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Posts by The Food Expert

Get Cooking with The Breville Handheld Food Processor

Should you get a blender or a food processor? But then, you might also need to purchase a separate whisk. Considering countertop and storage space, not to mention the budget, you may find yourself caught in this dilemma — choosing among the many options, which equipment to add to your kitchen. The thing is, most of the time, it’s not a battle of one over the other; they can’t completely replace with each other anyways. You can’t use a blender to slice your carrots after all. But then, if you bought all of them, you’d run out of kitchen space. What should you do then? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one equipment that would relieve you of this quandary? You may have finally come across the answer with this awesome food processing station from Breville, maker of some of the most trusted professional cooking appliances.

The Breville BSB530XL All-in-One Processing Station combines multi-functionality and convenience to deliver more than what its name promises without draining your bank account dry. It offers the convenience of taking care of majority of your food preparation needs plus some.

All-in-One Multi-functionality

If you’re looking for a kitchen appliance that can aid you in your food preparation tasks and would prefer to purchase one unit instead of several, the Breville BSB530XL All-in-One Processing Station may be what you’re looking for. It is a food processor, electric whisk, immersion blender, and electric masher, all combined in this brilliant food processing equipment. For just the price of one, you can blend, chop, mash, slice, puree, and whisk. Simply choose from among the different attachments included in this unit and you’re good to go.

Power and Control in its Handle

After a quick glance at this unit, you’ll notice it’s uniqueness compared with most food processor models. That can mostly be attributed to the detachable handle, which serves two purposes. First, as a grip which is ergonomically designed to increases convenience of use, particularly your control to ensure less mess. Second, it houses the powerful 280 watt motor to which the attachments are connected. Unlike most food processor models, which places the motor at the base of the unit, the Breville BSB530XL’s powerhouse is located at the handle itself. What’s more to love is that it features a 15 speed setting for precise control when processing or blending.

The Breville All-In-One Processing Station also features a anti-suction blending tecnology which combines a “unique, bell-shaped blending base with specially placed internal ribbing to reduce suction blending.” The internal ribs of the blade system create turbulence which makes sure the food falls onto the blades, thus reducing suction to the bottom of the bowl. Sounds too technical for you? It basically means that this feature provides you greater control, more uniform results, more efficient blending, less messes. Plus, it features soft touch finish for less user hand stress. Isn’t that what we all want from a kitchen help?

Breville All-In-One Processing Station is an 8-piece unit which includes:
• 1 – Food processor bowl attachment
• 1 – Immersion blender
• 1 – All-in-One storage station accessory
• 2 – Cutting discs – 1 reversible shredding, 1 adjustable slicing
• 1 – Micro-serrated “S” blade
• 1 – Whisk attachment
• 1 – Variable mashing attachment

Food Processing

Breville BSB530XL can be equipped with one of the several blade and discs for food processing needs. You can choose from among the following: a micro-serrated S-blade, a reversible shredding disc, or a slicing disc. The S-blade, which is standard for food processors, is used for dicing and chopping tasks. For shredding vegetables, you can choose the reversible shredding disc. One side is for fine shredding; the other is for coarse shredding. The slicing disc that comes with the unit allows you to choose from among 19 thickness settings from 0.5 mm to 6.0 mm. The unit comes with a 6-cup food processing bowl, perfect for a regular cook’s needs, i.e. you can easily feed a regular sized family. If you need a food processor with a larger capacity, you may want to check out the Breville Sous Chef, another awesome creation from Breville.

Electric Masher

Mashing vegetables is now a switch away with the Breville BSB530XL mashing attachment. You can even choose how fine or coarse your products to be, thanks to the twist-adjusting head to create fine, medium or coarse mash textures.

Electric Whisk

Switch to whisking eggs and whipped creams with the metal balloon whisk and enjoy easy-breezy food preparation for your favorite recipes.

Immersion Blender and Ice Crusher

For regular portions of soups, smoothies, and sauces, an immersion blender is the perfect choice to go to for help. It’s compact, thus easier to store, and more convenient than a traditional jug blender. Simply stick into your pan and blend away. With the 8″ stainless steel blending leg (i.e. blending depth) with a non-skid immersion blender base, you can blend and puree without damaging your pots and pans.

It also comes with ice crushing blades to perfect your smoothies and shakes. Crushing ice can take a toll on your blades. And if you’re device is not fit for the task, you may end up with damaged blades or melting ice instead of crushing it. Thankfully the BSB530XL was designed for that so you can rest assured that you’ll end up cooling off with a perfect smoothie rather than an unintended juice.

Easy to Clean and Convenient to Store

The unit is easy to clean as all attachments are dishwasher safe and the food processor has a removable gear box for better cleaning. The model also comes with blade cover for additional protection and safety.

Versatility, convenience, and portability are the major highlights of this Breville creation. You can leave the multi-tasking to the BSB530XL All-in-One Processing Station and enjoy
your fluffy whipped cream, smooth smoothies, soups, salsa and dips or even baby food, as much as you want with less the hassle.

Meat Slicers

If you’re a big fan of barbequed meats, or just any meats in general, I can promise that you’ll probably want a decent meat slicer to help you prepare your meats, especially with barbeque season already upon us! From chopping up sausages, to grinding up ground beef, a meat slicer will serve you as well as any other tool would, if you frequently count meats on your plates at dinner. These tools open up a lot of new potential recipes that could be difficult to prepare otherwise. There are a plethora of options on the market for the discerning chef when it comes to finding the perfect machine for their meats, and today, we’re going to be comparing some of these options that you’ll be able to find online on Amazon.com, but if you’re wary of using the internet, head over to your local Wal-Mart and you should be able to find very similar products! We’re also going to be examining some method you could use to sharpen the blades on your meat slicer, to ensure that you always get the cleanest, best cuts from your meats that you could ever want!

A few of the options for new and exciting dishes that you could make at home thanks to these machines are incredible! You wouldn’t think that certain dish, such as beef jerky, could be easily made at home. But, with the proper meat slicer, making something like beef jerky in your very own kitchen not only becomes incredibly easy, but also extremely quick and enjoyable! And the possibilities don’t end there. You take fresh beef or turkey meat and turn it into delicious, flavorful ground meat in order to make homemade sausages (although you’ll also need a special machine to help you put that meat into the sausage casing of your choice), as well as making the perfect chunks that you can put into stews, soups, and meatballs or sauces! This machine can open up so many possibilities for your cooking, that if any of these opportunities sound good to you, I’d highly recommend buying one for yourself!

When considering meat slicers, there are a few things you need to look at, and we’ll be examining each of those aspects in this article. We’ll be looking specifically at the options to attach different blades to the machine, the power of the engine in the slicer itself, the overall quality of the machine! There will be smaller features that we’ll bring up as we’re examining the machines as well, but these are the major factors that you should consider when you’re looking for a new machine to invest your money in. Some of these machines will also put a decent dent in your wallet, although we tried to keep this as budget-friendly as possible, for some of our readers who don’t want to spare a lot of money for a machine that some people may not use often. Sadly, when it comes to decent-quality meat slicers, the machines do tend to get a little expensive. However, with all of those things in mind, we’ve come across a few options on Amazon.com that we think you might be interested in! And, stay tuned, because at the end we’re also going to leave instructions for you to be able to do your own sharpening for when your meat slicer is dull!

Knox Stainless Steel Meat Slicer with 7.5″ Smooth Blade

Knox is a good, dependable and well-known kitchen brand. They make everything from coffee grinders, to rice cookers, to toasters, and their Meat Slicer is an equally dependable option. This machine comes with a 7.5 inch smooth blades that you use for slicing your meats, made from stainless, food grade steel. It also comes equipped with a powerful and useful 200-watt motor, allowing it to slice through whatever kinds of meat you put through it with relative ease. It’s also not limited to just meats! The creators of this machine say that, in addition to being able to handle things like whole legs of meat and roasts, it’s also able to slice things like potatoes for potato chips and carrots for stir-fry dishes! And it doesn’t stop there, it’s also recommended to be used for things like hard cheeses, breads for making amazing homemade sandwiches, and other vegetables that you might want to chop finely, making this an incredibly versatile tool for any kitchen that can take preparing you meals from a tedious task to a quick, painless experience!

The tool also includes a dial, allowing you to adjust the blade on the machine to varying thickness, going from incredibly thin to up to half and inch thick! The blade stays firmly in place, allowing you to get clean, consistent cuts every time, truly making this one of the best options on the market that you can get from the price! The machine itself is a little bulky, and can take up quite a bit of kitchen space, in addition to making quite a bit of noise. So, if you have a small child who likes to sleep during the day, this may not be the option for you. If noise and counter space aren’t limiting factors for you, though, this machine is a solid choice for your kitchen!

Pros:

  • 5 inch adjustable, smooth blade
  • Can cut a large variety of items
  • Powerful 200 watt motor

Cons:

  • Makes quite a bit of noise
  • Takes up a large space on your counter
  • Fairly expensive

 

Cuisinart FS-75 Kitchen Pro Food Slicer

We all know Cuisinart, so it’s really no wonder they manage to find their way into a lot of lists about any kitchen appliance. They’re relatively cheap next to a lot of their competitors, reliable, and overall a good brand when you’re choosing to outfit your kitchen. They make just about everything, so it’s no wonder that whenever you go into the Kitchen Appliances section of Amazon.com, you’re bound to see a Cuisinart machine somewhere on the front page. You’ve probably never seen a single ad from them, but you still know the brand.

