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Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

eepi Nov 20, 2012 04:51 PM

Last year I got my stepdaughters nice food processors for Christmas, and regretted not getting one for myself. That said, I don't even pull out my blender very often, I'm not even sure what a food processor does better than a blender. I am debating whether to ask for one for Christmas this year - on the plus side, it seems like it might save me a lot of prep time, but on the minus side, it would take more time to clean than a knife & cutting board. Another potential plus would be that it might make me more likely to do things like pesto - but a drawback is that it has to be stored somewhere...

So. Do you love your food processor or is it something you really don't use that often? Do you need one in your kitchen? Do I "need" one in mine?

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  1. foodieX2 RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 05:11 PM

    Do you "need" one? Probably not. But it can make your life much easier. The two appliancess I use the most are my immersion blender and my food processor. Here are just a few things I do with mine on a regular basis.

    -Process bulk cheese. I buy big blocks of cheese and shred it myself. Saves me a ton of $$ and I can package/freeze in the quantities I need.
    -chop onions, carrots, celery etc for a variety of dishes.
    -make homemade breadcrumbs
    -puree things my immersion blender can't, ie: roasted tomatoes, eggplant etc for sauce, tapenade, etc
    -slicing or shredding potatoes for chips, homefries, latkes
    - makes slicing large quantities onions a breeze, like for onion soup, caramelized onions, etc

    Just to name a few. All of these things can be done by hand or by mandolin pretty easily so again do you "need" one? Only you can decide

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2
      cheesecake17 RE: foodieX2 Nov 20, 2012 05:18 PM

      I love my food processor and use it for mostly the same tasks. I shred a lot of beets, carrots, onions, potatoes.

      I've used it for pesto, tomato sauce, some soups, hummus, chopping garlic.

      It can also be used for making pizza or tart dough.

      Do you need it? No. Is it a great item to have? Yes!

      1. re: cheesecake17
        foodieX2 RE: cheesecake17 Nov 20, 2012 05:21 PM

        oh yes! hummus! garlic! i forgot those

      2. re: foodieX2
        mdzehnder RE: foodieX2 Dec 10, 2012 11:45 AM

        There are few things I find can be done with a food processor that can't be done with a blender + mandolin (both of which I would still own even if I got a food processor); however, the one time I do find myself wishing for one is in the case of bread crumbs. I generally make my own bread crumbs because they're so much tastier and because I bake a lot so I generally have stale bread around, and I find it nearly impossible (and wildly labor intensive) to make breadcrumbs without one.

        1. re: mdzehnder
          Jay F RE: mdzehnder Dec 10, 2012 12:58 PM

          FAIR WARNING: one crust of Italian bread was so hard, it broke the plastic part of the metal blade in my Cuisinart.

      3. z
        zabriskiepoint RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 05:15 PM

        I am struggling to remember the last time ours saw the light of day. We use a mandoline (Borner V-slicer) quite a bit - way easier to wash up that the FP.

        1. o
          ola RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 05:18 PM

          I only use mine a few times a year but it is well worth it for making latkes at Hanukah (no grated knuckles) and for chutneys and relishes. I use my immersion blender for many of the things I used to do with the food processor.

          1. e
            escondido123 RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 05:26 PM

            I love my food processor. I use mine for making pasta dough, pie crusts, bread crumbs, chopped nuts. Rarely use it for shredding or grating, though it is wonderful for Morning Glory muffins--makes quick work of the zucchini and carrots. I use my small one for pesto and sauces as well as finely chopped garlic/shallot/onion for particular dishes.

            5 Replies
            1. re: escondido123
              justalex RE: escondido123 Nov 21, 2012 08:21 PM

              I love the food processor for pasta dough - so easy!

              1. re: justalex
                escondido123 RE: justalex Nov 21, 2012 08:32 PM

                Exactly. I made my self crazy trying to make the flour volcano with the well to hold the beaten eggs. At some point the wall always broke and then it was a scramble to try and keep it all together. Now, it is so easy. And the same goes for pie crust.

                1. re: escondido123
                  justalex RE: escondido123 Nov 24, 2012 06:36 PM

                  I've never had the courage to make pie crust. You've inspired me to try my hand at making a pie with food processor crust. It sounds fun now! :)

                  1. re: justalex
                    escondido123 RE: justalex Nov 25, 2012 10:33 AM

                    The tricks I learned. Cut butter into smaller cubes and freeze, then dust with flour before adding the FP. Have actual ice water, meaning cup of water with ice in it. Measure out water at last moment. Pulse.

