Saturday, July 23, 2011

Missing My Food Processor

Never buy your food processor at Walmart.

About a week ago, our old Cuisinart mini-food processor kicked the can. It'd done it's job well, having lasted for such a long time--especially since I'd been using it at least four or five times a day lately. That little processor and I had a close relationship. We were tight. But it was time to move on. It had to happen eventually.

So, low on money, dad and I headed out to Walmart to pick up a new one that very same day (with my insisting that I needed another one immediately).
Of course, I would have taken so much more delight in buying a processor at a real kitchen appliance store, but, of course, such things were out of our budget--and I (and dad too, probably) would've gone straight for the most expensive, bad-butt model.

You get what you pay for, though.

And Wally-World is definitely not the best place to buy kitchen tools. The selection was limited to a mere single processor--not a selection at all!--and it was cheap (fifteen dollars) and didn't look like much at all, rather plastic-y. But we figured it would do the job, so we bought it.

At first the food processor worked okay. Although the motor was a little weak and it took a while to fully blend frozen fruit and nuts and things and usually needed some added liquid to help out, it still managed to do it well enough.
But just a few days later it died. Piece of crud. Turns out my previous fears about the motor and such were correct. Never again will I buy cheap tools.

I'd learned my lesson, so I went online to Ebay to find a new processor: a good, solid one that would last. Of course, I couldn't afford a really nice, state-of-the-art model, but I was able to find a new, "buy now," free shipping, twenty-five-piece Magic Bullet set for sixty dollars. I've heard from others, particularly from other bloggers like CCK, that the Magic Bullet works really well and is really good for personal (and other) processing.

But the package isn’t going to arrive until Monday. How am I supposed to live that long without my beloved processing abilities? After just one day I’m already suffering from a processor “withdrawal.” I can’t make my morning soft-serves, shakes, or smoothies; I can’t blend nuts or dried fruit or other goodies to make into my favorite snacks—the raw, homemade bars, balls, and bites I love so much. There are so many yummy vegan recipes that just aren’t practical without a hand-sized blender. I need it. I can’t wait until Monday. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself until then. I miss my dear mini processor dearly. </3

I’d had banana oatmeal the morning last, so I went with something a little different: Figgy-Flax Granola (I said a little different; it was hard to find a way to shake up my brekkie without my [beloved] food processor. I ended up still having to go with oats). Except I didn’t have enough time to make a real granola—very slowly cooked for a very long time at a low temperature—and I added a fourth a cup of almond milk, so it ended up turning out more like a baked oatmeal, very soft and not too crispy. It was basically like a baked cereal. I loved it anyway, of course.

To make the Figgy-Flax Bake, I combined a serving of oats, a tablespoon of wheat germ, and a tablespoon of milled flax (but I’m sure whole flax seeds would work just as well, if not better for a granola). I chopped up four dried mission black figs superfine and then mixed them into the dry stuff, then added a teaspoon and a half of pure vanilla extract and the fourth cup of almond milk. Next time, if I’m going for granola, I’ll skip the almond milk, or at least only use one or two tablespoons, and I’ll bake it at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour or so, probably more like two or three.

But this time, to get more of a baked-cereal kind of thing (and because it was breakfast time and I was hungry for some breakfast munchies) I spread the mixture on a baking dish lined with parchment paper and popped it in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for thirty-five minutes or so. But halfway through I upped the temperature to 400 because I got impatient. ;-P If you wanted to use this basic recipe to make a baked oatmeal, you’d just add more liquid in the beginning and cook it like I did, maybe longer. What I did was a little too moist for a cereal, so I think next time I want to use it that way I’ll only add half the almond milk.

Once it was out of the oven and had cooled a bit, I scooped it into a cereal bowl, topped it with some fresh, juicy, in-season blueberries and enjoyed it with a little (just a little—it didn’t need much at all) almond milk.

The recipe for Figgy-Flax Oatmeal Bake/Granola will be posted after I get a chance to perfect it, but as you can see its pretty basic; just play with the ingredient amounts a little to see what works best for you. For full-on granola, you might even want to add extra seeds, nuts, dried fruit, or anything else. Maybe make a Figgy-Coconut Granola, with unsweetened shredded coconut? Coconut and fig makes a good match. J

So somehow I’m just going to have to deal until Monday afternoon—using/crafting recipes that don’t need a food processor (agh!) It will be EXTREMELY AGONIZING. Ants in my pants! (Though that saying doesn’t usually really describe how I feel… it’s more like there are ants in my head.) I’m anxiously awaiting that day... but I think I can manage. ;-) Either way, I have to. For now, if I want to make anything that needs blending, mushing, or any kind of other processing, I'll just need to do it by hand the good ol' fashioned way, with a fork or a spoon (which is fine and all, but I just don't get the same consistency, and I can't do nearly as many things... *sigh*).

Do you have a kitchen tool that you just can't live without?

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