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How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos

Many of us are growing small windowsill or container herb gardens this summer. We started a few small plantings on Earth Day in old coffee cans, and now, they are growing strong in the summer sun. The strongest of our herb plants, by far, seems to be the basil, which is known for its ability to grow quickly in warm, sunny areas. We can hardly consume it fast enough before it begins to flower and we must quickly trim it back so it doesn’t lose its luster.

Learn all about basil and get our traditional Basil Pesto recipe in Food Focus: Basil.

How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos

To make good and quick use of our generous renewable resource, we have been making a lot of small-batch pestos in unique flavors and varieties with our powerful little food chopper. If the basil is ever not flowing freely, we borrow from some of our other windowsill greens and try new combinations. We experiment with whatever is on hand, such as arugula and macadamia nuts, and find unique combinations we end up loving. The small food chopper bowl makes experimenting with different flavors fun because it’s compact and easy to clean, so we can quickly go from one batch to another.

How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos

These creative summer pestos are delicious as pasta sauces, sandwich spreads or mixed in as compound butters. They are delicious spread on grilled corn, chicken or fish and can be added to dressings or marinades. Use a brush to spread the pesto over freshly baked rolls or breads or use it as pizza sauce with fresh mozzarella and sausage. They would even be tasty mixed in with cream cheese to top off a breakfast bagel.

How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos

There are a hundred and one ways to use pesto, so I’m sure we could come up with more. If you live in the neighborhood, you might even end up with a jar as a hostess gift for the next cookout. See you then!

Tell us your favorite way to make and use summer pesto in the comments below.

How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos


Small Batch Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
SERVES: 2

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as written in a larger food processor.
Ingredients
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
In food chopper bowl, add basil, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and salt.
Cover and blend until almost pureed.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos


Small Batch Arugula-Macadamia Pesto
SERVES: 2

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as indicated, using a larger food processor.
Ingredients
1 cup fresh arugula leaves
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
In food chopper bowl, add arugula, macadamia nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt.
Cover and blend until almost pureed.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos


Small Batch Creamy Pesto
SERVES: 2

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as indicated, using a larger food processor.
Ingredients
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
In food chopper bowl, add basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, olive oil, garlic and salt.
Cover and blend until almost pureed.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Compact, affordable electrics chop and mince in a flash.

72860 food chopper processorHamilton Beach® Food Choppers speed food prep by handling the chopping, mincing and mixing for you. Don’t let the compact, lightweight design fool you. These popular food choppers are powerful enough to take on onions, herbs, nut, garlic and more. You can even use these food choppers to puree sauces and baby food. Hamilton Beach® Food Choppers‘ stainless steel chopping blades provide powerful, reliable results. Plus, they’re easy to use and clean — the bowl, lid and chopping blade are dishwasher safe, and the hideaway cord cuts countertop clutter.

How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos



How to Make Quick and Easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

In early summer, everyone’s gardens and market bags are overflowing with fresh cucumbers. It seems this time of year is known for finding ways to use them up or creatively give them away. So what can you make with extra cucumbers before they go bad? One of our favorite ways to get through the excess is these quick and easy refrigerator pickles.

Just a few turns of the food processor blades make quick work of an otherwise lengthy slicing task, so the cucumbers can start pickling right away.

How to Make Quick and Easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

This recipe is for bread and butter pickles with a bit of spice from red pepper flakes, but you can easily use the same method to prepare dill pickles, spicy habañero pickles or salt and pepper pickles. If you like the way they turn out, remember this recipe come July, because it works with zucchini and squash as well.

How to Make Quick and Easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Spicy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
SERVES: 32

This easy pickle recipe is great for using up an excess supply of summer cucumbers, and it takes no time at all with the help of a food processor for slicing. Be sure to have 8 (8 ounce) sterilized canning jars ready to go when you begin this recipe.
Ingredients
6 medium cucumbers
2 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Instructions
Using slicing blade, with food processor running, add one cucumber to food chute. Process until completely sliced. Repeat process with remaining cucumbers.
Divide sliced cucumbers between 8 (8 ounce) jelly jars.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, sugar, brown sugar, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, dried red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to a rolling boil.
Stir and pour vinegar mixture evenly between jars. Let stand 1 hour or until room temperature. Cover with lids.
Refrigerate up to 3 months.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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70725 - stack n snap food processorWhether you are cooking for two or prepping a large family meal, the Hamilton Beach® Stack & Snap™ 12 Cup Food Processor takes the guesswork out of food processing with a simple function guide that shows you which blade to use and which button to press. Designed to be uniquely simple – there’s no twisting, turning or locking required when assembling the food processor.