                    1. re: escondido123
                      KarenDW RE: escondido123 Dec 8, 2012 02:38 AM

                      another trick: cut butter into pieces which fit into the FP feed tube. Grate butter, remove from bowl. Switch to chopping blade before pulsing flour and grated butter. Replace 1/2 of water with chilled vodka.

            2. j
              Jeri L RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 05:40 PM

              "Need", no. Love it? Absolutely! Mine really doesn't take that long to clean (it's a Cuisinart Elite)and with it I can do things I would never have done without it..grating raw beets, shredding a whole head of cabbage. Sure, you CAN do that with a V-slicer, but not without risking life and limb. When I got it I cleared out two bags full of kitchen gadgets that it replaced. I never used a blender either, but I use my food processor all the time.

              1. e
                eepi RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 06:41 PM

                Wow, thank you all for the replies! You've given me inspiration! I didn't actually realize you could shred a cabbage with one - that alone might be the selling point. (I have this mission to try to recreate a diner slaw...) Please do keep me posted on the things you love to do with your food processor, and I'll keep you posted if I do get one!

                4 Replies
                1. re: eepi
                  cheesecake17 RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 10:35 AM

                  I've shredded cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts....makes quick work of it all

                  1. re: cheesecake17
                    Mandymac RE: cheesecake17 Nov 29, 2012 02:51 PM

                    Food processor is literally one of my favorite appliances! If you run it under water ASAP after using clean-up is easier.

                    I had a shaved raw brussel sprout salad at a restaurant once and went on a huge kick making those in the food processor. Toss with oil and vinegar and treat like a Cobb salad (eggs, bacon) -- it's wonderful.

                    Salsa is ideal for the food processor.

                    I also free bananas and whirl 'em up with peanut butter and yogurt for a soft-serve like dessert.

                    1. re: Mandymac
                      cheesecake17 RE: Mandymac Nov 29, 2012 05:46 PM

                      I toss the shredded Brussels sprouts its lemon, olive old, feta and pine nuts.

                      I'm going to try the banana soft serve!

                      1. re: Mandymac
                        melpy RE: Mandymac Dec 7, 2012 04:25 AM

                        I agree that clean up can be quite easy, especially if you don't let things harden on it. No more difficult to deal with than a mixing bowl. Some are completely dishwasher safe too.

                  2. d
                    dalewest RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 07:46 PM

                    I have a food processor and don't use it more than a few times of a month but it doesn't take too much space and I just throw the parts in the dishwasher for cleanup.. I use if for quite a variety of tasks:

                    1) Cheese shredding. Great when making things like Lasagna or pizza. Cheaper and better than buying preshredded product.

                    2) Fresh Ground Hamburger. You make your own hamburger pretty quickly by dropping 1 inch (or so) hunks of chuck roast in the machine and pulsing. Make sure you work in batches and chill the meat really well.

                    3) Dough for pizza or bread. It won't make huge bunch but should be enough for a couple of pizzia's anyway.

                    4) Shred cabbage and carrots for Cole Slaw. Easy as can be.

                    5) Spaghetti Sauce. Whiz up a 28oz can of high quality whole tomatos (eg. Muir Glen) and add to sauteed onions and garlic for a nice fresh pasta sauce.

                    1. ipsedixit RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 07:50 PM


                      Never used one. Never found a need for one.

                      1. kaleokahu RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 08:00 PM

                        Hi, eepi:

                        I'm late to the party, but let me ask: How many do you usually cook for?

                        I cook for 2-4 about 360 days/year, and those days the Cuisinart DLC7Pro sits mocking me. I mock it right back. When I do drag it out, I'm never happy with its slicing, and I *hate* the cleanup. It can't be beat for shredding pound quantities of cheese, though.

                        Do you already have a food mill, mixer and mandoline to go with your blender? If so, and you cook small, I would spend my money elsewhere. If one has none of those other tools, I think a FP makes some sense, but you'll still hate cleaning it.


                        1. a
                          apack RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 08:39 PM

                          Depends on the food you prepare. If you have good knife skills and prepare food mainly in small batches then you don't need a food processor. I find that set up and clean up time for the food processor are typically longer than simply slicing, grating, or shredding by hand. The food processor becomes much more useful when making large batches, and is fairly essential for preparations blending several ingredients, such as pesto.

