Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gadget Tuesday: Cuisinart Smart Stick

Yes, I know it has been awhile. Life gets the best of me sometimes, what can I say?! The other day I was making a batch of really delicious manicotti when I realized that I use my Cuisinart Smart Stick for everything and needed to tell the world.

This little powerhouse of a kitchen appliance can do so many cool things. It comes with a chopper attachment that makes it into a mini food processor, a whick for whipping up fluffy cream to top decandent desserts, a large measuring cup that is perfect for blending up smoothies in, and my favorite part- the immersion blender.

I am pretty embarrassed to admit the number of times that I have blown the lid on my standard blender when trying to puree warm soups. It is really dangerous to send scalding soup flying, plus I really hate cleaning so scraping pureed split peas off the ceiling is not my idea of a good time. When my kids were tiny I would use this to puree just about anything into a smooth baby food consistency. Seriously I love it!!!

The chopper can take an onion from this:

to this in a just a minute.

After sauteeing the chopped onions and making into a really great fresh tomato sauce I attached the blender motor to the immersion blade.
This made the smoothest tomato sauce for my manicotti without making a huge mess in my kitchen.

One of my favorite uses for the blender is in making soups that usually call for cream. You can really get a get creamy texture without having to actually add the cream by pureeing up a bit of the soup. It really thickens it up and makes for a very healthy way to get that rich texture with no fat.

You can make awesome smoothies right in the blender cup and puree steamed veggies with a bit of the cooking water for a really nutritious baby food.

So, seriously everyone check it out. I purchased mine at Sams club, but they are available at the most stores. There is a version available with out the chopper attachment, but it is really useful and I highly recommend it. So go get one and then try out the recipe below for Broccoli Leek Soup from William Sonoma. It will be totally worth it!!


For the garlic croutons:

4 to 6 slices coarse country bread, each 3/4 inch

thick, crusts removed

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise

For the soup:

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 leeks, including tender green portions,

rinsed well and finely chopped

1 1/2 lb. broccoli, trimmed, florets and stalks

cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cups chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives


To make the croutons, cut the bread slices into 3/4-inch cubes. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil and garlic. Fry until the garlic turns brown, about 4 minutes; do not allow it to burn. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out and discard the garlic. Add the bread cubes to the pan and fry, stirring often, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the soup, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and sauté, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes more.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth and return the soup to the pan. Alternatively, process with a stick blender in the pan until smooth. Reheat the soup gently over medium heat. Season with salt and white pepper.Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the sour cream, croutons and chives. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Immersion Blender