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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Food Processor and Creamy French Dressing

Many of my small kitchen appliances are rather old.  For example, the percolator (circa 1950's), yogurt maker (circa 1970's), blender (circa 1980's) and food processor (circa 1980's).  My small kitchen appliances are well cared for but after a period of time any small kitchen appliance will fail.  Plastic parts become brittle rendering them easier to break or crack.  As they start to fail, I keep my eyes out for a replacement at a good price with comparable features.

broken Moulinex food processor
My Moulinex food processor was bought in the late 1980's.  The appliance was made in France and featured 180 W with 3.2 c/.8 L maximum capacity.  The outer casing had began to yellow but the design of the blade attachments was the real problem.  The blade fit into a slot on the plate then the post twisted in to hold everything together on the stem of the food processor.  The centre portion where the post twisted on became brittle enough it simply broke off (red arrow).  Essentially, it was no longer possible to use the shredder or slicer blades at all, only the chopping blade (just above the arrow).

My food processor doesn't get a lot of use other than during bulk cooking and some canning sessions so I wasn't concerned about replacing it immediately.  Well, it actually has been broke for a couple of years but I reasoned that with the KitchenAid food slicer and shredder attachment, I didn't need to replace the food processor.  The reality is a knife is ideal for smaller jobs, the KitchenAid attachment is ideal for the large jobs where I don't want to have to keep stopping to empty the bowl, and a food processor is nice for the mid-sized jobs.

Black & Decker food processor bought on sale
I mentioned a couple of days ago that Canadian Tire has been running some rather nice sales on kitchen items.  While I was waiting for the emissions test to be completed on one of our vehicles I did a bit of shopping.  Talk about being at the right place at the right time!  The Black & Decker wide mouth food processors were marked down to $34.93 from $99.  Well for that price, I decided it was time to put my old food processor out of it's misery.  Right beside the Black & Decker food processors, the were two other brands, one prices at $129.99 and the other at $349.99 with basically the same features.  My total purchases including the food processor was under $80 so I was rather pleased.

Black & Decker food processor
The Black & Decker was made in China.  I know some frugalistas warn not to buy anything made in China but when it comes to small kitchen appliances that is virtually impossible.  The food processor has an 11 c/2.6 L capacity bowl with 500W power.  What I really like is the wide mouth chute with pulse action food pusher.  I especially like the larger bowl capacity which will make this food processor a bit more useful to me.  The speed settings are high, low, pulse and off.  There is a reversible shredder/slicer blade, a chopping blade and a dough blade.   A nice added feature are suction cups on the base to prevent the food processor from moving when in use.  I used the food processor to make a creamy French dressing.  My only complaint is the noise level.  This appliance is loud enough to warrant wearing ear plugs!  Other than that it does a lovely job.

creamy French dressing
Most restaurants and professional chefs make their own house dressing.  Some of them actually make their way to the store shelves.  One local restaurant is in the process of getting their house dressing into the stores.  I seldom buy commercially made dressing because homemade salad dressings are very inexpensive and easy to make.  For example this creamy French dressing costs a third of the price of store bought and even that is on the high side because the sweetener used is honey which tends to be a more expensive ingredient.  Doesn't it just divine?

Creamy French Dressing
recipe by:  Garden Gnome

1 - 10 oz can condensed tomato soup*
1 lemon, juice only
⅓ c local honey
½ small onion, chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared mustard
¾ c sea salt
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
½  tsp celery seed
¾ c vegetable oil
½  tsp xanthum gum

Set up the food processor to use the chopping blade.  Put all the ingredients except the celery seed, vegetable oil and xanthum gum into the food processor bowl.  Process on low until smooth.  Continue processing while slowly pouring in the vegetable oil in a thin stream.  Add the celery seed then the xanthum gum.  Pour the mixture into container and refrigerate 1 hour  before using.  Store left over salad dressing in the refrigerator.

Makes 750 ml/3 c

*Home canned tomato soup can be substituted for a more flavourable salad dressing.

garden salad with creamy French dressing
We eat a lot of salads and we use salad dressings as sandwich sauces as well as meat or poultry marinades.  The vast majority of the salad dressings we use are homemade.  To me, stocking the raw ingredients that can be used to make several different products or dishes makes more sense than buying a product that really is used for one purpose.  At the same time it is an eco-friendly approach by eliminating disposable containers while being frugal in cost savings.  More importantly, homemade salad dressings taste so much better than store bought plus there are no artificial colours or flavours.  Homemade salad dressing will store in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

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