                          1. Jay F RE: eepi Nov 20, 2012 08:58 PM

                            I don't know if you need one. They were the latest rage when I started learning to cook, so I bought one, and it definitely affected the way I cook. My favorite things to make with it today are pesto, mayonnaise, pasta dough, and pâtes brisée et sucrée, but over the last 30 years, I tried making lots of things with the Cuisinart--cakes, even. I used my first one so much over the years, I wore it out.

                            I imagine something would be different about my cooking if there hadn't been Cuisinart, but there was, and it's impossible for me to separate it from my cooking story.

                            1. j
                              John Francis RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 03:38 AM

                              I was given a Cuisinart for Christmas many years ago but somehow never used it for anything. Finally, when moving house, I gave it away. Don't do much of the processing it's best at, and when I do, since I cook mainly for one or two, a stick blender does the job adequately and doesn't take up scarce counter space.

                              That said, I've recently been thinking about getting one. Watching Jacques Pepin use a food processor even for making bread has made me think about it differently, and the new (to me) models with both a full-sized and small bowl are tempting. Counter space? Something would have to give, and maybe it would be my decades-old Kitchenaid stand mixer, still as good as new but possibly redundant.

                              Reading others' comments here, though, I'm inclined to tell myself no and stick with what I have.

                              1. c
                                cleobeach RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 07:34 AM

                                eepi, I am asking myself the same question.

                                For years, I was very much of the opinion that I didn't need one but now I am thinking maybe I want one. I could have gone crazy this summer making pesto, doing peppers and onions for the freezer and I am liking the pizza dough idea. (I am too lazy to do it by hand)

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: cleobeach
                                  Jay F RE: cleobeach Nov 21, 2012 07:46 AM

                                  << doing peppers and onions for the freezer>>

                                  You release a lot of extra strong onion essence when you chop them in a Cuisinart. I never do them this way. Always a knife.

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    cleobeach RE: Jay F Nov 21, 2012 08:24 AM

                                    I didn't know that. What is different about the process that causes that to happen?

                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                      JonParker RE: cleobeach Nov 21, 2012 10:54 AM

                                      I dont think that is true at all

                                      1. re: JonParker
                                        Jay F RE: JonParker Nov 21, 2012 11:27 AM

                                        Then by all means, chop onions in your Cuisinart, Jon.

                                        1. re: Jay F
                                          JonParker RE: Jay F Nov 21, 2012 07:50 PM

                                          I normally do chop by hand because it's not worth messing up an appliance for one or two onions, and I like controlling the size of my dice. I do use the FP when cooking for large groups. Once I made Christmas dinner where four of my recipes called for chopped shallot, and I did them all at once in the processor. Last week I cooked for a church group of 30 people, and i also did my shallots in the FP. I notice no difference in flavor at all.

                                          I find the idea that using the FP for chopping onions affects the flavor not only contradictory to my experience but frankly silly. What does help in cutting down the suphuric tang is a quick cold water rinse after chopping, a trick I picked up from Rick Bayless.

                                      2. re: cleobeach
                                        Jay F RE: cleobeach Nov 21, 2012 11:29 AM

                                        It releases more sulfur, IIRC. It may not bother those who like the smell of raw onions, which I do not.

                                        1. re: cleobeach
                                          kaleokahu RE: cleobeach Nov 21, 2012 12:22 PM

                                          It's the same thing that happens when you hand-grate onions--juice and a LOT more surface area is exposed. Considerably stronger than hand-cut because the hand-cut dice is more uniform. In the FP, the finer particles are mush before the biggest ones are small enough.

                                          1. re: kaleokahu
                                            Jay F RE: kaleokahu Nov 21, 2012 02:00 PM

                                            Thanks, K. Perfect explanation.

                                    2. juliejulez RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 08:05 AM

                                      I have a nice Cuisinart but I find myself only using it a few times a year. I do only cook for 2 people and many dishes I make are pretty simple, so that could be why. We have a VitaMix that I use if I ever want to puree something, and a KitchenAid mixer to mix stuff and grind meat. In the time it takes to get it out, put it together, and then clean it, I can just do most things by hand. But, again, I only cook for two mostly so I rarely need to chop large quantities of things.... rarely do more than one onion at a time etc.

                                      I should start buying block cheese and use the food processor to grate it though. I also might utilize it to slice potatoes for tomorrow. My kitchen was in storage all summer but next summer I'll probably make my own pestos with it.

                                      I will also say I used to have one of those mini food processors that just chops stuff and it was handy. I got rid of it during a move but I might go get another one.