 

Thankfully, their meat slicers are of similarly good quality! This machine also has an impressive 7.5-inch blade, with the entire slicing apparatus being made out of food-grade stainless steel, and the housing for the machine is made from premium-coated stainless steel and sturdy die-cast aluminum, ensuring that this machine can really take a beating if you ever have to pack it up and move it! It comes in a beautiful, yet neutral grey color, allowing it to easily match to almost any kind of theme or aesthetic you have going for your kitchen! This piece, like the previous one on this list, also has an incredible adjustable slicer, allowing you to take it anywhere from 1/32 of an inch, all the way to half an inch, and anywhere in-between! The blade is also fixed into place once you decide on your thickness, allowing for clean, consistent, and perfect cuts of meat, cheese or veggies every time! That’s right, this machine can also chop up your hard cheeses and vegetables just like the other one! So if you’d like your machine to be a little more versatile in the kitchen, then this machine is another great contender!

 

Pros:

  • Adjustable, stainless steel blade
  • Great color
  • Durable casing
  • Can slice a large variety of foods in addition to meats

Cons:

  • More expensive than other options
  • Must be plugged in to operate
  • Only comes in one color
Nesco FS-250 180-watt Food Slicer with 8.7-Inch Blade

A largely unknown brand, but with great initial reviews from customers all over the internet, who speak to the quality and usefulness of this product, while I can’t speak to Nesco’s reputation or the quality of their other products, from what I can tell, this particular one is definitely worth a look if you want to drop some more serious money into a decent machine. It’s a little less powerful than some of the other options we’ve seen here, with only 180-watt motor powering the blade. The blade, however, is definitely something to write home about! It’s an astounding 8.7 inches in length, making it the largest option we’ve seen on the list so far, meaning it can truly go the distance when it comes to slicing your foods! Longer lengths mean it takes longer to wear-out, since the wear is spread over a larger area, and thus, saves you the trouble of having to sharpen it as often as some of the smaller options! It’s also serrated, to ensure the it can cut even the most resistant of meats, as opposed to the non-serrated options we’ve covers which, while still very effective, might have more trouble making that initial cut and following through than serrated blades would.

This blade is also fully detachable, and while I suppose you could throw it in your dishwasher if you’re feeling daring, it would be a much smarter choice to get a sturdy pair of gloves and carefully wash it in your sink by hand. This way, you don’t risk a very sharp, serrated blade clanging around inside your dishwasher and scratching up your plates and cups, so this sounds like the better option of the two to me! Most of these models all have blades that come out for when you’re cleaning the machine, so remember to invest in a good pair of rubber dish gloves if you haven’t already, just to avoid the risk of getting a cut while you’re trying to clean your meat slicer. While some people like their meat bloody, I don’t think that’s what they mean!

The adjustable blades on this also have a 9/16-inch range, making them incredible precise and versatile! This machine is perfect for fine cuts, like you might need for salads, onion rings, or jerky, all the way to very rudimentary cuts that you might use for potato wedges, stews, and the like!

Pros:

  • 7-inch serrated, hardened steel blade
  • Very precise adjustments
  • Detachable blade for cleaning

Cons:

  • Less powerful motor
  • Bulky and takes up a lot of space
  • Loud operation
BESWOOD Premium Chromium-plated Carbon Steel Blade Electric Food Slicer

Before you freak out about the price, I just wanted to include this option to give a solid standard about what a truly high-end meat slicer looks like, along with providing an option for budding hobbyists who want to really up their cooking game, or for people for whom money just really isn’t an issue. So, which all of that in mind, we’ll examine this option. Beswood, the creator of this meat slicer, is a high-end kitchen appliance maker, and their products are often incredible solid, reliable, and durable for many years after you unpack them. If you’re a ‘buy it for life’ kind of person, these machines would not only justify the big initial investment with outstanding quality, but also last you for years and years to come, if you take proper care of it. If you’re looking for a long-lasting product, this is it!

This machine also has the biggest blade on the list overall, coming in at a whopping 10 inches for the entire thing, making it a monstrous, effective, and powerful tool capable of handling even the largest and toughest cuts you might give it. The motor is an extremely powerful 240 watts, meaning that you’ll rarely ever, if at all, encounter any troubles with what you can feed through this machine. The blade is chromium-plated, which not only allows it to keep its edge longer, but also makes it much sharper than the other products we’ve seen on this list, meaning that this blade is in an entirely different ball park than the other models we’ve covered, which were only stainless steel blades. While those are just fine, and will still be just as good if you don’t need to use them often, if you see yourself using your meal slicer fairly often, you’re going to want to go for an option that means you don’t need to be removing your blade and going through the trouble of sharpening it as often. The chromium plating on this blade ensures that you won’t need to worry so often about it getting dull, or even just generally corroding!

Not only all of that, but this model also has a premium V-Belt attached to it! Basically, a V-Belt serves to reduce the noise the machine makes, meaning that when you’re operating this machine, you won’t have to worry about annoying whoever lives with you so much. It also comes with skid-proof rubber feet, so you don’t have to worry about pushing too hard and suddenly having the machine slide away from you, putting your fingers in danger! And, to top it all off, this machine has a double-illuminated On/Off switch, with a 24 volt, to best protect you from any electric shocks.

Pros:

  • Large 10-inch blade
  • Double-illuminated On/Off Switch with shock protection
  • Extremely powerful 240-watt motor
  • Chromium-plated, long-lasting blade
  • Long-lasting machine in general
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Takes up more kitchen space than most other options

Meat Slicers Covers

So, with your safety being such a big concern, especially when it comes to being around a machine with a very sharp blade that spins very, very fast, you are going to want to look for something to cover up the blade for that machine, in order to allow you to safely store it when it’s not in use. You don’t want to reach into your cupboard to grab your food processor, only to pull your hand back with a cut! So, with that in mind, you are going to want to get yourself a meat slicer cover.

Basically, these covers are meant to go over the spinning blade for your meat slicer after you’ve unplugged the machine and cleaned your blade well. The cover will serve to help keep it sharp, corrosion-free, dust-free, and make it much less of a risk to move around your house than it normally would be! A cover is a must-have if you have children in the house, especially if those children often find their way into your cupboards. So, when it comes to the safety of you and your family, you’re going to want the best protection you can get for your meat slicer!

Many of these machines should come with covers right out of the box, but if those degrade, wear out, or otherwise break, you’re going to want to get your hands on a new one as soon as possible! However, these will run you quite a bit of money for a good one.

Almost all options are made from a clear, durable plastic, and act similarly to a box. You place the meat slicer into it, zip it up, and voila! Your meat slicer is secure. While very useful and a great safety tool, buying one of these will set you back anywhere from $75 to $100, depending on the brand of casing you buy. Some will last you longer than others, if you intend to put them through heavy usage or a lot of moving around, but if you’re only looking for a way to safely store your Meat Slicer when you’re not using it, even a lower-priced cover should provide adequate protection, as long as it’s still made from durable plastics.

To store your Meat Slicer properly, all you need to do is, after you finish operating the machine, turn it off and unplug it, carefully remove the blade, and carefully wash it under some warm water with soap, to get rid of any excess food particles that may have clung to it. Once that’s done, all you need to do is carefully dry it off, re-attach it to your machine, ensure the blade is securely in place, and then place it in the cover and zip it up! It’s an incredibly easy and quick process.

How do I Sharpen These?

One of the most important aspects of owning your own meat slicer is proper care, so you’re going to need to know how to sharpen a meat slicer. It’s inevitable, because eventually, after weeks or months or years, that you’ll notice your blade doesn’t quite cut as well as it did when you first bought it, that it takes a little longer to get through the same cuts of meat. Unless you’re planning to just throw your machine in the trash at this point and buy a new one, you’ll need to learn to sharpen a blade. Luckily for all of us, it’s an incredibly simple process that won’t give you too much grief when you try it, provided you’re careful and follow these instructions. So, let’s get to it!

First of all, you’re going to want to take your blade out of your machine. Make sure the machine is off and unplugged before you ever try touching the blade with your hands, just in case. The last thing anyone needs is to leave their meat slicer plugged in, accidentally trip the ‘on’ switch and come back with two less fingers than they remember having before. So, please, make sure it is both off AND unplugged before you try to remove the blade, for your own sake.

You’ll need to purchase some sharpening stones from your local hardware store. Pretty much any hardware store will have these in their kitchen section, and they’re relatively cheap, even for good-quality ones. Sharpening stones are essentially coarse minerals that, when you slide them firmly across a blade, will serve to sharpen and refine the edge. These will be what you’ll need to get the job done, so if you’re planning to use your machine frequently, it’s worth buying a few of these so that you won’t need to spend the time running to the hardware store so often, although one will last you a good while before it needs to be replaced. It’s worth nothing that many meat slicers already come with one included, so check the details on whatever product you’re buying!

Before you start sharpening, you’ll want to clean your blade. Clean it the standard way you’d normally clean it, but after you dry it off, apply or pour some rubbing alcohol to the blade. This will serve to clean it further, and also disinfect it. A clean blade is far more easy to sharpen, as dirt and food particles won’t be getting in your way.

