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Food Processors and Blades - Weekend Discussion

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#1
I ave a small food processor. I'm not even sure if it can be called a "food processor". It's about the same size as the "old" Salad Shooter's" were (I assume they still sell those...).

It has been awhile, but having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I am eating a lot more salads these days. I like to mix ingredients, wherein lies the problem.

Picture of my "Snack and Eat" fridge "salad bowl" (I probably need a larger one...) attached.

Food processor blades...

I have no idea if any of you are into "food processors". Not the "we'll juice anything" processors. Ones for things like family sized salads and such.

This weekend's question is: Blades... The biggest complaint I see (in Amazon for the most part) is people that order blades and they receive blades which don't fit their model of food processor (even when it's from the same "brand" company such as Cusinart).

I'm looking at a 14 cup Cusinart (I want the capacity). Looking at my little "food processor", like I said it's pretty much a "salad shooter".

What I want is cutting blades that will do about 0.6 cm (about 1/4 inch) for things like cucumbers and tomatos. Yes, I can cut them by hand and that's what I do with all ingredients right now. Just thinking ...

Family size food processors with "thick" blades - Your suggestions appreciated!
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Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Hi Marc,

I assume not all brands and models are equally available worldwide, so not sure what I'm about to say will be useful in the USA.

We're a big family and love cooking so we've always gone for "work horses".

About 10 year ago we bought a massive Magimix food processor (I think it was their biggest one at the time) and it came with a 10-year warranty on the motor (base). We parted with it about a year or two ago. The motor never failed and was really powerful up until the end. The bowl was OK too (I think we replaced the lid once during that period but maybe my memory betrays me). The real problem was the motor/blade interface. The motor rod stayed fine but it used to chew up the inside of the blade core once every 1-2 years. We've changed many blades and towards the end I used to order 2-3 at a time... It was just too powerful and the design wasn't optimal. I said all that just to state that Magimix has a great reputation (at least in Europe etc.) and their machines are quite good but I wouldn't buy another now.

We also have one of those massive dough mixers (with optional accessories like mincer, blender etc., that we rarely use), by Kenwood. We bought it 2-3 years ago, it was top of their home (non-professional) line at the time. We work it extra-hard and it's still in good shape. It came with a light-alloy cast (maybe Magnesium, I don't know) mixing hook which I didn't like because it wasn't dishwasher compatible so I ordered a stainless-steel hook online (from Kenwood) and it fits and works perfectly. So I really recommend Kenwood machines (not sure how common they are across the water though). I think their smaller equipment range is not that great but the bigger ones are really good value.

The complaints about misfitting blades sounds weird to me. Based on my experience, if you pay good attention to the specs and you order from reliable sources there should be no problems (other than honest mistakes that can always happen anywhere, and are usually fixed or refunded).

Slicing / chopping cucumbers, carrots, onions, celery and other firm veggies should not be a problem for any machine / blade. Slicing tomatoes neatly can be a bit of a challenge though. You'd need a very sharp edge (you'll have to handle it with caution) that will stay sharp over time. Dishwashers are great for busy people but repeated use might slowly deteriorate even tough metals over time. I try to just rinse the blade under running warm water after chopping tomatoes etc. If you do it right after use (don't let it dry) you don't even need soap or scrubbing.

Happy hunting.
 
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Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#3
Thanks. Interesting thoughts, especially about tomatoes and blades.

I'll probably end up just keeping my little one since I have a good set of knives and don't want to get into "big time" cooking. I don't mind cutting by hand and it doesn't take all that long. I just happened to be thinking about cooking & food on Saturday and thought I'd ask. It doesn't look like many here have one (or the topic was too dull).
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted
#4
If it helps...there is a middle ground between knives and a food processer/salad shooter...

Have you tried a mandoline?

From the bottom end of ~$12 through higher than restaurant quality into the $100's there is a wide, wide variety. Most come with multiple blades, and are way faster than my knife skills...and most are dishwasher safe.
I've cut tomatoes on these and had no issue at all...and cuc's and peppers and carrots...