                                      1. a
                                        apack RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 08:25 AM

                                        I don't understand why so many people want to use their food processor to shred cheese in bulk. I have a set of microplane hand graters and a good box greater, and I can grate/shred exactly the amount of cheese I need in exactly the cut I want in 3 minutes flat. Cheese stays much fresher in wheels/blocks rather than shredded.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: apack
                                          cheesecake17 RE: apack Nov 21, 2012 10:38 AM

                                          Because its easier to shred 5lbs at a time and freeze it, take it out when you need it.

                                          1. re: cheesecake17
                                            apack RE: cheesecake17 Nov 21, 2012 11:11 AM

                                            That does not sound good to me. I would much rather have fresh cheese. Personal tastes vary, of course.

                                            1. re: apack
                                              cheesecake17 RE: apack Nov 21, 2012 11:28 AM

                                              When it's baked into lasagna it tastes the same.

                                              Also... When time is limited, it's fine for me

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                apack RE: cheesecake17 Nov 21, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                Definitely can see the value for times when you need a lot of cheese, like for lasagna. Here we're usually eating cheese plain, or using it as a distinct ingredient like in salads or sandwiches.

                                                1. re: apack
                                                  cheesecake17 RE: apack Nov 21, 2012 02:43 PM

                                                  I keep a piece of mozzarella in the fridge. Also in the fridge are individually wrapped mozzarella sticks, feta, Brie, and other "eating" cheeses.

                                                  But when you gotta get dinner on the table.... And dinner includes cheese.. It's easier to pull it out of the freezer

                                              2. re: apack
                                                Jay F RE: apack Nov 21, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                I'm with you, apack. Frozen shredded cheese? Why not just buy shredded cheese at the store if having shredded cheese is so important.

                                                But you've reminded me that I do shred cheese for mac & cheese in my Cuisinart (as needed).

                                                1. re: Jay F
                                                  tcamp RE: Jay F Nov 22, 2012 06:44 AM

                                                  Because block cheese is often less expensive, because some types of cheese are not available pre-shredded (I use swiss for a cheese pie), and because shredded is often of a lesser quality than block - at a higher price.

                                                  I do shred by hand for small quantities but for family meals or cooking for a team's worth of kids, machine shredding is a big timesaver.

                                                  1. re: Jay F
                                                    reptilegrrl RE: Jay F Nov 25, 2012 06:42 PM

                                                    Shredded cheese is more expensive, is less moist, has anti-caking agents added, doesn't keep as long in the fridge, etc. I like buying it by the block and shredding my own. That's "why not just buy shredded cheese at the store."

                                                    In my house we buy most cheeses by the large chunk and store them in the fridge, in glass bowls with tight-sealing lids. They stay fresh for a very long time, and we can shred or slice as much as we want, easily.

                                            2. s
                                              Sharuf RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 08:34 AM

                                              Since Santa never gave me a FP I learned to use my blender to the max.

                                              puree-type soups

                                              1. b
                                                beanodc RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                I cook primarily for 2 and still use my FP all the time. I have a blender that I use infrequently and don't own a stand mixer. I throw all parts of my FP in the dish washer so cleanup is very easy. Had a mandoline and got rid of it, have a food mill someplace and could get rid of it. The food processor is the one electrical appliance I use all the time. I use it for all the reasons previously stated.

                                                1. e
                                                  escondido123 RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                  If you only use the metal blade, and forget about grating and shredding, you will find there are a lot of things it does better and quicker than any other method--anything that needs to be finely chopped, made into a paste, butter cut in. Great for mushroom duxelle, pate of any kind, all doughs, pulverized hard cheeses.

                                                  1. JonParker RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 10:59 AM

                                                    I use it almost daily. One of my favorite uses is for pureeing hot sauces.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: JonParker
                                                      apack RE: JonParker Nov 21, 2012 11:13 AM

                                                      An immersion blender is quicker, easier, and safer for pureeing hot sauces.

                                                      1. re: apack
                                                        JonParker RE: apack Nov 21, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                        I read your reply and wondered why it would be safer, then I realized that I was unclear. I meant hot sauces like habanero sauce, not boiling liquids.

                                                    2. k
                                                      kseiverd RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                      Is it a HAVE TO HAVE appliance... probably not. I probably only use mine 2-3 times a month, but what I use it for makes it worth the space it takes up on kitchen rack.

                                                      May be NUTS, but think block cheese shredded has much more flavor than pre-shredded stuff in a bag... food processor is absolutely needed for that.