Now comes the good part. For most meat slicers, they’ll come with a way to secure your sharpening stone to the blade so that you won’t need to run the risk of holding it as you sharpen the blade. Refer to the owner’s manual that came with your meat slicer if it’s not immediately clear how to do this. If this is an option for you, I highly recommend it, because it greatly reduces your chances of getting hurt, and that’s always great! Once you have your blade cleaned, locate the locking knob, which should be located somewhere on the base of your machine. It should look like a black, plastic knob.

Once you’ve found it, you’ll want to unscrew it from the base of your machine and insert your sharpening stones into the section of the meat slicer. Once the stones have settled, screw the knob back in place and re-install the meat slicer blade into the machine, placing the blade on the sharpening stones. Make sure the sharpening locking knob is completely screwed into place and won’t fall off or unscrew while you’re sharpening the machine, because no one likes having heavy rocks flying around their kitchen filled with very fragile objects. So, make sure that knob is screwed firmly into place! You should feel or hear a click as you’re screwing the knob into the base of the machine, this will tell you when the knob is secured and the blade is ready to be sharpened.

Next, you’ll want to turn on the slicer. Yep, it can’t get much more simple than that. Just plug it in, and flip the switch! It should start spinning, grinding against the sharpening stones in the base as it turns. You’ll want to leave the blade on for at least 30 seconds to ensure it sharpens well. Don’t leave it on for too long, or else you may end up corroding the blade further than necessary for no real benefit.

Once that’s done, take out the blade again, give it another wash with rubbing alcohol to ensure you don’t get any stray pieces of stone in the next cut of meat you put through your machine. Wipe it down, and then remove the sharpening stones from your machine, re-install the blade again, and you’re good to go! You know how a freshly-sharpened blade ready to take on your meals!

No matter what you choose to slice your meats with, happy cooking!

Tool To Make Zucchini Noodles

Today, with so many fantastic modern gadgets to populate your kitchen with, you have so many new options and opportunities to create fun, exciting, and tasty dishes that you may have never tried before! Not only that, but these new tools, foods and recipes are making it easier and easier for people with dietary restrictions to make small changes to traditional dishes that they can’t normally have, and with these small changes, suddenly they can have a nearly identical dish with just as much flavor and character as the original! These small alterations can be everything from the type of flour you use, the methods you use to cook your dishes, or even replacing foods entirely for a similarly-prepared and similar-tasting alternative. One such substitute is Zucchini Pasta!

 Zucchini Pasta has been gaining popularity in recent years, as dietary trends have seen more and more people trying to live a gluten free or low-gluten lifestyle. Regardless of if that is due to personal choice, sensitivity, or outright incapability to have gluten, as we see in people who have Celiac Disease, it is no secret that more low-gluten or gluten free options are becoming more available to us in our daily lives, you only need to look on a shelf at your local grocery store to realize that. So, in the spirit of helping those people seeking to live life with a little less gluten, or even those of you who are just looking for fun, new ways to spice up your daily meals and turn them into something you’re not used to, we’re going to be helping you learn all you need to know about one certain, delicious alternative to a very traditional dish: Zucchini Pasta. Not only just the dish itself, which is delicious and full of nutrition, but also the tools used to make Zucchini noodles, and also just what the best tools are to make this pasta in general. Then, we’re going to take a look at some ideas for making your own sauces to go along with it!

What Is Zucchini Pasta?

Before we look at the tools needed to make it, we need to look at exactly what the thing we’re trying to make is, right? After all, no carpenter picks up a hammer before looking at the plans for the house he wants to build. So, it’s important for us to know the ways Zucchini pasta is similar to traditional pastas, but also how it’s different. We’ll also look at how to cook these noodles well, what kinds of sauces would pair well with the dish, and what are some good, gluten free side dishes you could serve with it to really make your pasta dish into a proper meal. And, if you’re worried about how this could be received by the people you’re serving it too, don’t worry at all! Zucchini noodles take on a very soft green color when they’re cooked, and the skin of the Zucchini that you can see along some strands adds a beautiful color contrast to the dish that you don’t see often.

In addition, Zucchini pasta has an amazing texture, which is very satisfying not only on your fork, but in your mouth! It’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, unlike traditional, carb-heavy pasta. And, this version has a much lower calorie count than regular pasta as well, for those of you who are watching the calories they take in! The nutritional value, the low caloric content, the fantastic flavor and amazing texture all combine to make this dish hit all the right places, not only on your taste buds, but also in your stomach and in your brain!

Unfortunately, this phenomenal alternative to traditional wheat pasta, while it has been gaining popularity recently, you’ll struggle to find it in many restaurants, as they prefer the more traditional pasta over the Zucchini noodles. However, if you have a vegan restaurant in your area and don’t feel like cooking for yourself, look up their menu! Chances are that they serve Zucchini pasta, or something close to it, or they can make it for you if you ask! A nice side for those when you’re going out would be cauliflower ‘wings’. We’re going to be going over them later in this article, but they are delicious, fried pieces of cauliflower rolled in sauce in a very similar way to your traditional fried chicken wing! These also have far less calories per gram, and although you’d definitely be missing out on a lot of the protein and fats that a good, old-fashioned chicken wing would get you, you make up for it by getting so many more vitamins from the cauliflower!

You also typically won’t find dried, ready to go strands of Zucchini pasta in neat little boxes stacked on shelves in your local grocery store. As pleasant as that may be, Zucchini noodles can be difficult to store for any long length of time, which unfortunately makes it an impractical option for most stores to carry. But, don’t worry! All you need to do is take a short walk over to that store’s produce section, find the Zucchinis, and pick yourself out one or two good ones to get ready for the amazing dish you’re about to make at home, yourself!

And while you’re there, if you don’t already have the tools we’re about to go over, you might want to see if they already carry some versions of them! It’s very common for most grocery stores to have a section dedicated to cooking tools, so you may very well find some of the tools to make Zucchini Pasta we’re talking about here in your own local store! But, if not, we’ll also be linking to Amazon.com, where you can order these tools quickly and easily at your leisure!

The Tools to make Zucchini Noodles

I know that some people might think that making Zucchini pasta is hard, or that it’s complicated, or that it requires expensive tools to do it right. Well, I’m here to tell you that none of those things are true! In fact, it’s almost exactly the opposite! It’s easy, simple, incredibly quick to make, and everything you need to do it is extremely inexpensive, and the tools we’ll be covering in this article are tried and tested brands that will give you great value for your money and allow you to use them for many, many other things aside from Zucchinis! We’ll also be giving you a variety of options, so that people from any budget range can still get in on the action, because there shouldn’t be any barriers to eating well!

So, we’ll start with the simplest, basic function you’re looking for to make Zucchini pasta. Grab yourself one of these machines, and the pasta is pretty much made for you. I’m talking about, of course, vegetable spiralizers. These are very common kitchen tools that you might already have in your kitchen! For those of you who don’t know, you basically insert a vegetable, like a Zucchini, into a holding apparatus, make sure it’s secure, and then position a cutting knife in the right spot, depending on the machine, and then turn the hand-powered lever at the back of the machine, and watch as your Zucchini starts to spin and you see amazing, long, thin, and noodle-like strands of Zucchini coming out of the front end of the machine. For easy collection, I suggest you place a bowl in front of the machine before you begin, so that the noodles you make can go directly into an easy container and you don’t have to spend time gathering them all up off of your cutting board or counter!


The best ones I can recommend are from Mueller Spiral-Ultra and Hamilton Beach. These two brands never fail to deliver on high quality, dependable products, and while I’m sure you can find other spiralizers on the market for a little less money, these two are almost certainly going to give you a great return on your investment. Not only will they last a long time, many of the products these companies sell come under a warranty, so you can have parts replaced easily if you need to! However, it goes without saying, always check to make sure you’re getting a warranty, even when buying these products! They’re also BPA-Free and food-grade for the plastics and the stainless-steel blades, respectively. So, no need to worry about any bad substances getting into your food, you can just relax and enjoy the amazing flavors and health benefits these bring you! Not only do these machines work perfectly with most Zucchinis, they also work fantastically with almost any other vegetable, and some fruits, too! Carrots are a popular choice to use with spiralizers, as are things like apples, which people like to use for garnish on their desserts, or even cucumbers that people love to spiralize before they throw them into their salads or slaws! This is an incredibly versatile tool, and aside from just using it to make pasta dishes, it could be a vital to prepare fruits and vegetables for things like salads, slaws, pastries, breads, garnishes, and so much more!

Now, we’re going to go in the totally opposite direction and keep it extremely basic. This solution is certainly more labor-intensive, and it will take quite a bit more time, too. But, if you really don’t want to spend money on a spiralizer, or you just don’t have that kind of budget, this could be the option for you. I’m talking about the good, old-fashioned peeler. Yep, just a peeler. Not exactly exciting, but you can get very dependable ones with stainless steel blades that will stay sharp for a good, long while and will always be easy to wash and put away just about anywhere! So, don’t imagine that this doesn’t come with its own perks. Some good brands for this include Hamilton Beach again, well as Cuisinart. These two brands have been around for a while, have a reputation for quality and dependability, and still provide some pretty cheap options. Although, in all honesty, you could get a peeler from just about anywhere and it should still serve you just fine, the only real difference would be how long that one lasts you compared to some of the better-quality brands. Here’s a hint: They probably won’t last nearly as long.

