Saturday, July 7, 2012

Trial and Error with the Cuisinart

I recently got a food processor that I'm really excited about.  It seems like some of the most simple fresh-food dishes can take the longest time just because of the prep-work for the vegetables.  Like pasta salad is simple: pasta, vinaigrette, vegetables.  Done.  But washing, trimming, and slicing veggies is time consuming.  I'm  trying to see how much of a sous chef this little machine can be.

So far I've only used one blade, and it basically whacks produce down to a puree.  This was my attempt for it to chop veggies for pasta salad.  I think one mistake I made was filling the basin too high, so in attempt to get all particles circulated through, I over chopped:

I know there are so many other ways to set-up the different blades. Apparently you can use it as a meat grinder and a dough kneader.  I just haven't watched the accompanying DVD just yet.  But even the whack-it-all-down-finely blade looks like it would be good for salsa or tabbouleh or pesto.  Here's our attempt for homemade salsa yesterday.  It came out pretty tasty, and made about a gallon.

3.75 lbs of ripe tomatoes, skin on (about 7 medium-large tomatoes)

3 green Serrano peppers, seeded. (I wonder now if they should have been ripe red)

2 jalapenos, seeded.

1/2 cup cilantro (if there were 2 cilantro fans in this home, I would have added more, but alas there is only 1 ;)

5 cloves garlic (maybe I'll do less garlic next time. I love garlic, but I could smell garlic even until this morning. Our pores were probably oozing it.)

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and the flesh pared off ('wish I had used 4 instead)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled

1 small can tomato paste (you do need this for a red color, though maybe I'll only do half a can next time. Otherwise the green and white of the peppers, onion, and garlic dominates and it's the shade of puke)

1/4 cup lime juice and salt to taste

Everything just got pulsated in the processor, in no particular order except I did do the peppers and garlic first and separately. I wanted to make certain they were very fine, so nobody got a surprise chunk of raw garlic or hot pepper.
It was not a chunky salsa like what's jarred on the shelf. It had a soupy consistency like what you get at Mexican restaurants.

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