                                                      Actually have TWO Cuisinart models. First one, bought as a gift to myself several years ago, after going thru 1-2 brands I really can't recall. Was very happy with having something that actually had some power. When I saw another one (with all blades and slicing/shredding discs) at a THRIFT STORE for $8... snapped that up... origiinally think just for the extra bowl. It ran fine and was CLEAN... once I got it home, realized it was a step UP from what I already had.

                                                      For small amounts of slicing/diciing (most times}, will use a knife or inextensive mandolin that could still do damage to fingers is not careful.

                                                      1. c
                                                        christy319 RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                        I use mine constantly. Pasta dough, pie dough, chopping nuts and breadcrumbs, pureeing soups and cooked salsas, grinding meat, shredding potatos for latkes, shredding veggies for slaws, making pesto and other sauces...

                                                        I don't, however, generally chop veggies in it. I like the nice uniform pieces you get when you use a knife. If you need veggies minced, however, that would be fine.

                                                        BUT. I generally don't buy something unless I have, regularly, identified a need for it. If you haven't come across numerous recipes that call for one; if you haven't found yourself saying, gee, this would be easier if I had a FP, then you probably don't need one.

                                                        (PS...I don't know why some people have linked FP use and the number of people you are cooking for. Mine got a workout when I was single. In fact I think it's less great for cooking for a crowd--the bowl isn't THAT big.)

                                                        I also am baffled by the people that don't like the cleanup. There's nothing to it. It's not an item with many complicated parts. It's nothing like trying to clean your food mill or mandolin.

                                                        1. d
                                                          Dcfoodblog RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                          It really depends on what you like to cook. I love making dips for parties and a food processor does a whole lot better than a blender for me. A blender can't really make something with a thick consistency like hummus or a carrot-walnut pate. Between my immersion blender and food processor, I have everything I need. But if you like things like smoothies and daquiris, then you absolutely need to have a blender.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Dcfoodblog
                                                            cheesecake17 RE: Dcfoodblog Nov 21, 2012 02:45 PM

                                                            Carrot walnut page... How do you make that??!!

                                                          2. k
                                                            kengk RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                            I have one and seldom use it. Maybe two or three times in the past five years.

                                                            1. f
                                                              FrankJBN RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 12:38 PM

                                                              A food processors are far more than a blender and even does most things a blender can do better than a blender.

                                                              That said, no, you don't need one. Almost everything one does can be done by hand.

                                                              1. junescook RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                I use our Cuisinart regularly for things like bean dips, hummus, slaws, etc. DW uses it especially in late summer to process raw tomatoes, herbs and other stuff out of the garden to put up about 35 quarts of sauce per year.

                                                                1. Manassas64 RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 02:39 PM

                                                                  I struggled for years without it and don't know why. I have a KitchenAid and love it. My only regret (with all kitchen things that I've bought early on) is that I went too small. I'm single and thought I wouldn't need a bigger one, but recipes are meant for 4-6 people. I have a 9 cup and I really need an 11 or 13 cup for a lot of recipes. The 9 just barely makes the cut most of the time and I have to leave a little out until it's chopped down.

                                                                  I use this several times a week. I make an egg custard dish that I need to process the ricotta and cottage cheese into a smooth paste. (It's a crustless quiche from Cooking Light is anyone wants it).

                                                                  I also have the little mini chopper that's 2 cups. I use that regularly, too.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Manassas64
                                                                    reptilegrrl RE: Manassas64 Nov 25, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                    I want it! I see the words "egg custard" "ricotta" and "cottage cheese" together and I'm hooked!

                                                                    1. re: reptilegrrl
                                                                      Manassas64 RE: reptilegrrl Nov 26, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                                      Crustless Smoked Turkey and Spinach Quiche
                                                                      from Cooking Light


                                                                      1. re: Manassas64
                                                                        reptilegrrl RE: Manassas64 Nov 26, 2012 02:41 PM


                                                                  2. steve h. RE: eepi Nov 21, 2012 03:05 PM

                                                                    Do you need a food processor? No. Is a food processor useful? It can be.

                                                                    If you have space on your counter, a food processor will be handy and very useful. You'll discover tons of applications. Keep it in the closet and not so much.

                                                                    My wife bought a fancy one that we keep in the pantry. I don't use it very much.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: steve h.
                                                                      escondido123 RE: steve h. Nov 21, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                                      My large FP is in the pantry down the hall. My small one is in a drawer in the kitchen. I consider getting the big one a little exercise and use it whenever I need it.