To use these to make Zucchini pasta, well, is a much different story. It’s a tricky task, and honestly, if you’re not at least somewhat experienced with Zucchini pasta already, I’d recommend you just bite the bullet and go for the spiralizer, otherwise you’ll be doing a lot of trial and error with this method. Basically, you’re trying to peel off narrow, somewhat thick strips of Zucchini as you run the peeler along the length of the vegetable. You won’t get the same nice spiral, they will come out straight, but if you do it right, you should get something that looks like a cruder, straighter version of what you’d get with the spiralizer. If you do it incorrectly, though, you’ll end up with something that looks more like Zucchini shavings, and if you try to cook those the way you’d cook other Zucchini noodles, all you’re going to be having for dinner is disappointment. Like I said, it’s a slower, much more labor intensive method, and it requires you to already be pretty familiar with what Zucchini pasta should look like in order for you to make a passable final product. In the end, if you can afford it, this method isn’t really worth the trouble. Just get the spiralizer, and you’ll have your noodles so much more quickly and easily, you won’t have to deal with loosing shavings of Zucchini getting all over your kitchen counter.

So, in essence, what you need to keep in mind is that, if you’re a beginner, electric is probably your best bet. But, if you’re more experienced with Zucchini pasta already and want to experiment more freely with different patterns, thicknesses and shapes, and you don’t mind the challenge involved, manually slicing your own pasta, while slow, could provide you with a fun experience and ultimately a more rustic looking, personalized final product! So, if those selling points seem like something you could grow fond of, give it a try! I mean, chances are that you already have a dent-quality peeler at home somewhere, anyways. It’s always important to never be afraid to experiment with different methods, tools, and new ideas in your cooking, that’s how you’ll learn to make some of your favorite dishes truly yours!

What Kind of Sauce Should I Use?

Any kind of pasta needs sauce, right? Exactly! So, while you could just as easily buy a decent pasta sauce off the shelf at pretty much any store that sells food near you, and get a pretty good end result if you chose well, we’re going to look at some great ways to make simple, delicious sauces for your new Zucchini pasta! We’re going to try to stick with the low-gluten theme throughout these recipe suggestions, but if you’re not sensitive to gluten, or feel like a gluten-heavy alternative to some of our ingredients would taste better to you personally, go for it! Like I said, experimentation is key. With that in mind, you’re going to see a lot of tomato pastes as the base for these sauces. While I know that’s a controversial subject among some people in the food world, personally, I have had amazing experiences with using tomato paste as a base and simply adding liquid as needed to thin it out. This allows you to get the exact right consistency to the sauce that you’re looking for, adding more personalization to your meal, since everyone has their own preference on if they want their sauce to be a little thicker or a little thinner than usual. Personalizing your dishes is the key to having a rewarding cooking experience!

However, if you’re looking for a true from-scratch experience, you could just as easily chop up some tomatoes, remove the seeds, and throw them in something like a food processor to blend up finely. While you may get a waterier product, you’ll also have much more nutrients, and less sugars than if you used a canned, pre-made tomato paste. And if you still want a thicker sauce, but don’t want to lose out on all of those nutrients, you have a few options: you can throw the sauce into a pan as normal, but put it on a higher heat and give it some extra some to bubble away, so that you give the water content in the sauce a chance to properly reduce. The other option is to buy a gluten-free flour and stir in some of that as it cooks, which should serve to thicken up the liquid a little bit. Be careful not to add to much! That could pervert the taste of your sauce, or even lead to clumps of flour throughout your dish!

The first suggestion I’ll give for a sauce is just a very simple, mainly inoffensive sauce that even picky eaters probably won’t complain too much about. It’s very similar to the ‘Original’ pasta sauces you can buy off the shelves in stores. Basically, just warm a saucepan to a medium heat, put in your tomato pasta, stir in water slowly until you reach your desired consistency, and then add in some oregano, some salt, and some pepper to taste. It doesn’t get much more basic than that. If you’re cooking for a lot of people who have different tastes and you’re in a position where you can’t please everybody, with this sauce, at least no one will find themselves unable to eat what you’ve put in front of them. Simple, but sometimes less is more!

Now we’re going to start taking some more daring approaches to the sauces. The best thing about them is that you can pretty much add anything to these sauces, so they’re completely customizable, and you can make truly amazing stuff, if you’re willing to take a chance or two! So, this next sauce is going to be more of my opinion than anything else. So, if you see something you know you won’t like, take it with a grain of salt (or pepper, your choice) and just substitute it for something else you like!

For this next one, we’re going to start with the same tomato sauce base I outlined above, with just tomato sauce and your preferred amount of water. Keep in mind that the more water you add, the more spices you’re going to need to add in to get the same impact when you’re eating. Then, just like before, toss in some oregano, or better yet, Italian seasoning, if you have it, and then some salt. Then, instead of adding in pepper, opt for a dash of lemon pepper instead! Then, add about a teaspoon of lemon zest if you’d really like an extra tang to your sauce, and let it bubble mildly, stirring constantly so that your sauce doesn’t stick to your pot. Once you’re done, you’ll be left with a citrusy, tangy sauce that will hit all of the right taste buds! It’s a must-try if you want to wake up your senses a little with some excitement! If you’re not partial to lemons or sourness, however, you could easily apply the same concept to something like ginger for a more savory dish, or anything else you think would be good!

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your work! Just be sure to add small amounts of your spices at a time, stirring them in thoroughly and tasting your sauce to see how you like it so far. It’s easy to add more spices in, it’s not as easy to take them out. However, if you do mess up, like we all do sometimes, do some research on how to mask the flavors. There’s certain flavors that can negate the effects of others. For instance, if you add in too much salt into the dish, a dash of balsamic vinegar will take a bit of that salty edge away from the dish. Just don’t be afraid to try new things, and, as always, happy cooking!

Does Avocado Have Sugar?

Hello, avid readers! Today we are going to discuss avocado and whether or not it contains sugar. Avocado is a fruit that is native to South Central Mexico. It has a wealth of health benefits. One cup of sliced avocado will average 234 calories. It contains 21 grams of fat, with 14 grams of that total coming from monounsaturated fat. One of the best things you can add to your diet is this wonderful fruit! The cup of sliced avocado will also contain 12 grams of carbohydrates, with only 1 gram of that being derived from sugar. Let’s not forget about protein either, one cup of avocado will yield 2.9 grams of protein.

If you can not tolerate the texture or taste of avocado, it is a great addition to smoothies. They provide a thicker texture to the smoothie, similar to pudding or yogurt, so you may want to serve that smoothie with a spoon! My family are not fans of avocado, but added to a smoothie, they are none the wiser. The extra healthy fat in that smoothie will also aid in not feeling hunger before your next meal time as well.

Avocado, The Fruit That Will Not Spike Sugar Levels

Avocados are a great way to add fruit to your diet, without adding extra sugar. Since they only contain one gram of sugar per one cup of sliced avocado. They are perfect for a diabetic that is looking to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet. Research has shown that a diet high in monunsaturated fats and also low in carbohydrates will improve insulin sensitivity. You can make a perfect salad dressing to add to your favorite green salad. Combine the following ingredients in your food processor to make a creamy salad dressing:

 2 ripe avocados (halved, seeded, and peeled)
 2 cloves of garlic
 ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 your personal amount of salt and pepper

Avocados are very nutrient dense as well, they are a versatile staple to any healthy diet. They also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Folate, Fiber, and Potassium. In fact, avocados contain 35% more potassium than a banana, without the added sugar content! Avocados quickly brown when exposed to the air, so they will want to be eaten quickly. They are not something you can prepare ahead of time and set aside. If you avocado turns brown, the fruit can still be enjoyed if you remove the layer that has been oxidized. To prevent the oxidation of the creamy fruit, you can add an acidic agent to it, such as: lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, tomatoes, or onion. Simply sprinkle one of these acidic agents over the flesh to preserve the green color. Store in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to twenty four hours. Discard any unused portion after twenty four hours.

To get the most health benefits of avocado, you will want to peel them manually, using just your hands. The dark green flesh closest to the skin has the most phytonutrient richness that allows carotenoids to be fully absorbed. To peel the avocado, slice it in half lengthwise and then twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate them and to remove the seed. After the seed is removed, cut each half of the fruit lengthwise again. You are then able to peel each of the quarters like a banana, simply using your fingers, while retaining the wholesome goodness of the dark green flesh. Remember, avocado doesn’t contain that much sugar, just one gram per cup sliced, so you can enjoy this fruit without suffering a spike in your sugar levels. They are so versatile that they can be added to just about any meal. Some people enjoy them with each and every meal!

