I know several people who received kitchen appliances as Christmas gifts. Kitchen Aid standmixers, immersion blenders and personal coffee systems seemed to be popular items. One friend got a food processor and asked if I could include a few recipes that use one. I think that is a great idea. The food processor revolutionized food preparation in home kitchens around the world. This appliance can do just about anything you can imagine to prepare a recipe, but is especially helpful in making pastry dough or pie dough. It is so easy, you will quickly become known for your pie baking.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.
Another great use for the food processor is making a recipe that calls for a lot of chopping, like salsa. The recipes for salsa are endless, and you can play with them until you get it exactly the way you like it. Here is a recipe to get you started.
1 large tomatoes, chopped
2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup sweet onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (4 1/2-ounce) cans chopped green chilies, drained
Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse 5 times. Add remaining ingredients and pulse twice. Serve immediately or cover and chill.
Pizza is very easy to make and with the help of this crust recipe, you will be making homemade pizza more than you ever did before.
1 package fast-rising dry yeast
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup hot water, 120-130 degrees
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blend yeast and 1 cup of flour in processor. With machine running, pour in hot water. Stop processing and add salt and remaining 2 cups flour. Process with on-off pulses until dough begins to hold together. Let machine run continuously until ball of dough forms (about 1 minute). Remove and knead a couple of times. Oil large bowl with vegetable oil. Place ball of dough in bowl and turn. Tightly seal with plastic wrap, let rise until double. Punch down dough. Knead a couple times, let rest 5 minutes. Press out on a lightly oiled, 18-inch pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Top with your favorite pizza ingredients. Bake on lowest rack in a preheated 500 degree oven 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes 1 large pizza.
1 cup whipping cream, thoroughly chilled
1/3 cup sugar
1 pound unsweetened frozen strawberries
Place cream and sugar in work bowl of food processor and blend until thickened. Add frozen fruit, a few pieces at a time through the feed tube with motor running. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
3 large peeled potatoes
3 scallions, cut into thirds
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Grate potatoes in food processor. Drain in colander with absorbent paper. Insert steel blade into processor, return potatoes to bowl, add remaining ingredients. Process by pulsing 3 to 4 times (or more) until mixture is combined. Drop by tablespoonful in skillet of hot oil. Fry until brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve with applesauce.
1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.) Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful. Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.
That's all for now. Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.
Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff