Every serious cook should have a food processor

This is probably the most expensive kitchen item you will need to invest in. Although a food processor is not an absolutely essential piece of equipment, because you can certainly chop, grate, slice, knead and mix everything by hand, it does do all these things very quickly and efficiently and saves you time and energy. After years of using one myself, I am convinced every serious cook should have a food processor – it’s a great piece of equipment.

using-a-food-processor

WHICH PROCESSOR?

There are dozens of different designs and sizes, but I would say that if you invest in the largest size, with the most powerful motor, you will have the best of everything. Remember, quality never comes cheap, and beware of what looks like a bargain but may have a short life and not do the job really well. A warning: the blade in the processor will wear out in time, so if your processor begins to show signs of not performing as it should, it probably needs a sharp new blade. This can be ordered from kitchen shops or direct from the manufacturer.

KNOW YOUR PROCESSOR

When you buy a food processor and begin to use it, you will soon get the feel of how it performs. One of the most common misuses of a food processor is to overdo it. This was much more of a problem before the pulse button was invented, when something chopped could become something puréed, over-processed nuts could become an oily, claggy mess and puréed meat make hamburgers or rissoles very bouncy! With the pulse button you can see what is happening after each burst, which is important, but care must still be taken not to over-process.

Related post: A great food processor i’ve owned

WHAT DOES A FOOD PROCESSOR DO?

First on the list is chopping, particularly large quantities. It can chop 1lb (450 g) of onions in seconds and will therefore save you masses of time. It can also chop other vegetables, fruits and nuts. I love my processor best when I feed it cubes of bread, which it instantly turns into breadcrumbs (some of you will be far too young to remember the tedious job of grating bread into breadcrumbs on the side of a grater).

Also, if you want to make a stuffing, the onions, breadcrumbs and herbs can all be whizzed together – a brilliant time-saver. It can also evenly chop meat much more efficiently than the old-fashioned mincers that squeezed the meat through the blades.

SLICING

Yes, it’s good at that too! With a special attachment you can deal with cucumbers, apples, cabbages, potatoes and whatever needs to be sliced evenly and precisely. You can even choose thick or thin slices.

MIXING AND PURÉEING

There are a million and one things you can mix in a food processor: whole-egg mayonnaise, for example, can be mixed in moments. It can then be made into chunky tartare sauce, with capers, cornichons (baby gherkins) and parsley chopped in at the end – taste it and you’ll never want the shop-bought version again!

If you’re nervous about making pastry, or if the fat from the fridge is too hard to rub in by hand, the processor will make extremely good pastry, provided, at the end, you add the water a little at a time to get a good consistency. Sometimes, when you are serving vegetables, it’s nice to ring the changes and whip them into a purée. With a little crème fraîche and some butter, a processor will make a lovely smooth, velvety parsnip purée. I also like to add steamed swede and carrots to the bowl of the processor while they are still hot, and whizz them, not to a purée, but to the coarsely chopped stage. Read the full article at Delia Online

More:  4 types of food processors explained

Settling for the best cookware that meet your needs

We all know what it means to be a picky eater. The same discerning taste should apply to your cookware, no matter whether you’re just learning to cook, you have intermediate experience, or you’re a seasoned home chef.

using cookware

Find your skill level below, and we’ll teach you how to choose cookware that matches your kitchen comfort zone.
1| The Fledgling Foodie

Have you found new inspiration to cook? Is it time to finally test out the recipes in that cookbook you picked up at a yard sale two years ago? Are you ready to Instagram your own culinary creations? If you answered yes to any of these questions, look for cookware that is:

  • Affordable
    New cooks, beware of the “complete set.” It may seem like you are saving money per item, but it may actually be more expensive if you buy items that you don’t need. Complete cookware sets may work for cooks with more advanced skill sets, but those just cracking their first cookbooks will likely find included items like butter warmers or flared roasters a) overpriced, b) space-consuming, and c) unnecessary.
  • Easy to use & maintain
    If cookware is hard to use, clean or maintain, it can derail your plans for learning to be a better cook. Fear of failure—or worse, damaging an expensive pan—may keep you relegated to the microwave. Don’t let your cookware keep you from experimenting.
  • The bottom line
    Choose high quality, integral pieces like a 2-quart saucepan, , and a large stock pot—6-quart or 8-quart will do the trick. Look for cookware that performs well, is dishwasher safe, and is easy to clean.