Avocados are Versatile

Now that we know the answer to the burning question, Does avocado have sugar? You seriously need to start adding it to your food regime. It is a little like the apple, in that “an avocado a day can keep the doctor away.” You can blend it with just about any other ingredient, so if you do not like the taste or texture of a sliced avocado, using it as a sandwich spread or a dip will suffice just fine. One tasty recipe for a dip is:

 One Avocado, peeled and cubed
 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
 1/8 TSP smoked paprika
 Pinch cayenne pepper
 Salt to taste

This could be used on sandwiches, with pita chips, corn chips, or any vegetable you would like to dip with it. As a whole avocado contains less than 1 gram of sugar, it is a super addition to any meal. Your sugars will spike if you eat it with a food too high in carbohydrates, so use caution. The avocado is not to blame for the insulin spike, it is the food that you are consuming it with. As always, we appreciate your visit and hope you enjoyed the information provided.

photos credited to :kjokkenutstyr.net

Cooks Essentials Mandoline Slicer

In our daily life, we often as issues come up that are just a pain to resolve manually, and for those of us who like to cook for ourselves, those issues seem to come up more and more every day, as if they’re simply facts of life. While I can’t recommend you a product that will stop those issues from coming up entirely – although if you find one, tell me – I can, however, recommend you a product that can make an awful lot of those issues into easy, fast experiences that you don’t even need to break a sweat over. This product, my friends, is the Electric Mandoline Slicer from the smart people at Cooks Essentials.
There’s a thousand reasons why this particular product could turn out to be very useful to you. For our more elderly readers, who could be suffering from joint pain, inflammation, or who might be very hesitant to use loose knives, the Electric Mandoline Slicer provides a very fast and easy way for you to chop up your foods without having to worry about hurting your joints or having to handle knives. You just throw the food in and let it do its work! Even if you’re a younger person, this could still have a lot of use for you! If you’re preparing large quantities of food, for a party or a barbeque or any other social event, this tool could prove invaluable for cutting down on your prep time and feeing you up to devote your time to the more important meals. Better yet, this could cut down on the amount of dishes you have to clean afterward, because with this machine, you won’t need to use so many knives to cut different foods when preparing your meal. Plus, the slicing apparatus in the Electric Mandoline Slicer is 100% dishwasher safe!

What does it do?

But, I can hear you asking, what does this machine even do, really? I’m glad you asked!
This amazing device allows you to slice, dice and chop almost any food you put into it. It’s perfect for chopping up vegetables and most fruits, and operation is so simple it’s almost as if someone else is doing the work for you! Here’s how it works: at the top of the machine, sitting over a plastic bowl, is a mandoline that is hooked into the machine. When you flip the switch, the mandoline starts to move back and forth quickly over the hole that leads to the bowl. All you have to do is load up your food into the plastic feed tube that come with the device, grab the pusher and hold it in its designated place on the machine, and push down on it slowly, yet firmly. If you do it right, the tube should slowly sink down, and you’ll be able to see your food get sliced up perfectly by the blades on the machine, and fall neatly into the bowl waiting below. After you’ve chopped up everything you needed, just turn the machine off, put your tube to the side, remove the bowl from your machine, and there you go! You have finely-chopped, neatly-collected food of your choice ready to go!

Features

This machine is perfect for pretty much any dish you might want to make that would otherwise require working with knives yourself. Need to chop up some lettuce for a salad? This machine can do it! Need to slice up some onions for the kebab you want to grill? This machine can do that! Need to have some carrots diced up to add to the stir-fry you want to make tonight? This machine can do that, too! And, with the seven different blades included with this machine, you can choose the perfect thickness for whatever you’re making! These are thick slice, extra-thick slice, thin slice, shred/grate, cube, julienne, and fine-julienne. All you need to do is swap out one of these blades at the top of your machine, and it’s ready to start chopping to your specifications!
And the fantastic features don’t stop there! Remember that bowl I mentioned? It has an amazing two-quart capacity, allowing you to slice, chop and dice to your heart’s content, with the knowledge that you’ll almost certainly finish preparing your food before you ever run out of space in the bowl. It’s also made with BPA-free, food safe plastic, and can act perfectly as a storage container if you plan to keep some of what you just chopped for later! Just cover the top in some plastic wrap, stuick it in your fridge wherever there’s space, and it’ll be ready for you whenever you need it!
It also comes equipped with suction feet, so you know it’ll always stay in place when you’re operating it and you don’t have to worry about having it fall over from a nudge. It comes with a simple to use, push-button operation system that allows you to turn it on and off with ease, making sure it only stays on for just as long as you need it to and you don’t have to struggle with any knobs or dials that can sometimes clutter machines like this. And remember that feeding tube I mentioned earlier? It’s actually substantially wide, allowing you to fit pretty much anything you could want in there! Bell pepper? It can fit! A cored apple? Throw it in! A whole potato? Go for it!

Is This Worth it?

If you don’t want to use the elbow grease involved with using a manual mandoline slicer or loose knives, then this is definitely the machine for you, hands-down. However, even if you’re just looking for a way to streamline your cooking so that you can spend less time slaving away in the kitchen and more time sipping chilled wine with your guests, you could also really benefit from bringing this machine into your arsenal! It pays for itself many times over due to the sheer versatility of the device, with its seven different blade sizes. If all of these things appeal to you, go out and grab yourself one of these and enjoy your cooking!

How to Cut a Mango With a Cup

We’ve all been there. You have a craving for some nice, sweet fruits, but you don’t want to have to put up with the inevitable sticky fingers, piles of fruit peels, and splatters of juice all over your kitchen counter that come from trying to peel a mango with just a knife. That doesn’t even begin to mention the amount of time it would take, and the unnecessary effort of doing it completely by hand. Maybe you’ve just gotten home from a long day of work and the thought of fussing with a mango peel, and then having a huge mess to clean up, doesn’t appeal to you. Maybe you just haven’t sharpened your knives in a while and it’s difficult to make the precise cuts needed to get the skin of the mango off, or, like me, maybe you want to avoid making a mess in your kitchen because cleaning it is absolutely no fun. Perhaps you just want a cool party trick to show your friends. No matter what your reason is, all you have on hand is a cup, a kitchen knife, and that sweet, sweet fruit. So, how do you manage to quickly and easily peel it?

 

Well, you’ll be happy to know, all hope is not lost! Using that simple cup, you can still amaze your friends at parties and get that satisfyingly sweet fruit, without having such a large mess to deal with afterwards, and better yet, no sticky fingers to put up with!

 

It’s really quite simple. First, take a mango (or any other fruit whose peel has a similar malleability), and consider its size and ripeness. The best kinds that work for this method are medium-sized mangoes, so that they can easily fit the glass you’re using, and it’s also important that they’re ripe, so that the fruit can easily separate from the peel.

 

Once you’ve selected your mangoes, you’ll want to slice them from the top to the bottom along the pit, so that you get two separate pieces of fruit. Then, to finally peel it, you’ll want to place the very edge of the cut mango, where the skin meets the flesh of the fruit, against the top rim of the cup and gently push down. It shouldn’t take much for the mango to come away from its peel and fall safely into your glass, ready to be eaten. You should end up with your peel on the outside of your glass and your fruit resting on the inside.

And there you have it! No juice everywhere, no need to immediately run to your sink to wash your hands, and the only peels you need to worry about are all quite large and easy to round up, so you don’t have to worry about picking tiny scraps of peels off of your counter anymore. As soon as the peel comes off, you’re free to eat them raw, chop them up and add them to a delicious fruit salad, or peel even more mangoes!

 

You will also be happy to know that this trick isn’t just for mangoes. You could just as easily grab that glass of yours and use it to peel a tiny, flavorful kiwi instead! It works just as well, because the skin of the kiwi is still firm enough to easily come away from its peel and smoothly land in your cup, ready to be eaten. And, since kiwis are much smaller than most cups you probably have on hand, you won’t have to worry about having trouble with your kiwi slices not quite fitting the rim of your glass when you go to peel it.

 

It gets even better! Craving a good Guacamole, but don’t want to have to manually scoop out the flesh of an avocado yourself? This trick works for that, too! Simply cut the avocado in half along the pit, remove the pit from the center, and do just the same as you would for the kiwi or mango: just place the edge of the bottom of the avocado, where the peel meets the flesh of the fruit, and gently apply pressure until it falls down into your glass. It’s an incredibly simple trick!

 

Sadly, if you have a glass in your hand and you were looking hungrily at that papaya you’ve had in your fridge for a week, you might have to find another way. This method of peeling fruits only works for smaller fruits that can easily be sliced in half and ran down the rim of a glass, and they need to be small enough so that they fit the glass well enough. These are the reasons why fruits like mangoes, kiwis, and even avocados work with this trick – they’re all small fruits that, when ripe, can easily come away from their peel when you use the right technique.

 

This particular trick was shared for quite a long time among “lifehackers”, people who enjoy finding unique, strange, and sometimes better ways to do common everyday tasks using common everyday materials you could find around you home. While these hacks may not always be more efficient than what they try to replicate (like using peanut butter to remove stains from a shirt), they are still fascinating to learn about! This specific trick was recently popularized when Buzzfeed – a popular media organization that shares many of these life hacks – showed how to do it in a video of theirs, and ever since then it’s been a go-to staple for people who love learning about the quirky, uncommon ways we can use things in our everyday lives to accomplish tasks we wouldn’t immediately think they could!

 

And in this case, not only did that lifehack turn out to work pretty well, it also now gave you the ability to easily make a delicious fruit salad quickly and easily, or, at the very least, give you a reason to hunt down a mango and a drinking glass at the next dinner party you go to!

Photos credited to: Dindo Mojica

La Machine Food Processor History

Living in this modern times tends to render us too familiar with the technologies around. By merely plugging into a socket and with just the switch of a button, we enjoy the benefits of prolonged food shelf lives with the refrigerator, cooler air with air conditioning system, and convenient food preparation with the food processor. We tend to forget that these appliances have not always there. They were once mere ideas and imaginations drafted to sketches and blueprints. Someone saw the potential of the idea and turned these drawings into prototypes, developed and then launched them to the public. One of us got wind of it, that’s why it ended up in our homes.

“If you see a turtle on top of a fence, you can conclude that it got help getting there.” How did one kitchen appliance go from an imagination to reality? We’ll look into the story of La Machine.

What is the La Machine? 

