips, chopping up meat, grind old bread into crumbs, puree soup if one doesn't have a blender, and probably dozens of other uses that other ingenious cooks will come up with.
      For me, the Kitchen Aid Mixer is mostly for baking and dessert making. Great for all types of dough from single loaf to three, one pie crust to four; whipping cream, egg whites, cookie doughs, cakes. Then there are the optional attachments that will make the appliance infinitely more useful: making pasta, grinding meat for burgers and stuffing sausages.

      1. I've had a Cuisinart for decades, but rarely use it for veg prep - knife and mandoline do a better job. Processors aren't the best for uniform chunks; they work well for slicing and shredding (but mandoline is easier to clean) and pulsing vegetables down into a VERY fine texture or puree. For pureeing soups/sauces, immersion blender is better than processor or blender (no leaking) and, again, easier to clean. The processor is great for dough.

        1. Here are a few things I use my Cuisinart for:
          Slicing Blade for Brussels Sprouts. You can either braise them with butter and wine and shallots or use the shreds to make a slaw with a little red onion, pecorino, pepper and vinegar.
          Regular blade for making roasted veg purees.
          Regular blade for hummus, dips and pesto sauce.
          I use my K.A. a few times a week for cookie dough, cake batter, and candy making.
          I leave both appliances out on the counter for convenience.

          1. <Scratching my head...> It amazes me that people purchase, own, or request for appliances that they don't know the purpose or use of it. I'm not a snob...just perplexed.

            3 Replies
            1. re: letsindulge

              Ok, we're in a world where ice floes are melting because of fossil fuel use. In Massachusetts, where I live, 18% of electricity is produced from nuclear power plants.

              Why would using your Cuisinart, which uses electricity, be "better" than doing things by hand? Why do you have to feel embarrassed about your "rustic" style? Why not just whisk your mayonnaise in the dish in which you'll serve it, instead of pouring the ingredients into the container, pressing a button, and then pouring them out again, giving you something else to wash?

              1. re: femmevox

                I don't know... I just wanted to use what I have. I suppose I could regift it to someone who would use it. I am really a minimalist at heart and don't like to have things that I don't use.

                I was thinking that veggies would prep easier and faster if I knew how to use the stuff. Yesterday, I wanted to make sweet potato fries and took out my mandolin. I was not too happy with the results. Can I prep those in a cuisinart or something else? What about shredding cabbage or carrots? what do I use? By hand, the results are very rustic!

                1. re: lilmomma

                  I often do things by knife as well, but have found that the perfect evenness that comes from the slicing blade is very handy. I've found the thing that works for me as far as really getting the most out of my food processor is to pull it out once and week and do a lot of prep. I tend to shop weekly and have a good idea of what I'll be cooking so I will slice my veggies (and sausages) or grate cheese or do breadcrumbs with the bread I have left over from the previous week and then just pull out handfuls of stuff throughout the week. If your schedule is a bit erratic like mine, it's great to have a day when I have more time to do most of my prep and just throw stuff in a pan the rest of the week.

                  I find I'm more inclined to cook when I'm tired if I've done this and I am now good about taking big salads every day to work because I just grab a handful of whatever veggies appeal to me that day and maybe some cheese or nuts and dump them on top of my greens I have ready to go in a bag as well.

                  When I was trying to figure it out, I bought a bag of carrots for $1, and ran a carrot through each blade to give me an idea of what to expect from each one.

                  I always meant to do all my prep work at once each week before I got a processor, but this made the whole thing WAY easier.