Related article: What is the best cookware made of

2| The Sometimes Chef

You might be a cook with mid-range skills if you’ve mastered at least 5-10 complicated dishes, and your shelf is laden with multiple cookbooks by chefs you love. You likely have a favorite food blog, and you’re excited to go out to eat just so you can figure out the ingredients so you can make it at home. Intermediate cooks should choose cookware that is:

  • Large & versatile
    A large, durable saucepan can be used in an infinite number of ways: you can boil pasta, reduce sauces, steam veggies, make soup, and more. A large sauté pan with a lid can be used to sear meat and finish it in the oven; or for keeping simmering meats and sauces moist and spatter-free.
  • Can be bought individually
    Now that you’re becoming an at-home chef, it’s time to slowly make your way into more professional cookware. Try adding a few top-quality pieces that match and work well with your existing set. That way, you can ease into a premium set gradually instead of investing everything up front.
  • The bottom line
    Choose your pieces in highly versatile and gorgeous materials like stainless steel. Round out your cookware with a few key pieces that offer stellar performance and look good on the table.

Source: American Kitchen Cookware

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Coffee Rice Experiment in the Office Rice Cooker

In the name of science, our caffeine-addicted team of intrepid reporters continue their culinary tradition of trying their taste buds to the limits.

Following in the footsteps of their last all-carbs meal experiment, our reporters decided it was high time to bring out the office rice cooker for their next round of cooking terror fun. This time, instead of combining an assortment of ingredients into a mystery mishmash, they decided to keep things simple with only one new ingredient and replace the usual water with iced coffee. This could either go very, very well or very, very badly.

After combining the dry white rice with the coffee and pushing the “Start” button, there wasn’t much to do but wait eagerly in anticipation for the end result while singing the RocketNews24 theme song.

But how about the taste? The final consensus was that it actually wasn’t that bad! Sure, the coffee left a slightly bitter aftertaste, but by no means was the rice inedible. Instead, it had that a “healthy” taste like something you’d find in a health food store.

Some of our team commented that it also tasted similar to sekihan, a mix of sweet azuki red beans and rice typically eaten on auspicious occasions, so they sprinkled some salt over it (as is often done with sekihan) and it became even tastier! Who would’ve thought that coffee could take on so many different flavors?

Now it’s time for some reaction pictures. What did each of our team members think of this latest creation? Our team probably won’t be going out of their way to make iced coffee rice again anytime soon, but it proved to be one of their more pleasant culinary experiments in recent memory. At least they’ll now have something to cook their rice with if the water should ever shut off just around dinner time!

rice experiment

And here’s the finished product! Due to the brown color, it doesn’t look that much different from brown rice, but as our reporters were surprised to note, the aroma emanating from the rice cooker was actually closer to that of rye bread. Confusing for their nostrils, to say the least.

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My Short Espresso Machine Review

breville barista express
I’ve had the Breville BES870XL for about 4 months and wanted to wait at least this long before I wrote a review. With 4 months experience, I write the following:

The espresso quality comes out perfectly from this machine. For those who are complaining about “bitter,” I suggest that you buy freshly roasted beans from a local coffee house – not supermarket or packaged beans. Freshness counts. I also suggest a grind setting of 3 or 4 (generally speaking as some type of beans need adjustment). I am very happy with this best espresso maker and the quality of the espresso it can make.

As far a maintenance, this machine is pretty easy to maintain. There is a warning light when it needs to be back-pressured cleaned with cleaning tablets. The bean hopper and grinder can be removed for cleaning but I have not had the need to do this yet.

UPDATE (nearly 3 months later)
Still loving this thing! Got a chance to play with one of the cheaper ($199) units I was considering at a Kohl’s, and what a piece of plastic crap it is. Mine is the best espresso machine ever! I also have a friend that turns his on before he gets in the shower, as it takes a while to warm up. I can go from turning it on to having a tasty espresso and entirely cleaned up in under 3 minutes! Most of that time is properly tamping the grounds, but that is why we buy this and not a pod base machine, right? I am making 2 or so beverages a day and bought a knock-box for the grounds as well as a few additional cups. Found out that “espresso” roast is pretty much the way to go here. Remember, I started with zero knowledge and love what I have learned!

I have had this machine for so long now and I have to say, I am quite impressed. I am a novice at making espresso based drinks and after a few tries, I am able to make drinks from this machine, that look, smell and taste great. Have received several compliments from family members and friends.

Grinder, if you do some research, a lot of people will tell you the grinder is not good enough.
Well, is fine enough to block your shots at setting 4, definitely a capable grinder. Is basically a $200 Breville smart grinder.