The La Machine is a food processor introduced by Moulinex in the late 1970s. To understand the history of this machine (or of anything else), we have to begin looking at the circumstances surrounding its conception, development, and launch.

The Beginnings of Moulinex

Moulinex is a French company known today as one of the popular brands of kitchen appliances. Its history dates back to the 1920s when its founder, Jean Mantelet, started a small business for the agriculture market, initially manufacturing hand pumps and spraying equipment. By 1926, Mantelet veered towards the domestic appliances market which led to the founding of Moulinex’ predecessor, Manufacture d’Emboutissage de Bagnolet in 1929. By 1932, he would develop its first product: a hand operated vegetable mill, known as the “moulin” which would later give company its name.

An Interesting Legend

Mantelet is a self-proclaimed ladies’ man — that is, in a business point of view. He claims that he has always wanted to sell something that women could use. Legend has it that his venture into the domestic appliance market was inspired by his wife. A “lumpy puree she served him” once for a meal opened his eyes to the need for kitchen a device which would peel and prepare vegetables with less effort. This led to the development of the the Moulinette “moulin à légumes” or vegetable mill. The success of the mill convinced Mantelet that he and his company should continue with low-end, mass-market products.

Ford’s Assembly Line and Electric Appliance

Mantelet continued with mass-market manufacturing of innovative domestic appliances; and by 1953, his company had more than 90 patents for various products although most of them were manually operated kitchen devices. Three years later, Mantelet launched its electric coffee mill, the Moulinex, at a price less than half of those in the market. The company’s low price and a catchy slogan, “Moulinex Libère la Femme!” (Moulinex liberates women), captured the hearts of French housewives and ensured the company’s spot as a manufacturer of affordable kitchen gadgets.

Moulinex and the Domestic Appliance Mass Market

The company also ventured into domestic appliance markets abroad such as when the vegetable mill was introduced in the United States in 1933. By 1956, it was a well established manufacturer of home appliances in France and countries abroad. Riding on the success of the coffee mill, Mantelet changed the company’s name to “Moulinex” in 1957. The company also improved its product lines, while remaining true to Mantelet’s cherished mass-market, low-price category. By 1962, Moulinex had become the premier French-based electric home appliance manufacturer.

The 1960s and Food Processors

Something about France inspires kitchen appliances. Was it because they were cooking more that led them to devise ways to relieve the drudgery of repetitive, tedious kitchen tasks? Perhaps. But one thing is for sure, it was the desire to make light of kitchen work for caterers led a catering company salesman, Pierre Verdun, to propose a device to aid his clients. It was similar, though less technologically impressive, from the food processors we know today. He introduced a bowl with a revolving blade in the base, which would reduce the time spent on repetitive chopping, mixing, and shredding. This was the beginning of the Robot-Coupe, a company which started manufacturing food processors for professional kitchens. In 1971, a smaller unit called the Magimix was developed for the home kitchen.

Carl G. Sontheimer, an engineer from Connecticut, went on a tour with his wife in Europe. While attending a food show, the Magimix caught his attention. He bought the distribution rights for America and decided to develop the device. After more than a year of modifications and improvement, he launched Cuisinart (a combination of “cuisine” and “art”) to the market. Cuisinart would dominate the food processor market in the years to come, paving the way for Magimix in Europe, as well.

The Birth of La Machine: A Cheaper Food Processor

The company’s commitment to stay true to its slogan to “liberate women” paired with Mantelet’s positive outlook to take advantage of electricity to do so has led to the development of more electric powered kitchen appliances. With the rise of the food processor to fame in the US, Moulinex introduced a device to the country that can also chop and shred, dubbing it “La Machine.” Initially manufactured in France and later on by Regal Ware Inc. in the US, it was positioned to rival the the rising kitchen superstar, Cuisinart. Its competitive advantage lay in its lower price, which was offered up to half the price of other brands. The company’s strategy was to manufacture products in quantity and sell them at a narrow profit margin to keep their prices low.

Moulinex continued to dominate the French market with its products. However, La Machine’s belated introduction to the U.S. market, a couple of years later than the Cuisinart, was not as successful as they had hoped. Nonetheless, the La Machine continued to occupy more and more kitchens and Moulinex kept developing the device, later on launching new models.

La Machine met with a bit of trouble in the 1980s. Regal Appliance Inc. announced the voluntary recall of 1.4 million bowl covers for certain Moulinex and Moulinex Regal La Machine food processors, which may present a laceration hazard. The models included in the recall were manufactured from 1980 to June 8, 1984: the LM2 (La Machine II), LM3 (La Machine III), LM5 (La Machine V), and the JC Penney model 8330.

Later on, the food processor market opened a new niche with the introduction of the mini processor, Oskar. Regal later on introduced two smaller-sized La Machine models to compete with the Little Oskar. In keeping with their commitment to low price domestic appliances, both models retailed at significantly lower prices than other mini food processors.

Potato Slicer

They’re a staple food. Almost everywhere you go, every restaurant, grocery store, every kitchen of every friend you have, you’re nearly guaranteed to find some of these in a pantry or a cupboard somewhere. You can get them fried, baked, mashed, cubed, as wedges, or even throw chunks of it into a soup or stew. They absorb the flavors you give them amazingly well, yet still can have a flavor all of their own, and hundreds, if not thousands of dishes, depend on this tuber. You’ve probably guessed what it is by now, haven’t you? Of course, I’m talking about potatoes!

 

Incredibly versatile, although a little starchy, potatoes are an almost inescapable part of our diets. The first ever time potatoes were cultivated can be traced all the way back to anywhere between 8,000 and 5,000 B.C. The Inca tribe, native to the region, were some of the first peoples we’ve discovered to have grown and domesticated potatoes in a comparable way to how we do today. For the Inca, these potatoes provided vital sustenance for their tribespeople, and, being relatively easy to grow in large numbers, became a staple food of the Inca for a long time before Europeans found their way to the Americas. That’s right, the food that became so popular throughout Europe that the “Potato Famines” later caused many Irish peoples to starve or move to the Americas, wasn’t even known outside of the Americas until Spanish Conquistadors first made contact with the Inca tribe.

 

In fact, Potatoes became so popular not only in Europe, but throughout the entire world, that almost every single culinary culture on the planet includes potatoes in some way. From curries in India, to vodka in Russia, and Shepherd’s Pie in England, not even mentioning the countless dishes throughout the Middle East, Africa, and the rest of Asia. According to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, the average American consumes just over 110 pounds of potatoes every year, and the average European doubles that! So, with such a versatile, storied, and undeniably popular food that will inevitably find its way into many of your dishes, it’s important to have the right tools at your disposal to properly prepare them. In the spirit of this, we’re going to be examining a few different tools you can use for nearly any dish you’ll be making! We’ll be going through potato chip slicers, slicers specific for making your potatoes into amazing French fries, ribbon slicers, and in sticking with our historical theme, take a look at some vintage slicers used for potatoes as well! So, in addition to making sure you’re going to be amazing at your next trivia night, you’ll also be prepared for your next dinner! Let’s get started.

 

Potato Chip Makers

One of the most widespread uses of potatoes, everyone is familiar with potato chips. They’re so widespread and popular that Frito Lay, one of the most popular producers of potato chips in the world, cooks over one million pounds of potatoes in its factories every single day. And the vast majority of those potatoes will only have been at the factory for six to eight hours before being fried, packaged, and shipped off to one of 79 different countries. Talk about efficient! But, the downside to these pre-cooked chips, even though they’re delicious themselves, are that they’re often higher in sodium and trans-fats than you might be comfortable with. Thankfully, it’s easy to make them yourself!

 

Now, you could just use a knife and chop each chip off the potato individually, but if you do, you’ll often end up with uneven chips that are different thicknesses, which will cause some to take a longer time to cook than others, and if they’re too thick, they won’t really crisp at all. So, the best option you have is to use a tool specifically made for cutting up chips at home, and thankfully, there’s plenty of them around to help you!

 

One of them worth mentioning, like many of the other tools you’ll find in this article, doesn’t only work with potatoes, but also with many other vegetables you could want sliced! Not only sweet potatoes – which make delicious chips on their own as well – but also things like onions, bell peppers, and even a few fruits like mangoes and apples, if you take out the cores and pits first!

That tool is the OXO Good Grips Adjustable HandHeld Mandoline Slicer. This Mandoline slicer is great for making your chips evenly every time, and with three different settings to control exactly how thickly it cuts your potatoes, not only will you be able to turn a whole potato into ready-to-fry chips in the blink of an eye, you’ll also be satisfied with the result every time! This slicer comes in a durable, BPA-free and food-safe plastic, and is incredibly simple to use. Cut a little bit off of both ends of the potato so the ends are flat, then cut it in half to make it easier to work with. Adjust the blades on the board so that you can get your desired thickness, and place one of the halves between the plastic board with the blades, and use the plastic hand piece, the part you have to grab and press on the top of the potato with, to move it along the blades. Move it in slow, yet firm strokes, preferably directly over something like a plate, cutting board, or bowl to make it easier to collect all the chips when you’re ready to fry everything up. When you’re done, if you want more, slice up the other half of your potato the same way, and then either bake them in an oven, or, if you’re feeling traditional, get a deep-fryer going, or just simply heat up a pot of vegetable oil (be VERY careful!) and deep-fry them! Take them out when they’re suitably crispy, get rid of the excess oil by letting them rest between some paper towels for a few minutes, then move them onto a plate, season them as desired, and enjoy your fresh, homemade potato chips!