Classic Potato Salad with Variations from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

The ultimate picnic side, potato salad is everywhere come spring and summer. There are plenty of cookouts, potlucks or parties, so by Labor Day, you’re sure to have tried at least ten iterations of the dish. The fact that everyone makes potato salad a little differently is what inspired the recipe for potato salad we’re sharing with you today. Pat, Laurie and I started talking about how we each make potato salad at home, and while many of our ingredients overlapped, some of them elicited responses of surprise or sheer shock. Okay, so no one was actually shocked, but there were a lot of “You put what in there?” comments thrown around, which made for no lack of laughter in the test kitchen that day.

Classic Potato Salad with Variations from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

In the end, we decided to share the basic recipe with a smattering of optional ingredients so you can customize the potato salad to your liking. We think the basic recipe is delicious on its own, and we love adding our own twist to it, too. We recommend starting with the base recipe and adding your preferred additions to taste. Here are our favorite add-ins:

Pat: “I love adding zip and zing to my potato salad with pickle relish (usually dill, but sweet relish is good too), mustard, lemon juice and onions. Sometimes I’ll add a sprinkling of sugar to the dressing to create a sweet and sour effect.”

Laurie: “My potato salad isn’t complete without hard-boiled egg, parsley and celery. I would omit the relish and stick to the basics. I go with the ‘simpler is better’ method when it comes to potato salad.”

Kristel: “I like to add mustard seed, celery seed, vinegar, chives and plenty of salt to my potato salad, and I don’t usually include eggs. Often, I substitute red potatoes for the traditional white potatoes and add a bit of sour cream to lighten everything up a bit.”

Classic Potato Salad with Variations from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach


Classic Potato Salad with Variations
SERVES: 8

Ingredients
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced
Optional add-ins
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Chopped parsley
Chopped chives
Instructions
In a large bowl, stir mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended.
Stir in potatoes and any of your favorite add-ins: eggs, celery, onion, relish and celery seed.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Garnish with chopped parsley or chives before serving.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Chicken Pot Pie from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

Chicken pot pie is one of those comfort foods that reminds us of family dinners in an era where sitting around the table together was a regular occurrence. Even though our days are now more action-packed, it’s important to make time for these same heart-warming dinners with our families today. This recipe for chicken pot pie will help create lasting memories of home-cooked comfort for years to come.

Chicken Pot Pie from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach


Chicken Pot Pie
SERVES: 6

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 small cloves garlic, minced
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 package (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
Instructions
Prepare half of Food Processor Pie Crust recipe for one crust. Cover pie crust dough with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted. Add celery, onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add flour, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Stir until smooth.
Blend in milk and chicken stock. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in chicken and vegetables. Pour into greased casserole.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Lightly flour counter and roll pie crust dough large enough to cover top of casserole dish. Place pie crust on top of chicken mixture. Crimp edges of pie crust. With a sharp knife, cut vent slits in top of crust.
In small bowl, mix egg with water. Brush over crust.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
Notes
For a quick version, use a purchased rotisserie chicken and refrigerated pie crust. One 2-pound rotisserie chicken yields about 4 cups chopped cooked chicken.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Stack & Snap Food Processor - Hamilton BeachWhether you are cooking for two or prepping a large family meal, the Hamilton Beach® Stack & Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor takes the guesswork out of food processing with a simple function guide that shows you which blade to use and which button to press. Designed to be uniquely simple – there’s no twisting, turning or locking required when assembling the food processor.

 



Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

This orange spread is ubiquitous in the South, but offer it to someone who’s never been below the Mason-Dixon line and you’re sure to get a little side-eye. Known as “the caviar of the South,” but resembling nothing of the sort in mere appearances, pimento cheese is a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimento peppers and salt and pepper. Southerners swoon over the stuff and nearly faint when they find out their consummate loyalties don’t exist outside the region.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

But what is pimento cheese? How do you serve it? How do you make pimento cheese? What are its origins? And does it really taste as good as everyone says? How did cheese, mayo and these weird jarred peppers cause such a stir? There are, as it goes with pimento cheese, many answers to each of these questions and some of them are hotly debated.

Pimento cheese is most often served as a spread alongside crackers. Some people prefer chips or celery, but some of us (the good ones) will fight for buttery Ritz crackers as the optimal accompaniment. It’s no surprise to see crustless pimento cheese sandwiches served at tea time or bridal showers, and it’s equally at home slathered on top of a hotdog or hamburger for a greasy indulgence. One can easily find it mixed into grits, mashed potatoes or deviled egg filling.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

Depending on what region you visit or in whose home you dine, you can find anything from cayenne pepper to cream cheese to onions in your spread. In supermarkets, the list of potential additives is endless. In fact, there are as many possible additions as there are people to disagree, so you may want to try a few styles before declaring your favorite (if you haven’t done so already).

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

The best way to prepare pimento cheese is one thing on which most Southern chefs and cooks agree. At least so far as that homemade is better than store bought and freshly shredded is better than pre-packaged cheese shreds. Reasoning differs, but every chef I questioned about pimento cheese dutifully shreds their own cheese from large blocks of their favorite cheddar. Some still shred by hand, but most use a food processor. Freshness is key; pre-packaged shredded cheese isn’t as pliable as fresh and doesn’t mix as easily into spread. It doesn’t get as sticky, and the seasoned chefs swear they can tell the difference in blind taste tests. Pride in the prep work seems to be a popular reason, too, but you truly can tell the difference in the end product when you shred the cheese yourself.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

The origins of pimento cheese are a bit murky, but it’s actually rumored to have gotten its roots in New York in the late 1800s from the introduction of the mass manufacturing of cheese and Spanish pimento peppers. They were combined in the early 1900s in Eva Green Fuller’s Up-to-Date Sandwich Book where she suggests combining pimentos with Neufchatel and seasoning it with salt before spreading the mixture onto a sandwich. Eventually, manufacturers produced this blend themselves and marketed it as “pimento cheese,” making it available from Minnesota to Oregon to Alabama.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

Pimento cheese grew to become associated with Southern cuisine after the manufactured spread fell out of favor and disappeared from the supermarket shelves. Southern cooks decided to start recreating what originated as a manufactured food product in their home kitchens and somehow created the delicious spread we know today. It didn’t hurt that Duke’s mayonnaise was being made by C.F. Sauer’s (out of Richmond, Virginia) and farmers grew pimiento peppers in the South. And it took years, of course, for the spread to evolve into what it is now.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

But is pimento cheese as good as everyone claims it to be? Well, that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Head to the market and grab yourself a block of cheese, good mayonnaise and a jar of pimentos. All it takes is a few turns of the food processor and a stir of the spoon; soon you’ll know for yourself just what all the fuss is about. They didn’t make a documentary about it for nothing.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches


Pimento Cheese
SERVES: 8

Ingredients
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jar (4 oz.) chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package (8 oz.) block Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese
4 ounce piece sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
Using shredding blade with processor running, add cheeses through the food chute until shredded.
In a large bowl, stir mayonnaise, pimentos, salt and pepper until combined.
Stir in cheeses until well blended.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Stack & Snap Food Processor - Hamilton Beach

Whether you are cooking for two or prepping a large family meal, the Hamilton Beach® Stack & Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor takes the guesswork out of food processing with a simple function guide that shows you which blade to use and which button to press. Designed to be uniquely simple – there’s no twisting, turning or locking required when assembling the food processor.

 

References:
“Pimento Cheese: It’s A Southern Thing”. NPR, Wright Brian, January 17, 2007.
Pimento Cheese, Please!”. Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, Nicole Lang and Cristophile Konstas, 2011.
“From Scientific Cuisine to Southern Icon: The Real History of Pimento Cheese”. Serious Eats, Moss Robert, Sept 4, 2014.
Special thanks to Travis Milton of Comfort in Richmond, VA and all the chefs and home cooks who shared their stories for this article.