                                                                    2. mrsfury RE: eepi Nov 22, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                                      I had one for years and used it maybe five times. I gave it away a couple of years ago and do not miss it one bit. We have a blender but don't use that very much either. If I had more than two people to cook for I might use one. I love to cook but cleaning, not so much.

                                                                      1. chefathome RE: eepi Nov 24, 2012 07:20 PM

                                                                        I use mine nearly daily and do not find it a chore to clean whatsoever. It is used so often it takes seconds to assemble and take apart. My favourite uses are to mince dried and re-constituted peppers (especially hot), make spicy pastes and Sriracha sauce, mince lemongrass, etc. It is so handy for large batches of slaws. I do not use it for pesto as my mortar and pestle is superior for that job. I often use the pulse feature when making pasta dough and chopping lots of nuts. It is a workhorse in my kitchen.

                                                                        1. cowboyardee RE: eepi Nov 24, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                          I have one and almost never use it. I do pull it out for the cook's illustrated style pie crust but thats about it.

                                                                          Of note though, I do use a blender quite a bit.

                                                                          1. Candy RE: eepi Nov 25, 2012 10:09 AM

                                                                            I have been using a Cuisinart food processor for 35 years, my husband and I use it at least once a week if not more often. I've never seen a blender, regular or stick/immersion that can handle dough, slice vegetables neatly, grate cheese and so on. I sell kitchen appliances as many people on CH know and teach cooking classes occasionaly, I can't imagine working in a kitchen without one, and yes I do have very good knives that get constant use too.

                                                                            1. e
                                                                              escondido123 RE: eepi Nov 25, 2012 10:41 AM

                                                                              As to the question of washing it, I find that if I do my work in the right order I only have to really wash it once. For example, if I'm making lasagna, I do the dough first, which leaves the FP bowl basically clean. Then I do the dry cheeses, Romano and Parmigiano until they are finely chopped, followed by processing my whole tomatoes and scraping into pan for cooking. A quick rinse and then the ricotta is combined with basil, Parmigiano and some butter and set aside for later. Only then does it get washed--often in the dishwasher.

                                                                              1. r
                                                                                reptilegrrl RE: eepi Nov 25, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                                                I love my food processor. I cooked for years without one, then got one, used it for years, then went without for a few years when it died. I much prefer having one.

                                                                                I use it for pesto (all sorts) for sauces, for pastes (hummus, baba ganoush, and similar), for pate, for pie crust, pureeing veggies for various uses (like gnocchi) , for custard, for grating large amounts of vegetables or cheese (I use grated/shredded veggies for a LOT of things, so I am not going into specific recipes here . . . but let's say, potatoes au gratin, zucchini nests, latkes, etc), for dicing or mincing large amounts of vegetables or combinations of vegetables . . . all sorts of things!

                                                                                You can use a mandolin for some of these things, but for mincing a large amount of veg, I like the food processor. I find that I use it more than I use the blender, because it is better for pureeing solid/dry-ish things like squash: the flat bottom and large blade mean more food gets done more evenly, and it makes it easy to decant the pureed food..

                                                                                Also, mine is dishwasher-safe, in the top rack. So it doesn't take long to clean at all. I would say that the food processor is up there with the dishwasher in terms of favorite appliances. It may not always save time, but it saves me ENERGY and that is just as important; if a task can be done with less energy in the same amount of time, I am all for it.

                                                                                Also . . . my first food processor was a Hamilton Beach, and it served me well. But for Xmas last year my SiL got me a Black & Decker, and their customer service has been great. The shredding/slicing blade broke about three months after Xmas and they sent me a new one with no hassle, no questions asked. That's impressive.

                                                                                1. q
                                                                                  Querencia RE: eepi Nov 25, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                                                  I have a tiny condo kitchen with almost no counter space so I am very particular what I give space to but I couldn't manage without my Cuisinart. I use it 1) to mix pastries, doughs, and batters almost instantly; 2) to shred cabbage and other vegetables for slaw; 3) to puree onion for quiche 4) to puree onion and green pepper for meatloaf; 5) to make hummos; 6) to make marzipan; 7) to make pesto; 8) to shred cheese; 9) to grate carrots.; 10) to make gazpacho. As for difficulty in cleaning, that is zero. I rinse the workbowl out then put all parts in the dishwasher.

                                                                                  1. westsidegal RE: eepi Nov 25, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                                                    i don't think my food processor has been taken out of its drawer for at least 2 years.
                                                                                    my blender, on the other hand, gets used a couple of times daily.
                                                                                    some of the processor uses that others have described, such as making pesto, i do with my blender.