 

French Fry Slicer

Name almost any burger restaurant you can think of. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, even the more local, non-franchise burger joints you might have in your area. There’s always one thing people are always comparing about them, and it isn’t their burgers – it’s their fries. The topic of which fast food restaurant has the best fries on the market has been hotly debated ever since fast food entered the mainstream, and it is certainly not stopping anytime soon. Fries, “French Fries” or “Freedom Fries” as they’re still known in some particularly patriotic parts of America, are so popular that they make up significant portions of revenue for the burger joints that sell them today.

 

These delicious, fried potato sticks first gained American attention when none other than Thomas Jefferson encountered these delightful treats while he was posted as the Ambassador to France under Washington, when the United States was still fighting for recognition among the larger world powers at the time. While in Paris, he discovered Fries, had his chef take cooking lessons from the Chefs of French Aristocrats, and brought the recipe back with him. People took to calling them “French Fries”, and the name stuck.

 

The name “Freedom Fries”, however, is much more recent. In 2003, following the tragedy at the world trade center two years earlier, the United States government proposed an invasion of Iraq. The government of France, however, refused to support the measure, and in response, Bob Ney, The Chairman of the Committee on House Administration at the time, took it upon himself to change the name “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries” on all the cafeteria menus in the House of Congress. Some restaurant owners saw this and decided to follow suit, starting the trend around the country. Some other items, most notably French’s brand mustards, were also asked to change names to support this effort, but at least in French’s case, they declined. As support began to waver for the Iraq war, many of these restaurant owners began to quietly change their menus back to the way they were before, and today, you can only find “Freedom Fries” in local restaurants that are few and far between. Maybe they just like the way the name sounds.

 

No matter what you call them, however, we can all agree that we still love them just the same. And if you’re not in the mood to go out and buy some for yourself, or you want to do something more creative than you can commonly get from most restaurants, I’m very happy to saw I have an incredibly simple, easy, and quick tool for you!

 

That tool is the Westmark Multipurpose French Fry Cutter! It simply cannot get much easier than this machine. As long as your potato is the right size, there’s no need to cut it before hand or anything like that. This machine comes with three different blades you can install in the front of the machine to determine how thick your fries will be. Once you’ve chosen your thickness and installed the right part, all you need to do is place your potato in the chamber behind the blades, face your tool over a bowl or plate to catch the fries, grab the handle, and crank it as hard as you can! It may take a bit of effort at first to get it started, but once the blades start cutting though that potato, it’ll be easy to finish it off. This machine is completely manual, meaning there’s no plugs or wires to worry about, and you can easily store it anywhere! This tool makes it easy to quickly make amazing fries in seconds – Just place and pull!

 

Although, if the idea of using some elbow grease doesn’t appeal to you, you may want to take a look in your Food Processor’s box, if you have one. Many food processors have a spinning blade attachment made specifically for slicing French fries. These usually sit at the top of the bowl, and require you to feed potatoes through the feeder tube at the top to slice them into amazing fries. It’s certainly less physically demanding than the other method, if you have a food processor, the attachment for it, and don’t mind dragging them both out.

 

Ribbon-Cutter

Now, if you’re anything like me, you had no idea that “Potato Ribbons” were actually a dish. A real, apparently quite delicious, dish. I thought I knew quite a bit about potatoes, but I’m always learning. These ribbons are made by spiralizing your potatoes, and then – big surprise here – deep-frying them. If you do it correctly, the spirals should keep their shape while you’re frying them and turn out to be picturesque, golden spirals on your plate. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to deep-frying for this particular dish, you may be out of luck, because the shape of the spiral would make it very difficult to cook in an oven without burning certain parts of it. Meaning, the only way this could really cook evenly, without one side burning to a crisp in the process, is probably to deep-fry it. But, feel free to try to prove me wrong and find a method that is right for you!

 

Now, the tool that will help you with making this aesthetically pleasing dish is theSpiralizer, FDA Approved 6-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer by HOLUCK. This machine, like the title says, is FDA approved for use with food, and is made of lightweight, BPA-free plastics and stainless steel blades. The entire machine is a little large, honestly, but it does its job amazingly well. It doesn’t only work for regular potatoes, but also sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchinis, even apples and cucumbers! This model comes with six different blades, two of which are to alter the distance between you spirals, as well as some straight-blades to cut them into regular, straight ribbons! Luckily, this machine seems to be as versatile as some of the foods you’ll be using it on.

 

It’s also incredibly easy to use. Once you’ve set up the machine on your counter, it’s as simple as ensuring your food will fit in the chamber, placing it in correctly, ensuring the blades are installed properly, and then cranking the handle at the back of the machine to produce fantastic, spiralized or straight pieces of potato ready to be fried! It runs incredibly smoothly, and all the pieces you get from your food go into one, easy to access area, where you can funnel them right into a waiting bowl or plate!

 

Not to mention, this particular product comes with a lifetime warranty from Holuck! So, if anything breaks, you don’t need to worry about buying a new one or checking your receipt to see how long your warranty is. Contact the company, send it back, and get a brand new one after! I’ve always been a huge fan of buy-it-for-life products, and if you are too, the lifetime warranty should have you pretty excited! The company even allows you to ask for replacements if individual parts of your machine break down or stop working, meaning that if your handle breaks when you’re cranking the machine, you don’t need to replace the whole thing, just send away from a new handle! Incredibly easy and efficient. If you want to make some potato ribbons, this machine will be more than enough for you.

 

Vintage Potato Slicers

In keeping with our theme of history today, I thought it would be interested to not only go back in time to examine some history around potatoes and how they were utilized, but also to take a look at the tool that were used with them, and see if you could even get your hands on an old-fashioned one yourself!

 

Today, potatoes are so vital to our diets that they’re actually the world’s fourth most cultivated crop, following behind rice, wheat, and corn. Not only that, but the largest producer of potatoes on the market right now may also surprise you: it’s none other than China. The United States is ranked fourth in overall potato production worldwide.

 

The reason potatoes are so commonly associated with Ireland, and why the Potato Famines hit the population of Ireland so hard – killing millions and displacing more – is because of a man named Sir Walter Raleigh. History buffs may be familiar with him, but the gist of it is that he was a British Lord who first brought the potato to Ireland in 1589, creating a farm of over 40,000 acres dedicated solely to that one crop. While the popularity of the potato grew quickly in Ireland with Raleigh’s help, it took almost another four decades before they would reach the mainstream food market in the rest of Europe.

 

What caused potatoes to suddenly gain moment four decades later came about during tough planting seasons for farmers. They were having trouble with more traditional staple foods, such as wheat and oats, and thus tried the potato instead. They found it much easier to cultivate than their other crops, and it quickly became common knowledge that, since potatoes contain many of the vitamins needed for survival, it only took approximately one acre of potato cultivation to sustain ten people. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder why the lower and middle classes of not only Ireland, but much of Europe grew to rely on potatoes for much of their food sources. They were easy to grow, relatively cheap, plentiful, and nutritious.

 

During these times of plenty, the Irish used many of the tools to prepare their potatoes that you might recognize today! Many of them simply used knives to chop them up, or boiled them in water, but there’s also evidence of some people at the time using something that many people today would think resembles a cheese grater. They would use this to grate their potatoes (as well as other foods) to fry them into a hash, or to make them easier to mash. And for the mashing, they used tools that look familiar to us to.

 

A more modern iteration of one of these tools is the OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler! Many people at the time, including the Irish, used smaller, finer knives in order to slice their potatoes into ribbon-like strips, or to remove the skin from them to make a smoother end-product. Luckily, we live in a time where even very simple products can save you from doing that much work! This simple, yet sleek and ergonomic peeler fits well in your hand, and always cuts clean and effortlessly. No matter if you’re using it to get the skin away from the potato or if you’re cutting it into long, thin ribbons to bake or fry up, this peeler can definitely do the job you’re looking for.

 

It was only plentiful for a time, anyhow. In the 1840’s, a crop disease known as the Potato Blight swept through Europe. Countries lost almost all of their potato crops, but many were able to weather the loss of this food because they still had other staple crops to fall back on, such as the wheat and oats we mentioned earlier.

 

Ireland, however, was extremely reliant of the potato as a food source. When the Potato Blight reached Ireland, the main food source for almost the entire population disappeared overnight. This, coupled with the fact that the British government at the time refused to send food to the starving peoples, and blocked ships from the Americas trying to deliver much-needed sustenance, lead to the deaths of over a million Irish peoples, and lead to many more emigrating to the Americas in search of more food and a better life.

 

And that is why even the things we take for granted the most in our lives, from the tools we use all the way down to the ingredients we use in are cooking, are all incredibly interesting! They all have a long, detailed history that we can learn from, if not at least be prepared to whip out some facts next time you’re cooking with some friends. No matter what you make, what you call it, or how you make it, happy cooking!


pictures accredited to http://mrg.bz/abd273

Hand Held Food Processors

Food processors are quickly growing in popularity, to the point where almost any kitchen would benefit from having one around. They have a wide array of uses, from grinding up meats, nuts, fruits and veggies, to blending up and mixing dips, and so much more! With certain attachments, some food processors are even capable of making fine julienne slices, or even thick, well-cut French fries! With so many uses and so much versatility, it’s easy to see why so many people, of all types of skill levels and tastes, are choosing to make them a part of their regular cooking.

