Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Toy: Hand Blender


For some reason I previously had the misconception that hand blenders were somehow inferior to stand blenders because they were handheld versions of the larger, more powerful thing. Now that I have my own and have played with it a bit, I've learned that for my purposes at least, hand blenders are freakin' awesome, whereas I have little use for stand blenders. Handstand blenders must be crazy awesome.

Being able to wield the blender in your hand means you can blend soups right in the pot. No more painstakingly transferring batches of cooked foodstuffs to a food processor or blender and slowly pulverizing each batch, one by one! Hand blenders are also great for mixing individual servings of smoothies and ice cream shakes or turning tofu into "soy yogurt" (I added the quotes because this is distinct from making yogurt from yogurt culture with soy milk).

The soup making use is particularly awesome. It's so easy to just sauté, brown, and simmer some vegetables with stock and seasoning, and then demolish them into fluid deliciousness. There's a lot of flexibility in the general concept, too. You really have a lot of leeway to add whatever you like. Below are a couple combinations that I thought worked well (leek is so tasty).

[Note: sub out chicken stock for vegetable stock to make it vegetarian/vegan.]

Carrot Leek Soup

1 leek, sliced, thoroughly rinsed, and spun dry in salad spinner if you have one
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
dash of white pepper
1 TBS peanut, vegetable, olive, or other oil
cilantro, parsley, or what have you for garnish
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium (3-quart) saucepan until hot but not smoking. Add leek to saucepan and turn down heat to medium-low. Allow leek to brown, tossing occasionally.
  2. Once leek has begun to brown, add a quarter of the carrots to brown (don’t crowd the pot at this point). Toss leek and carrots occasionally, until leek is well browned and carrots have browned some.
  3. Add the rest of the carrots and the chicken stock. Turn heat to high and bring soup to a boil before turning heat back down to simmer the soup. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots have softened.
  4. With an immersion blender, blend ingredients in pot to desired smoothness, adding extra chicken if you want a thinner soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a food processor or stand blender to blend. Add white pepper and salt to taste. Garnish and serve immediately.

Too tasty. Forgot about taking a picture until I was almost done with my bowl.


Creamy Broccoli Leek Soup

1 leek, sliced, thoroughly rinsed, and spun dry in salad spinner if you have one
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 crowns broccoli, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
dash of white pepper
1 TBS peanut, vegetable, olive, or other oil
cilantro, parsley, or what have you for garnish
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium (3-quart) saucepan until hot but not smoking. Add leek to saucepan and turn down heat to medium-low. Allow leek to brown, tossing occasionally.
  2. Once leek has begun to brown, add the celery. Toss leek and celery occasionally, until leek is well browned.
  3. Add the broccoli and the chicken stock. Turn heat to high and bring soup to a boil before turning heat back down to simmer the soup. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the broccoli has softened. Add soy milk and return to a low boil before turning off heat.
  4. With an immersion blender, blend ingredients in pot to desired smoothness, adding extra chicken stock or soy milk if you want a thinner soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a food processor or stand blender to blend. Add white pepper and salt to taste. Garnish and serve immediately.


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