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                      Jay F RE: westsidegal Nov 25, 2012 07:19 PM

                                                                                      I might use my blender more if it were as easy to clean as my Cuisinart. But it isn't.

                                                                                      1. re: Jay F
                                                                                        foodieX2 RE: Jay F Nov 26, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                                                        Agreed! Plus I find that my blender does a lousy job with realy thick things, I have to work too hard to get it all blended. So for processing things like carrots soups, pestos, pureed tomatoes, etc it's either my immersion blender or the food processor.

                                                                                        I am am curious, what do some of you find so hard about cleaning the cusinart? A quick rinse is all mine really needs. No hards spots to reach and if its really dirty its dishwasher safe too.

                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                          Jay F RE: foodieX2 Nov 26, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                          <<I am am curious, what do some of you find so hard about cleaning the cusinart?>>

                                                                                          I've always wondered about this, too. I rinse, dry if needed, and on to the next task.

                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                            juliejulez RE: foodieX2 Nov 26, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                            I say it's hard to clean because I'm comparing it to a knife :) More parts and it takes up a lot of room in the dishwasher. A knife just takes a quick rinse, a few swipes with a soapy sponge, another rinse, then dried, and back in the drawer.

                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                              foodieX2 RE: juliejulez Nov 26, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                                                              Just like my cuisinart! It rarely is dirty enough fir the machine.

                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                escondido123 RE: juliejulez Nov 26, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                                                                But then you also would have to clean the surface upon which you did the preparation and you might well have to clean the bowl into which you put that ingredient. If I'm making pate, a FP is the simplest way to do it and uses the fewest tools.

                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                  juliejulez RE: escondido123 Nov 26, 2012 07:57 PM

                                                                                                  Ah see as I mentioned above, I never make things like pate :) I do pretty simple recipes for the most part and cook small quantities for 2 people, so while I have a Cuisinart, I rarely find the need to use it. As for cleaning the cutting surface, I just give my wood cutting board a quick wipe down, and it's large so I rarely need a separate bowl to put the cut items into, I just carry them by hand to the pot or wherever their destination is.

                                                                                                  The usefulness of a food processor all depends on what kind of cooking you do.

                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                    shallots RE: juliejulez Dec 18, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                    Not all pates are classic pates.

                                                                                                    For leftover ham bits, when we're tired of jambalaya and ham fried rice, the leftovers get a total new lease on life when processed with cream cheese and/or butter and a few capers. Ham spread may be more loved by my husband than ham itself.

                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                      juliejulez RE: juliejulez Dec 18, 2012 03:03 PM

                                                                                                      BTW I used my food processor this weekend to make no bake peanut butter squares. It did make the crust part (which involves pulverizing graham crackers into crumbs, then combining it with melted peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar) a lot simpler.

                                                                                                      BUT, I still maintain it's a pain to clean. In this instance, little sticky bits of peanut butter gunk got into just about every nook and cranny possible.

                                                                                              2. re: Jay F
                                                                                                westsidegal RE: Jay F Dec 7, 2012 07:40 PM

                                                                                                a couple of things about my blender:
                                                                                                1) since it has an all steel 600 watt motor, it is pretty powerful
                                                                                                2) for cleaning i unscrew the plastic collar at the bottom of the blender jar and put the jar, the bottom and the rubber gasket in my dishwasher.
                                                                                                3) it has a special setting for thick things that has the blade turning one way and then reversing direction while speeding up and slowing down. i find this works better than my food processor for thick things.

                                                                                                1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                  shallots RE: Jay F Dec 18, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                                                  Because I got tired of breaking down my blender into so many parts (and the gasket), I got an immersion blender which is SO much easier to clean.

                                                                                                  My processor is for larger efforts. (It has to be worth the effort for clean up) and I've been award of my personal Klutz factor and have only considered mandolins from a safe distance.

                                                                                                  1. re: shallots
                                                                                                    Jay F RE: shallots Dec 18, 2012 01:54 PM

                                                                                                    I'd forgotten about those FPs with all the parts. I gave that Cuisinart away, and went back to using another of the original, simpler version.

