Food: Home Cookin'01 Nov 2009 06:40 pm

cuisinart immersion blender from costco

I have two new reasons you should own an immersion blender, and both are delicious.

As I often mention, Mike and I live in an average sized apartment with (what feels like) an incredibly small kitchen. We do not have a lot of space for appliances, so the ones we do have must do double or triple duty. Except for the tea machine, that is. We’re even contemplating getting rid of the toaster and microwave to get a toaster-oven.

While I long for a KitchenAid stand mixer (I use my mom and dad’s instead), standalone food processor and blender, I often just use the immersion blender in the place of all three of these. Shockingly, you can do a lot with this single, slim tool and its various attachments.

I got mine for about $80 at Costco a few years ago. It’s the Cuisinart Smart Stick and it came with a few attachments. It only has one speed, so it’s not as awesome as it could be, but it is used to make everything from hummus and baba ganoush to whipped cream and mayonnaise.

As the weather turns cooler, I often find the blender very useful for making soups, especially these two:

tomsoup01

Raw Tomato “Soup” with shaved fennel and jalapeno

Good tomatoes obviously make the difference here. I was skeptical about this recipe as it sounded overly snooty (it is a Charlie Trotter recipe, afterall) and cold soups are obviously more of a summer deal, but this was incredibly smooth, rich and flavourful with a bit of crunch from the fennel. The immersion blender and a sieve played a role.

Soup

  • 2 large, red heirloom tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled, seeded cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish

  • fennel, thinly shaved
  • 1/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced red tomato
  • 2 teaspoons brine from olives
  • 2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 micro fennel sprouts or fennel fronds

Using the immersion blender, I combined the tomatoes, chile, cucumber, and sherry. This purée is pushed through a fine-mesh sieve and seasoned. The real magic is in the garnish: spoon the soup into bowls. Top with shaved fennel, fronds, tomato and jalapeno. Drizzle olive brine, vinegar and olive oil on top.

tomsoup04

Raw tomato soup with poached eggs over mushrooms two ways and toast points. This sounds like a complex meal, but it took less than 30 minutes to make.

raw tomato soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

This has to be my single favourite recipe this month. What do you need? A bag of precut squash from Costco, four cups of stock, an onion and spices. Plus the immersion stick!

  • 2 lbs of diced squash of your liking. I buy the precut bags because I am very poor at cutting squash down and getting the maximum flesh out.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of stock, vegetable or chicken
  • If you like, you can add carrots, celery or apple
  • Spices to your liking: I use garam masala (1 tsp), cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp), cinnamon (1/2 tsp) and nutmeg (1/4 tsp).

I roast the squash in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 450 degree Fahrenheit until it begins to brown. This step is completely optional; I just prefer the way it adds depth and flavour to the soup.

In a pot, I heat up some olive oil and sautee and brown the onion. When soft and caramel colour, I toss in garlic and any additional add ins, like carrot or apple. (If you skipped the roasting step, add the squash now, and sautee a bit longer, until the squash is soft.) In goes the roasted squash, with a liberal dusting of spices. I’ve included measurements, but I never use them. It’s my failure as a cook.

Sautee a few more minutes, add the stock and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for atleast five minutes, but for as long as 20. Immerse blender, blend until smooth. Finish with a splash of cream, croutons or a grilled cheese sandwich.

curried butternut squash

Curried butternut squash soup with grilled cheese. This soup can take as little as 15 minutes to make, but the version I prefer runs about 25 minutes. It depends on your taste buds and patience/hunger level.

I should note much of the pottery in these photos was made by Mike, including the bowls and a vase.

6 Responses to “kitchen gadget: immersion blender”

  1. on 06 Nov 2009 at 7:38 am A Canadian Foodie

    I am a soup-a-holic! These both look great – but particularly the tomato, to me… and I love your bowl!
    YUM! I will let you know how mine goes… (and it was very sweet of you to check out my macaron quest… I am still hot into it, and trying to work my life around it – so it might take awile..)
    In the meantime, I read you daily, and enjoy your “crazy” excapades in the kitchen!
    XO
    Valerie

  2. on 09 Nov 2009 at 7:18 pm Mark

    After reading this, I’ve been seriously considering replacing my blender (which I never use) with one of these now. 🙂

    The reason I don’t use my blender, though, is probably because it’s such a pain to clean afterwards. Is this any easier?

  3. on 10 Nov 2009 at 10:07 pm kelly

    It is WAY easier. I just blend it in hot soapy water immediately after using, and it’s done. I will admit it is not quite as versatile as a blender, but that may be a good thing. I would be making milkshakes 24/7 otherwise.

  4. on 11 Nov 2009 at 1:41 pm Mark

    The only recent things I’ve used the blender for is soups, actually—so if this immersion truc does the trick, I think I might be sold!

  5. on 13 Nov 2009 at 1:04 am habanerogal

    So Mike has forsaken poker for pottery? I have been reading the archives and just had to say hi. I’m a HUGE squash fan but had no idea about the precuts that sounds marvellous

  6. on 16 Nov 2009 at 6:48 pm Kelly

    Pre-cut squash makes my life 10x better. Mostly because I fear losing a digit every time I try to cut into a squash.