HTH
 

Miner

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Admin
#5
A good mandolin is great for cucumbers, onions and such. Nothing works well on tomatoes other than a sharp knife. You could opt for the cherry tomatoes and skip the slicing, or try my mom's approach. That involves running hot water briefly over the tomato, which makes the skin peel off easily. Then you can slice the peeled tomato easily.
 
#6
One of the fraternal organizations I belong to has a banquet every week for a minimum of 50 people. When I was younger, I was assigned to work with the guest chef of the week to prepare the banquet and learned a lot of useful skills and tips (equal to a course at a professional cooking school.) Our organization has a fully equipped institutional kitchen with all the toys. Oddly, even for a banquet of 50 or more, the professionals rarely used the automatic tools for cutting vegetables with the notable exception of our "french fry" cutter (inserts for different sizes from shoe string to Texas size.) We used mandolines for hard vegetables (cukes, carrots, etc.), but even then, most of the chefs who did their own prep work preferred to use their personal chef knives for almost everything. They kept those knives razor sharp, frequently using a "steel" to keep the edge aligned during use. Their reasoning for having assistants and newbies use the mandolines was for uniformity of slice. A good chef can slice a cucumber faster with a knife than a mandoline because he uses fewer hand and arm motions. A knife is easier to clean and keep sharp than a mandoline or food processor. I'm merely an amateur, but I can consistently slice cucumbers with a knife so the thickness of the each slice is within 2 or 3 millimeters of every other slice.
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
That involves running hot water briefly over the tomato, which makes the skin peel off easily. Then you can slice the peeled tomato easily.
Some don't like tomato skins but they actually have a good digestive value...

I peel tomatoes in a similar way for recipes that call for it. Unless the tomatoes are very ripe and peel easily, it's a little art in itself. I start with a sharp knife and make a very shallow cross-shaped incision on each tomato, wrapping around the entire tomato and crossing at the bottom. Then I place them in a heat-resistant bowl or pan and cover with boiling water. I wait 5-10 minutes (the less ripe, the longer), drain and wait a bit for them to cool down (or rinse in cold water if in a hurry). By now the skin tips at the cross centre start to peel off spontaneously - just pull gently and the skin will usually come off easily in 4 neat pieces (a sharp knife may help on more stubborn areas).
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#8
I appreciate the various responses.

My mother was always "never peel", as was my grand mother (father's side). Mashed potatoes was you ate peel and all.

Even cucumbers - Never peel more than 2/3. Even bread - You eat the crust. She claimed it made your hair curly, which she saw as an attractive trait. And she hated waste, and any peel not eaten was waste. Peeling potatoes, or any fruit or vegetable, was just a "no-no"".

Never peel apples or any fruits. Period. Grandmaw Nonie (nee Godschaulk?) Smith told me.

@Wes: Yeah - I have my knives and have known some chefs. Professional chefs are not cheap. Some of us can not afford one for every meal. I do have a fair amount of "professional' cooking tools/pots/pans/etc. I even have some friends who make their living as chefs. You are right in that none of them would touch a "food processor" other than for doughs/mixers and such.

@Ronen - I'm just - Well, me and Tracey. I get into some thoughts now and again. In large part your reply has directed me. I really don't need more than I have.

Tomatoes: I want "fresh" tomatoes, unpealed, for salads and sandwiches. When I started this discussion tomatoes were part because I was thinking thick slices like I do with my knife, but faster. It's kind of a long story, but I wasn't being realistic with respect to my specific scenario part of which is that other than for sandwiches I like 'chunks' of tomatoes (diced?) just as well as thick slices. My biggest problem is finding really good, ripe "garden" tomatoes in a grocery. We get used to some things like certain vegetables year round, but geographically that means imports. Like Rainier cherries, some things are really seasonal.

Decision made: Food processor is unnecessary. It didn't even involve a cost or time analysis. Your comments helped me make my decision to just use my knives.
 
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