Nespresso is getting crazy expensive now, at $0.75 a pod, you paying $50 a lb of coffee. Self fill options are a no go on Nespresso because no pods can hold the same amount of coffee without breaking the machine (4.9g aftermarket pod vs 7g real nespresso pod). They all taste awful no matter what coffee you put in. You just can’t get a comparable result with 2g less in coffee.
That’s why I am going back to real espresso and the best espresso machine, a little more effort with lots of saving and better coffee.

Find the Best Espresso Machine with this Buying Guide

By OliviaEHR

espresso coffee

 

With so many espresso machines available on the market, how do you know how to find the best espresso machine for your needs? The answer lies within solid research and the 6 point buying guide below will help you to finding the right model for you.

What to look for in an espresso machine:

Coffee bean grinder

This is an important feature to consider before buying an espresso machine. This will depend on consumer preference and lifestyle. People who like their coffee freshly brewed usually prefer an espresso machine with an inbuilt grinder where coffee beans are grounded to brew coffee. Some machines lack coffee bean grinders and this means coffee beans are grounded from the store or using a different appliance before making coffee.

Ability to froth milk

Frothing milk is a very essential aspect of an espresso machine. Before choosing an espresso machine consider if it can make other espresso related drinks like cappuccino and Americano. A frother is therefore essential aspect so to froth milk before it is released through the sprout. A frother is not a must have feature in all espresso machines but it is an additional feature in some espresso machines. This makes the machine flexible enough to prepare other coffee drinks.

Pouring water in the machine

Some machines have a small mouth and this means you may need a funnel to pour water into the machine. Others have large openings where you can easily pour water. There are also big machines which have large water dispensers to store water although these are for commercial use. It is important to consider how you will pour water or milk into the machine. Continue reading here:  http://blogs.naturalnews.com/find-best-espresso-machine-buying-guide

The first espresso maker recommendation is the one I am using at home right now, the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine (BES870XL). When I purchased the coffee brewer it was just under $600 and I didn’t think that was a bad price for a best espresso machine for the home. I was sold the Breville Barista as an automatic machine by the sales clerk but it’s more like a super automatic seeing as it has a built-in conical burr grinder, a milk frother, and a large half-pound bean hopper to hold my coffee beans, you would be hard pushed to find any other so called automatic machines with a built-in grinder.

What else can it do? Well the Breville Espresso Machine has a neat purge function that constantly monitors and adjusts the water temperature after steam to give you the optimal espresso extraction temperature, it really is hands-free.

Once you have set your grind setting from fine to coarse the built-in coffee grinder takes your beans from the bean hopper and grinds away and fill your portafilter directly without you having to touch a thing. There is also an indicator to let you know when it’s time to give your machine a clean, it really is as simple as pressing a button, removing a few parts and using the supplied cleaning kit to get your espresso machine looking and running like new again.

In my opinion this is the best espresso machine for the money I’m over the moon with mine and haven’t had any problems (touchwood) with it since I purchased it as a replacement for an older one earlier in the year. If you can’t find the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine in your local department store you can get one from Amazon. (Shared from We Love Coffee Makers)

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Cooking Vacation in Greece

The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, making it one of the hallmarks of western civilization, home to some of the greatest art and philosophy the world has ever known, and a truly remarkable destination for a cooking vacation. The Greek territory comprises the mainland and thousands of islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, offering amazing beaches and inlets, and waters so colorful and clear they defy description.

Seafood-greek

Greek cuisine is an example of the healthy Mediterranean diet, featuring fresh ingredients such as fish, olives (including olive oil), fruits and vegetables. You will explore and taste traditional dishes of Greek cuisine during your cooking lessons—moussaka, stifade, Greek salad, spanakopita, Souvlaki, and more—and explore the culture and natural beauty of gorgeous country. During your Greek cooking vacation you will also enjoy retsina (white or rosé wine sealed with pine resin), delectable dips (such as tzatziki), fresh cheeses, dolmades, and of course olives and fresh seafood!

Your Greek cooking vacation might include visits to local islands, to world-famous archeological sites, or to stunning Mediterranean beaches. Of course like all cooking vacations with The International Kitchen, it will feature hands-on cooking lessons with delicious Greek dishes, fascinating excursions, wonderful accommodations, and memories to last a lifetime.

To learn more about unique cooking holidays, find out more at https://www.theinternationalkitchen.com