                                                                                              3. j
                                                                                                Jerseygirl27 RE: eepi Nov 29, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                                                I couldn't survive the holidays without it. All those Christmas cookie recipies that start with "blend butter and sugar with a fork" are faster and easier with the food processor and you don't have to worry that your butter isn't soft enough. Plus, it produces nonmessy nut chopping and chocolate chopping. I make 2 dips in minutes (clam dip and blue cheese dip) and then break up the cornflakes for chicken fingers. I don't use it as much for soup since I got an immersion blender, but do use it at least once a week. It makes a great cranberry relish. Once I couldn't find ground lamb so made my own for seekh kebabs.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Jerseygirl27
                                                                                                  roro808 RE: Jerseygirl27 Dec 7, 2012 12:23 AM

                                                                                                  I find the simple chopping and kneading as relaxing and enjoyable process in the kitchen... you can pour the love into it....:)

                                                                                                  1. re: roro808
                                                                                                    foodieX2 RE: roro808 Dec 7, 2012 04:17 AM

                                                                                                    I agree but (in my life) the reality is that I don't always have the time to do it. Thats whree so many of my kitchen conveniences come in.

                                                                                                    When I have the time I love the process of bread making, especially for things like Easter bread and other holiday specialities. Same with so many other foods. When I have a whole Sunday or weekend to cook I often take the "longer" route because I enjoy the puttering around, using my hands, the whole act of cooking.

                                                                                                    But much more often its about getting a good healthy meal on the table after working all day. So my food processor makes that easier. With my FP I can have veggies prepped and frozen, or at least ready to go in minutes, Cheese for lasagna is already shredded and ready to use. My bread maker means that the pizza dough is ready when I walk in the door on a Friday night. The nicest is have my sweet dough ready when I wake up on Christmas morning and just needs a quick roll and a sprinkle of butter, cinnamon and sugar for my cinnamon rolls.

                                                                                                    So again does any one "need" a FP. Probably not. But they sure are handy to own if you have the $$ and the room!

                                                                                                2. n
                                                                                                  NE_Elaine RE: eepi Dec 7, 2012 04:57 AM

                                                                                                  I buy very few gadgets and make few impulse purchases and I am single so I don't cook a lot every day. I did buy a FP a number of years ago and it is one of my go-to appliances. I use it for grating veggies and mushroom stuffings, pastry dough, shredding cheese and cabbage.

                                                                                                  I can do everything the FP does by hand, but the FP does make it much quicker and easier. I use it quite a bit for holidays and parties. I do have a blender, but don't think I have used it in 10 years.

                                                                                                  1. cosmogrrl RE: eepi Dec 7, 2012 09:11 PM

                                                                                                    My kitchen is about 9 x 8, very tiny. So I have very few gadgets. But I LOVE my food processor! In fact I have two, one small and a regular sized one. I use the regular sized one for shredding all the stuffs, making pie dough, pureeing soups, etc. And the small one for pesto, salad dressings, and for nuts.

                                                                                                    When not in use the large one just goes on top of my fridge, and the small one fits on my counter.

                                                                                                    I adore mine!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                                                      1sweetpea RE: cosmogrrl Dec 10, 2012 12:26 PM

                                                                                                      I have a bunch of gadgets. The most used is the food processor, with the Vita Mix and immersion blender trailing slightly. My food processor got a workout this past weekend, producing two batches each of cranberry-maple sauce and a hazelnut-chocolate spread, plus I pureed canned whole plum tomatoes for a chunky tomato-fennel soup.

                                                                                                      I cook quite a bit and would say that the food processor is an essential item in MY kitchen. The Vita Mix and immersion blender are also very handy, but if I had to choose only two of the appliances, I'd go with the food processor and Vita Mix.

                                                                                                    2. m
                                                                                                      MagicMarkR RE: eepi Dec 11, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                      I have an older model Cuisinart which I use infrequently, but love having it. It is one of those things that is a blessing when you need it. I do not use it much because I hate the extra clean up, though it does go in the dishwasher. I use it to finely chop nuts, or if I want to make breadcrumbs from a piece of old bread. For large scale slicing, like if you need to slice a large number of onions, or potatos, it's great.
                                                                                                      I completely share your "cons" but think the "pros" outweigh.
                                                                                                      I wouldn't even compare it to a blender since for most needs things they are so different, by which I mean just because you do not get out your blender does not mean you will not get out your food processor. And heck, let it sit on your counter: basic models are not so large.

                                                                                                      1. Manassas64 RE: eepi Dec 18, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                        I've been making Christmas cookies this week, many of them from the Fine Cooking holiday cookies magazine.

                                                                                                        About half of the recipes I made were in the food processor because they are more of a dough than a cookie batter.

                                                                                                        Before getting my food processor, I never would have been able to make these cookies, and as easily as I did. And I would have missed out on some wonderful Linzer Cookies in the process ;o)

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