Food Processor Tips, Tricks and Techniques
Most of your favourite recipes can be adapted easily to the food processor. Use the appropriate blade to slice, grate, chop, mince or mix. Read the recipe completely, then organize the processing tasks for maximum efficiency and minimal clean up.
Assemble and measure the ingredients. Cut food to fit the feed tube if slicing or grating. Cut food into chunks if chopping or mincing.
The food processor can process hot or cold foods. The bowl goes in the refrigerator or freezer (but not in the microwave oven).
Put a potholder, towel or small mat underneath the base of your food processor. It will be easier to move the machine around on the counter.
Be prepared! To save time and clean-up, process more food than you need (e.g., grated chocolate, cheese, nuts, crumbs, parsley, onions). Refrigerate or freeze extras for future use.
Paper towels are handy to wipe out the food processor bowl for easy clean-ups between steps.
Chopping, Slicing, Grating, and Mincing:
First things first! Process nuts, chocolate and streusel mixtures for coffee cakes first, while the food processor bowl is dry, to avoid extra washing of the bowl and blade.
For uniform results when chopping, all the pieces should be about the same size. When mincing, it’s not as important. Do not process larger quantities than recommended in one batch.
Process hard or dry ingredients first, then soft or wet ingredients. (e.g., chop onions, then add eggs and mayonnaise for egg salad).
Combine ingredients of the same texture. If foods have different textures, process them separately.
Never process foods that are too hard to cut with a knife. You could damage the blade or the machine.
If appearance is important, pack the feed tube carefully. Otherwise, don’t fuss.
To avoid slanted slices when slicing small amounts, place the food to be sliced in an upright position on the right side of the feed tube if blade spins counter-clockwise, and on the left side if blade spins clockwise.
For julienne strips or matchsticks, you need to slice twice! Place food horizontally in the feed tube and slice, using steady pressure. You will get long slices. Re-stack the slices and place them vertically in the feed tube, wedging them in snugly. Slice once again, making long julienne strips. Ideal for potatoes, turnips and zucchini.
It is normal for sliced or grated food to pile up on one side of the bowl. Empty bowl as necessary. Don’t let food press up against the bottom of the slicing or grating disc.
Sometimes a small amount of food will not pass through the Slicer or Grater. Usually, the next item being sliced or shredded will force it through. Otherwise, this tidbit is a snack for the cook. (But no raw chicken, please!)
Butter and cream cheese can be processed directly from the refrigerator – no need to soften them first.
When adding flour to cakes, etc., blend in with on/off pulses, just until it disappears. Over processing results in poor volume or heavy cakes.
Remove the bowl and Steel Blade from the base as soon as you are finished processing. When they are removed together, the blade drops down around the central opening, forming a seal.
Here’s how to hold the Steel Blade in place when emptying the work bowl. Make sure your hands are dry. Insert your middle finger through the hole in the bottom of the bowl, securing the Steel Blade so it doesn’t slip. Grip the outside edge of the bowl with your thumb. Tip the bowl to empty it, scraping out the contents with a spatula.
Another method is to hold the blade in place with a rubber spatula while emptying the bowl. Be careful not to drop the blade in the food- or onto your foot!
Great Ideas for your Food Processor:
Instant Fruit Sauce: Defrost a 10-oz. package of frozen unsweetened raspberries or strawberries (or use 2 cups cut-up fresh berries, peaches or mangoes). Purée on the Steel Blade until smooth. For each cup of fruit, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar (to taste), 1 tsp. orange liqueur and a squeeze of lemon juice. Perfect over ice cream!
Leftover Veggies: Leftover cooked vegetables will thicken gravies, sauces and soups with minimal calories. Purée on the Steel Blade until smooth.
Baby Food: It’s quick, easy and economical to make your own, and there is no need to add sugar, salt or preservatives! Steam or cook fruits or vegetables until very soft. Purée solids on the Steel Blade until very smooth. Cooked Fruits: Apples, apricots, peaches or pears. Cooked Vegetables: Beans, beets, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, or zucchini. You can also purée ripe bananas, cottage cheese, cooked chicken or meat.
To make next step baby food, purée family meals (e.g., macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, chicken, vegetable soup with noodles or rice). Puréed meals are ideal for people on a soft diet, those with chewing, swallowing, digestive or dental difficulties.
Prepare extra baby food and freeze in ice cube trays; wrap well. One cube equals about 2 Tbsp.
For more on Starting on Solids and Baby and Toddler Tips visit Cuisinart’s Baby and Toddler
is one of Canada’s leading cookbook authors. She is a culinary consultant, cooking teacher/lecturer, culinary spokesperson, cookbook author, kosher expert, and freelance food writer, focusing on healthy cooking. A certified Culinary Professional with the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), her culinary career began at the age of three helping prepare meals in her mother’s kitchen and where at age nine she invented her first recipe; she has never looked back. Her cookbooks include The Food Processor Bible, Norene’s Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Helpings, Second Helpings Please
, and The Low Iodine Diet Cookbook
. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada. To learn more about Norene Gilletz, visit her web site, www.Gourmania.com