They say a Vitamix completely changes your perception of what a blender can do. I’ve only had mine for about a week, and I would definitely agree. My husband bought me this culinary wonder, and it has already blown me away. For those of you who do not know what a Vitamix is, it’s not simply a blender or food processor, but a tool that can perform the tasks of several kitchen tools in one. It can chop, blend, grind, churn, crush, whisk, frappé, purée, emulsify, powder, whip, and even heat! It is an expensive, commercial-grade product, so I am not here just to promote its sales, but it does give me inspiration that can be used in anyone’s kitchen with whatever tools are on hand.
Go smooth. Everyone knows that blenders make smoothies. It’s a great way to use up leftover produce and pack your breakfast with a punch of nutrition. You can also freeze any extra produce for making smoothies at a later time. Use fresh fruit when in season to ensure the best taste and the most nutrients, and use frozen when not in season. Citrus fruits, kale, and cabbage are good in the winter. Spring has ample strawberries, pineapple, spinach, and cucumbers. Fall is good for pears and apples. In the summer you can’t get enough of melons, berries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, kiwi, and fresh herbs. Frozen produce helps thicken the smoothies. Turn your smoothies into sorbets for a frozen dessert. Pour smoothies into ice-pop molds and put a popsicle stick in to make a healthy frozen snack.
Other breakfast options. You can also use a blender or food processor to make muffins, scones, homemade nut butters, and jellies. Chop up rolled oats, almonds, dried apricots, cherries, and cranberries, and coconut flakes in food processor to create a granola that you can later mix with yogurt and fresh fruit. And you don’t need to make a stop at the overpriced coffee shop to get a blended coffee drink that hits the spot any time on a hot summer day.
Soup’s up. A Vitamix can actually cook soup with heat from the speed of the machine! If you don’t have a Vitamix, food processors and immersion blenders help chop and blend soup ingredients easily as well. If you buy produce in bulk to save money, you can make big batches of soups and freeze in portions to save you time later on, too! Slice up onions to make french-onion soup. Purée cooked asparagus with vegetable broth and heavy cream for a creamy, delicious soup. Caramelize some butternut squash or pumpkin to increase flavor before making a squash soup with apple, sage, rosemary, and cream.
Dress up. A great dressing or vinaigrette can take your salad or protein to another level. They can be used as marinades for fish or poultry or as a condiment in a sandwich. Combine apple-cider vinegar, olive oil, basil, raspberries, and honey for a raspberry vinaigrette great on salads or chicken. Blend chopped apple or pear with some sugar, cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and tarragon for a fruit dressing over mixed greens, sliced apples, slivered almonds, and crumbled feta.
Fill ’er up. For a real meal from your Vitamix or food processor, chop up cooked chicken, lettuce, walnuts, and other veggies like carrots and tomatoes. Mix with dressing of your choice and fill a pita pocket. Blend cooked or canned salmon with torn bread, onions, celery, and egg, and form patties or burgers. Make falafel balls by combining soaked dried chickpeas, onion, water, parsley, cilantro, garlic, baking powder, and spices. Fry up and serve over greens or in pita with tahini sauce.
Dessert’s up. Milkshakes, like smoothies, are the simplest and most versatile blended treat. Combine anything from chocolate syrup and peanut butter, to vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. Use a blender to combine wet ingredients and then combine with dry ingredients for cookie doughs, cupcake, and cake batters. Create frostings, custards, whipped cream, or even mousse. v
Carrot Bread With
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
20 baby carrots
2 large eggs
⅔ cup milk or almond milk
⅓ cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. cream cheese or soy cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
1–2 Tbsp. milk or almond milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8½” × 4½” loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
Place carrots in Vitamix or food processor. Process until chopped into small pieces. Measure 2 cups and add to flour mixture. Place eggs, milk, and oil into machine and blend on low speed for 20 seconds. Add to dry mixture and mix till blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 55–60 minutes, until knife comes out clean. Cook 20 minutes before removing to wire rack.
Meanwhile whisk cream cheese, sugar, and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Glaze cooled cake with frosting.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.