whoops meant blendex..see last question.
I'm not sure I understand your question; are you looking for a recommendation on a mixer such as the Vitamix, or for a general suggestion for a kitchen essential (in which case I would vote for a food processor).
Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I'm with you wssmom. I would get a good capacity food processor. A vitamix is on my wish list but couldn't do without my cuisinart.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Food processor here, too.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
Food processor in a heartbeat! You can get a good one for far less than $500 (like the $170 Kitchen Aid 12-Cup), and have money left over for a decent blender (like the $150 Kitchen Aid 5-Speed.) Both of these models did well in fairly recent Cook's Illustrated equipment reviews.
I once had a Vitamix. The much vaunted benefits did not impress me -- grinding and dough making were limited to small quantities; heating just meant running it until it overheated. At the time I had a food processor and a blender and a meat grinder and used them a lot. Put the Vitamix away and never regretted it.
At this point, with that budget, I would get a food processor (look for foodpickle discussions of brands), one or 2 top quality knives (that feel comfortable -- you have to hold them to make a choice), and maybe an immersion blender -- that's what I use all the time.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I would get the food processor (Kitchen aid, $150, Amazon), mixer if you like to bake ($225 on Amazon), and then a blender or immersion blender. Even if you don't like to bake, if you're considering learning, a stand mixer will change your life. That said, I keep the mixer in the closet but my food processor is on the counter. I use it nearly every day.
For $600 you could get a Vita-Mix and a food processor. I use both of them all the time. Just put up 30 pounds of tomatoes I made into tomato sauce and tomato paste.
First put the whole tomatoes in the Vita-Mix, then ran it through a food mill and cooked. Took no time. Many, many time saving options with a Vita-Mix.
I don't cook in my Vita-Mix or make breads.
I think a shopping trip in my future, Susan you free? next trip!
LOL have fun!!!
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
At $500 you could go for a 2 for 1. Buy a good food processor (aka robot coupe) and also a KitchenAid stand mixer. But the VitaMix I'm now totally sold on too. I bought a reconditioned one that came with a 5 year warranty. These days I think food processors are indispensible kitchen tools so I keep two different sizes.
Another vote for a food processor! I just replaced my original Cuisinart which I got for my wedding 30 years ago (and it still worked). I replaced it with one of the cool new ones - they have improved the product in the succeeding decades. It's amazing and cost about $200.
I also vote for an immersion blender - I don't know why I hadn't considered one before but it is amazing in its speed and power. I think I thought it was more cute toy than serious tool - wrong! And it was about $50.
I would get two Shun knives, a chef knife and a carving knife...
...or possibly you could buy one Bob Kramer knife through Sur la Table.
Or,if you don't have one,a Le Creuset Dutch oven. this time of year,you just have to have one. A big one,that way when you make a big pot of soup,you can share it with a friend.
The Vitamix can either be one of the most used tools in your kitchen, or an undercabinet dweller. I rarely cook 'big food' anymore so my big food processor is undercabinet too. But my little 'mini-prep' is used all the time. I even use it for dough for pizza for two--1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil, and 1/3 cup water and more drizzled in the top until it balls up.
That said Bed Bath Beyond sells the soda stream soda/seltzer maker. The base model is 99 dollars (use one of those coupons it's 80 dollars). Trade in your old C02 cartridges with a coupon and they're 14 dollars.
I am very grateful for everyone's response. thank you all so very much...who knows what more may come???
I think I am one of the very few people who don't worship food processors and I would dare say there are better things you can spend your money on for your kitchen (ducks under the table to avoid the knives, forks and fruit flying at me...). A good cook can do equally well with a quality knife in a comparable amount of time. Aside from the above mentioned alternatives, a pressure cooker is another thing to consider if you cook beans and grains often. But with pressure cookers you want to make sure you don't compromise and get a good one for safety reasons, which brings it on par with appliances in terms of price.
just curious which pressure cooker you recommend. my mother always used one, that was quite a long time ago. what about the rice cooker anyone weigh in on that?
The Kuhn Rikon ones are made of stainless steel and have a very solid reputation. I have never used a rice cooker so I have no opinion on that, but I have also seen a cuisinart pressure cooker that is designed like a rice cooker and it might function as a combination of both, I don't know. Presto also has a stainless steel model that is electric and it sounds like a good idea because you can plug it outside and avoid all the steam in the kitchen.
A food processor is #1. I have a vitamix, and it is in storage. A close 2nd would be a decent standing mixer w/ a dough hook if you bake. If you are more into cooking vs baking, a Fagor pressure cooker and a decent chef's knife plus a microplane zester if you have any spare change. My boyfriend bought our last fagor pressure cooker from Amazon or Ebay; it was a steal!
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
If I had that much extra cash for a gadget, I think I'd get an induction burner. It would be great to have an extra burner that could be used almost anywhere. Does someone who has one have an opinion?
To Greenstuff - I bought a Burton induction burner (cheap on Amazon) because I rented a house with a truly crappy stove, and love it because I can use it anywhere there is an electric outlet, inside or out. Very fast, clean, even heat and very efficient. Does have some idiosyncrasies that you get used to. Worth the money - though I can't see spending a whole lot until you know how much you will get out of it.
sheredel, unless you cook rice daily, I just don't get rice cookers. I have never had trouble cooking rice perfectly in an ordinary pot. That would be a real dust-collector for me. I recently bought a pressure cooker -- I made corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patty's Day, and it cooked perfectly and very quickly. But I rarely cook dried beans and I have yet to pull out the pressure cooker since March. I think to get more use out of it, I would have to change how I am accustomed to cooking. I'm with those who suggest you could get at least three wonderful and very useful appliances for your $500, rather than a single appliance you might not use a whole lot -- or, as in the case of a Vitamix, a much less expensive machine that will serve your needs just as well.
I have a Fagor induction "burner" which comes in handy when I'm working in the community kitchen because there's always the chance that all six gas burners will be in use. But you do need to have ferrous metal pans i.e. cast iron. They won't work with your AllClad.
Going to go with the food processor (mine is almost 20 years old - no doubt newer ones are superior - but it still works and gets the job done) and a standing mixer.
From your question, it sounds like you're thinking in terms of gadgets when you say 'tool' - so maybe you're already set in this area, but I can't think of any gadget more essential than a couple of good, really sharp knives and good quality pots/pans. I'd make sure I had that covered before I'd worry about bells and whistles (beyond maybe a food processor, which for me is indispensable.) Might just be my p.o.v., but the longer I cook, the less enamored I am of lots of 'stuff' in the kitchen.
I also vote for a food processor. My Cuisinart has served me well for 30 years, but it has a crack so I need to replace it. I noticed Kitchen Aid received more recommendations than Cuisinart in this foodpickle. I'd love to get others' input as to which one is better and why.
Another vote for the FP. I have pretty good knife skills and love my knives, but the FP can do some things in a quarter of the time that it takes to do them with a knife or a grater.
yes kitchen aid or cuisinart??
I vote for the blendtech blender. I have used it 160 times this year - it told me that! I like a blender that doesn't allow you to remove the blades - cleanup easier.
I rarely use the food processor - except for quickly grinding meat or making crackers. I prefer to make piecrust by hand, I use my stand mixer every 2 days or so for bread.
I guess it is just a matter of what you get used to, and your personal cooking style.
Pressure cookers are safe nowadays. My aunt had one and it made the best boiled potatoes and fresh corn ever in ten minutes. Microwaves are more popular now, I guess. I agree that corn and cabbage wonderful in pressure cooker. The vitamix, is in closet!
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