You’ve probably seen me talk about my love of the food processor before.
My mom got a food processor for Christmas. (Yippie for technology in my mom’s house!) Though, she still isn’t sure how to use it. She told me that the first time she used it, she threw a mushroom into it and just watched the mushroom bounce around and never get chopped. (Yeah, I think we all did something like that, and then learned that you need to chop the mushroom into quarters or so before throwing it into the machine.)
So, when I made my Christmas menu I included several things that can be made with the food processor so she could see some of the cool things it can do.
This week, she decided that she wanted to make the Chimichurri Sauce. But, she wondered if it would be ok to make it in the blender (she’s still uncomfortable with the food processor). It should work, I told her. It just won’t be quite as incorporated as the food processor would make it.
So, this got me to thinking, what’s the difference between the blender and the food processor? I mean, they’re both small appliances that use fast rotating blades to chop, blend, puree, or liquefy food.
The blender has a narrow container with short blades at the bottom so not much of the food comes in contact with the blades at one time. The swirling action of the blender (or weasel swirl as my husband calls it) is what moves the food closer to the blade, and therefore cuts the food. So, it needs lots of liquid to allow the weasel swirl to work. Also because of the container, the blender can’t really be used to whip foods like cream or eggs, as air isn’t incorporated into the mixture.
The blender is ideal for making drinks, soups, sauces, smoothies, and milkshakes. All these items have one important thing in common, lots of liquid. The blender is great at holding all that liquid in the container and mixing it all together (again, weasel swirl in action!). The blender is also better for crushing ice than the food processor, as the ice is heavy and the blades of the blender are sturdier.
One word of caution, many blender lids don’t lock on, and need to be held down when you turn the blender on. I always place a towel over the top of the blender before I turn it on. This way, if some liquid escapes it doesn’t make a mess. And, if you’re blending a hot soup, it’s even more important to use the towel so that you don’t get burned.
In contrast to the blender, the food processor has a wide container bowl and very sharp thin blades that stretch across most of the bottom of the bowl. So, more food will come in contact with the blades in the food processor. The blades also sit just slightly above the bottom of the bowl, and therefore if you’re trying to chop or blend small amounts they may get stuck under the blades and not get touched.
The food processor can chop, slice, shred, grind, puree and mix items (though attachments may be needed for some of these processes, and you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to get all the food chopped). I love the pulse action of the food processor to get things to just the stage you want. And, the food processor doesn’t need as much liquid; you can chop plain veggies or cheese with no liquids at all. You can also knead dough in the larger food processors. The food processor has that lovely feed tube so that you can easily add items without the worry of splash-back like you might get with a blender.
Now, in all honesty, I don’t use my food processor to chop or shred things like cheese or plain veggies. I’d rather use my knife or a box grater. I use the food processor for things like salsa and sauces that you wouldn’t really be able to get the right consistency just using a knife. I’ve started using my small food processor for chopping onions really really finely for things like street tacos, and mushrooms so the husband can’t complain about texture. It does save a lot of work.
Unlike the blender, which shines when you have lots of liquid in it, the food processor cannot be filled to the top of the large bowl, as the liquid will leak out through the middle, making a huge mess all over your machine and your counter tops. (Oh, yes, I’ve done this many times!)
So, how did my mom’s blender Chimichurri turn out? She called me and asked me what to do because she couldn’t get the stuff to mix together. So, I told her to pour it from the blender into a bowl, mix it, and pour it back into the blender and blend a bit again. She called me after dinner to tell me that worked. Whew!
Some of my food processor recipes:
Roasted Tomato Salsa, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Homemade Butter, Homemade Chile Powder, Vegetable Enchiladas, Traditional Pesto, for the pineapple salsa in the Soy Glazed Barramundi with Pineapple Salsa Served Over Black Rice, for the coconut sugar in the Coconut Gumdrops, Gingerbread Butter, And the dough for my Thin Crust Pizza.
Some of my blender recipes:
Peanut sauce, Mexican White Bean Soup, Summer Corn Soup, Sweet Potato Miso Soup, Broccoli and Pea Potage, Green Monster Smoothie, Green Enchiladas, and Healthy Chocolate Pudding.
Check out my Pinterest board for Household and Cleaning stuff! I’ve found some really great stuff!