Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jedi Kitchen Tricks

I mean, I thought something for the apartment...maybe a new clock, or a cool phone, or a great art book, or something...but a blender? I mean, what is this? 1958? Give the little wife a blender?! - Father of the Bride - 1991

I have acquired a lot of kitchen equipment over the years (Some twice.)  I am picky about the devices I choose. I was schooled by the Frug and in most cases could pass the Alton Brown unitasker test. I could get by without some of them, but they make life easier.

There is only one I wish had come into my life earlier and that’s the stick blender. Invented in Switzerland in 1950, it didn't start working it's way into our kitchens in the mid 80's. I would have been saved a couple of messes if I had gotten one earlier. That’s what happens when you ignore trustworthy advice and use a standard blender for hot stuff without venting and covering with a towel. That aside, it isn’t easy to get food out of completely. It also can be a pain to clean and keep track of the parts.

The peskiest part is the rubber gasket. They not only wear out, they break. It used to be easy to find a replacement. They hung from a rack near the display of blenders. I needed one last year and looked everywhere – I finally found one at a local independently owned hardware store. I stocked up.

I still have plenty of uses for it, not the least of which is as a spice grinder. The stick gives more flexibility. From the “boat motor” I’ve used in restaurant kitchens, to home model the stick’s ability to do its job in the cooking container is a blessing. It’s also easy clean up.

My first two were from a reputable manufacturer – one piece model constructed of a plastic. While it is presumable a heat resistant plastic, the first cracked from the heat. Not good. A stick is supposed to work, not over open flame, but at cooking temperatures of at least a boil.

The second broke after a 10 year old was using it in a shallow bowl. A stick is properly known as an immersion blender for a reason.

I finally have a stick blender I like (Cuisinart if you must know). It’s a two piece design with a detachable blade. The blade housing is metal so it stands the heat and it’s a breeze to clean without worrying about the electronics or the cord.

It doesn’t have any extra gizmos or attachments. A chopper, a whisk, a beater - I have stuff that does all that. Frankly, I never find those work as expected or as well as products designed for the task.

It does come with a carafe for blending, as most do. It is also made of presumably heat-resistant plastic. That's the problem once again and that's where my tip comes in. Again, I don't expect to cook in it, but it should hold hot stuff. When you put hot soup in one and see it spreading over the counter, you know it isn’t sufficiently heat-resistant.

My solution? I found a better, inexpensive, option. It’s the container from an retro malted milkshake maker. It is stainless steel, has little indented vanes to facilitate blending and the blade housing of my stick fits the bottom perfectly. Even oily stuff cleans out easily.

That’s my tip. Oh, I got mine a local kitchenware store for $4.99.


Janice Weigle said...

Yeah, I totally agree with you, brand name and price is not always the basis whether you are going to buy a kitchenware or whatever stuff you need in your home. Always topping on my list whenever I need something for my house is the quality it has. I think it's not that hard at all, you just have to be keen in inspecting the stuff you are buying.

Scotty Harris said...

Yes Janice, and maby have some people you trust who have done it before to turn to.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -