Cooking techniques / Recipes

Giving my food processor the counter space it deserves

Last Chanukah I decided I was absolutely never grating another potato by hand. So, despite my resistance to adding another appliance to my tiny kitchen, I splurged on a food processor (it was around my anniversary, after all). My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. Here are five reasons I keep my food processor on my counter top:

1. It’s so easy, I can use it one-handed (perfect for my newborn).

2. Hummus so incredible, I eat it by the spoonful (and at 1/5 the store-bought price).

3. Mess-free pizza in minutes.

4. Saves time and saves my grater for cheese.

5. It takes less than a minute to clean.

And if those aren’t enough reasons, the recipes below might be…

HOMEMADE HUMMUS

2 garlic cloves
1 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (save the liquid), or 1 cup cooked dried beans
3 T cup of tahini paste, available by the jar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Up to 1/4 cup water drained from chickpeas (to desired consistency)
3 T olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Handful of cilantro (optional)
1 deseeded jalepeño pepper (optional)

In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, water, cilantro and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste. Makes about 1.5 cups.

PIZZA CRUST (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the oil through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.) Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you’re in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.) Proceed to Step 4 or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag and freeze for up to a month. (Defrost in the bag or a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature; bring to room temperature before shaping.) When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into 2 or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. Put each ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.

SALSA

2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
jalepeno (1/2 if you don’t like salsa hot)
1/2 fresh cilantro
2 fresh-squeezed limes
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor.

VEGGIE BURGERS (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

1 medium onion
1/2 cup of any veggies, beans or tofu that you have around the kitchen: spinach, peppers, carrots or green beans
1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews or other nuts, preferably raw
1 cup (raw) rolled oats
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder or any spice mix you like
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg

Grind onion in food processor. Add nuts and oats, and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add remaining ingredients except oil. Process briefly; don’t grind too finely. Add a little liquid — water, stock, soy sauce, wine, whatever — if necessary; mixture should be moist but not loose. Let mixture rest a few minutes, then shape it into burgers and fry like latkes. Serve on buns with mustard, ketchup or other toppings.

GUILT-FREE FROZEN BANANA DESSERT

2-3 over-ripe bananas
2T cocoa powder
T peanut butter (optional)

Creme the bananas in the food processor until they are liquidy and add the cocoa and peanut butter. Freeze and eat like ice cream when somewhat thawed.

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