However, a lot of these food processors can be quite bulky, and take up a lot of valuable space on your counter that you may not be willing to give up, or that you may not even have to spare! It’s very important to have all of the tools you need to be able to cook any kind of dish you might like, and luckily, you don’t have to be limited by the space on your counter any longer! Now, you have more choices to pick from than just the traditional, bulky machines that many people use. Today, there is a large selection of hand-held food processors that are small, lightweight, and require no electricity, so you don’t need to worry about plugging them in anywhere, you can just throw whatever you’re preparing into it and use it manually! They’re ideal for small kitchens, or for people who already have so many things crammed onto their countertops, because these models can just easily fit inside of a cupboard or shelf, allowing for fast and easy storage almost anywhere. These hand-held processors are also very easy to clean because of their smaller size.

You’ll find most, if not all, of the food processors on this list are powered by a string system. The way these machines work is that on the top of the machine, there is a handle attached to a string. When you grab on the handle and pull, it causes the string attached to the blades inside the machine to spin around. You have to keep repeating this pulling motion until your food is processed to your satisfaction. Quite the workout, but you still get results!

So, if you’re looking for a convenient way to still be able to process food with a hand-held machine you could fit inside a cupboard to shelf instead of having to decide which spot on your counter you want to sacrifice, let’s take a look at a few of your options!

  1. Gourmia GSC9285 Swift Chopper Pull String Manual Food Processor

This is a small manual food processor made by Gourmia, a small, but still reliable kitchenware company that typically sells cheap, durable products. This particular model is no exception to that, being made of durable, BPA-free, food-grade plastics, making it both resistant and lightweight, more than other electric models which are made partially from metal or heavier plastics. This processor runs off of that same string and pulley system I described above, so its operation is quite simple. Grab the handle at the top, give it a yank, and keep doing that until your food is sufficiently ground up.

 

This model comes in a lot of different varieties to suit whatever you might need. They have the Small version, which is a robust two cups, the Large four cup version, and the ‘Twin’ sized version, which give it a spacious six cup capacity. It still operates exactly the same way throughout all of these sizes, the only difference between them is the bowl size. They also carry the very versatile Chopper and Grater set, which comes with not only the Twin sized manual processor, but also with Gourmia’s special tools that you can use to slice, grate, dice and blend your fruits and veggies!

And they’re all fairly inexpensive, too. The Chopper and Grater set comes up to $15.99, and just the food processors and even cheaper than that, especially as you go down in size. This option is perfect for those on a budget!

 

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile
  • Compact
  • BPA-Free, food-grade plastic
  • Durable

Cons:

  • If you pull too hard on the handle, it could break
  • Blades may need to eventually be replaced or sharpened
  • Repeatedly having to pull a handle may be difficult for the elderly or those suffering from wrist pains

 

  1. Manual Food Chopper Processor Mixer

This particular processor is brought to you by Jevolve. It’s also a lesser-known brand for kitchen tools, but is still a great option for you nonetheless. This model of processor also gives you a nice option to choose your machine to have a pink, green or white lid, which could add a nice splash of color to any kitchen! This particular model comes with two blades inside the bowl, and operates using the same handle and pulley mechanism on the top that we’ve already discussed extensively. It uses three blades inside the bowl to ensure that all of your ingredients get nicely processed and chopped. These are made of food-grade stainless steel, and are quite good quality when you get it out of the box.

 

The plastic is also durable and BPA-free, and makes an excellent storage container for chopped food, if you don’t end up eating all of the food you’ve chopped! So, if you make too much salsa, guacamole, or anything else, you can take what you need and put the rest into your fridge for later, with no need to even take it out of the processor! These only come in a robust three cup capacity, but that should be plenty of space for most of your purposes! And, at only a little more than $10, this option is also as economical for your wallet as it is for your kitchen space!

 

Pros:

  • Robust and compact
  • BPA-Free plastic
  • Three stainless steel food-grade blades
  • Comes in a variety of colors for any kitchen theme
  • Can be stored in the fridge

Cons:

  • As said, the handle may not be ideal for people who have joint pains
  • Cannot be ordered in a larger size
  • The handle may break if pulled too hard

 

Are These for Me?

That’s for you to decide! If you don’t want to get a slightly more cumbersome machine that you have to plug in and possibly reserve some counterspace for, then these could definitely be for you! They’re inexpensive, yet still effective, and with a bit of hard work and elbow grease, you can produce great results! Just make sure you know your own strength and don’t rip the handle off the string! But, if you’re not up to that for whatever reason, be it joint pain or anything else, and don’t mind spending a little more of your money to get it, then a regular, electricity-powered Food Processor might be up your alley! No matter what you choose in the end, happy cooking!

How Food Processors Work

Technology has led to the development of many inventions that aid human labor. One of the most well-loved of these inventions in the kitchen is the food processor.

 

A Brief Background on the Food Processor

A food processor is a device designed to perform kitchen tasks swiftly and easily. This appliance is available both in manual and electric models, although the most commonly used ones are equipped with electric motors. It comes with various interchangeable attachments which allows it to carry out a versatile array of kitchen functions. The most basic ones can chop, slice, shred, puree, and mix various foods. Other models can also knead dough, juice fruits and vegetables, beat eggs, etc.

 

Electric food processors gradually developed along with the industrial revolution, which made technology available to the masses. Some date the first food processor to as early as 1919 but most written histories recognize at least two innovations as significant in the development of food processors as we know them today.

 

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In the 1960s, a catering company salesman, Pierre Verdun, noticed the repetitive chopping, mixing, and shredding that his clients go through. This led him to propose a solution — a bowl with a revolving blade in the base, which would reduce the time spent on these repetitive tasks. This was the beginning of the Robot-Coupe, a company which started manufacturing food processors for professional kitchens. In 1971, a smaller unit called the Magimix was developed for the home kitchen.

A man, by the name of Carl G. Sontheimer, an engineer from Connecticut, was captivated by Verdun’s model when he saw it at a food show and decided it develop it further. He bought the distribution rights for America and brought the technology closer to the home cook. After more than a year of modifications and development, he launched the unit in 1973 at the National Housewares Exposition in Chicago, calling it Cuisinart.

 

Basic Components of a Food Processor

 

The basic components of food processors are a motor, a bowl with a lid and feed tube, and a set of attachments. No matter the size and the model, they function the same.

Food processors are equipped with a motor encased at the bottom of the device. Some models have more powerful motors, which allow more heavy-duty processing. The motor is the heaviest part of the device which gives it dual purpose. First of all, it powers a shaft to which the attachments are connected. Food processing is basically the action of the attachment turning in high speed on the food it gets in contact with. Secondly, the motor also serves to stabilize the unit because of its weight.

The bowl, which is normally made with transparent plastic, fits into the shaft. Bowls come in an array of capacities, ranging mostly from 2 to 16 cups although some go as big as 20 cups. The published capacity, however, refers to solids. For liquids, this is reduced by 1 to 2 cups. Some models may come with different bowl sizes to accommodate both your needs for cooking regular portions or in large quantities.

Most models nowadays employ a safety mechanism which allows the food processor to work only when the bowl is properly secured in place. A lid covers the bowl to avoid spillage. It has a feed tube, where food can be inserted into. Some units have wider feed tubes to lessen the need to cut up food to smaller sizes before plunging into the bowl.

Attachments

The versatility of food processors come from the variation of attachments that come along with the unit. The standard attachments for food processors are an S-shaped blade and a shredding disc and slicing disc.

The S-blade, also known as the sabatier blade, with two curved blades on each side of its central post giving it its S shape. It works to chop, blend, mix, or puree. When the machine is on pulse, the blade will chop and mix; when it is on continuously, it will blend and puree. It is also sometimes known as a multi-purpose blade or a knife blade.

The shredding and slicing disc sits at the top of the bowl and acts as food enters from the feed tube. Food falls into the bowl after it has been shredded or sliced. The shredding and slicing disc may come separately, although they usually come in a reversible disc. You just have to flip the disc to ensure that the right face is utilized. Some models are also equipped with a system to adjust the thickness of the slices. Some models also allow for different shredding sizes, from coarse to very fine, depending on the attachments although most would require that you purchase them separately.

The blades and discs may come in metal or hard plastic, although many prefer the former for its sharpness and durability.

Additional attachments:

  • Some models are equipped with a dough blade. It has a straighter blade compared to the S-blade, which can knead dough for making pastry, cookie, and pizza. The power of the motor determines the kind of dough that a unit can handle. Some models, even though they might come with this blade, may not be heavy duty enough to handle certain doughs. You may want to consider this as you purchase your unit.
  • A whisking or emulsifying disc comes in handy when you need to whip heavy cream or egg whites. It incorporates air to the food, resulting to a fluffy end product. You can also use tit to make milkshakes as well.
  • A julienne disc is used to cut food into long, thin matchsticks. This attachment has short but sharp teeth protruding from the disc protruding from the disc.
  • A French fry disc, obviously cuts vegetables (such as potato) into pieces which look like the french fry. It looks similar to the julienne disc but yields bigger, fatter pieces.
  • Some models come with juicers, which separate the “juice” of fruits and vegetables from its solids/pulp. A citrus juicer is a dome-shaped attachment that fits on top of the shaft and turns to extract the juice from citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc. A non-citrus juicer purees fruits and vegetables and then collects the pulp in the middle and strains the juice into the bottom of the bowl.