Monday, February 20, 2012


I generally eschew small appliances in the kitchen, figuring I can do most things a food processor could do by just spending a little more time with the chef's knife, mortar and pestle, and some elbow grease. Now that we've added an immersion blender and an 11 cup food processor, I can't believe I ever lived without them. Here is just a sampling of what I've made with the food processor in the past week:

  • Bread dough--sandwich and two rustic loaves*
  • Tofu-Tempeh "meat"balls*
  • Carrot-miso dipping sauce for above meatballs*
  • A gluten free salty pecan crust for a vegan pumpkin pie (which was amazing!)
  • Arugula-cilantro pesto
  • Coconut milk from shredded, unsweetened coconut*
  • Chopping and slicing of veggies

The immersion blender has also helped puree a couple of soups (a red lentil and a curried red kuri squash soup) and blend some walnut-miso dressings. I tried making mayonnaise with it, too, but was not successful. I may have added the olive oil too quickly.

All in all I am very satisfied with our two new appliances. They are broadening my recipe repertoire helping alleviate some of the ho-hum of stand by meals.

*Recipes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finding Calm in the Kitchen

After a rather tumultuous week in the classroom, I am so glad to be spending some time with Lane both in and out of doors. After a decadent morning of sleeping in and brunch at Annapurna's we went for a hike in the foothills of Sandia mountain. Although we didn't have the blue New Mexico sky above us, it was a very pleasant hike in the wilderness area. Part of the trail wound through a cholla cactus "forest" and we saw many pinon jays and an especially lovely red-tailed hawk perched on a granite boulder. We found a trail new to us that weaves its way along a canyon and perhaps we'll be able to try it soon.

On the way home we picked up a few kitchen appliances I've been coveting for some time: an immersion blender and a food processor. Thanks to the food processor I already have two loaves of bread rising and am planning for some large batches of soup to be made tomorrow to put the immersion blender to use. While most consumerism really depresses me, buying two products that will ease food prep just seems to make sense.  And although I have a mountain of grading and planning also on schedule for tomorrow, I envision a good part of the day in the kitchen filling the house with delicious smells and making nourishing food for our family. I feel fairly calm when I'm in the kitchen, especially when I know something fantastic is on the way. I hope that these new gadgets will add to, not detract from, that calm feeling and the enjoyment that cooking gives me.