November 10, 2009

The Ultimate Kitchen Utensil

I mean this with all my heart when I say it. Everyone needs one.

The glorious IMMERSION BLENDER (cue solo spotlight and angels singing) is the culinary gods’ gift to cooking. I mean, it is seriously the nicest thing those guys have done since inventing the spatula or maybe Mickey Mouse-shaped waffle irons. And I liken the creation of the immersion blender to the brilliance of Velcro shoes. They are both simple, time saving devices that also happen to look pretty awesome. Do you want one yet? Just wait.

In 1950, a Swiss genius named Roger Perrinjaque invented the immersion blender by basically taking the blades of a normal blender and sticking them on a long rod, or wand, that can then be dropped directly into a pot of to-be-blended ingredients like lumpy vegetables or boiled potatoes, eliminating:

(A) the need for transferring liquids from a pot to a blender to the counter and floor while on the way back to pot

and (B) the unnecessary dirtying of multiple kitchen appliances, making clean up a snap

So why am I peddling this gadget? I believe, there are two main reasons why people generally steer clear of home cooking: money and time. But I think, and know, it is possible to make delicious, nutritious, and quick meals in your own kitchen without spending too many dollar bills or wasting too many hours. To do this, you need to become somewhat comfortable in your kitchen. But more importantly, you need the right tools. And that’s where our friend the immersion blender comes in.

When I’m exhausted or in a hurry and I need to make a quick meal, I almost always make soup. Without much effort or culinary skill, I can cook, clean, and sit down to eat a bowl of freshly made, vegetable heavy soup in a Rachel Ray minute (which generally averages around 30). Since I always have frozen peas or corn in my fridge, I can even make soup when I don’t have time to go to the store. It’s a vitamin rich dish, out of virtually nothing, in virtually no time. Add a little ground black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes and boom, you’ve got yourself one large bowl of tasty. And if you have the time to pick up fresh veggies or happen to have some wasting away in your fridge, begging to be used, you can simply simmer those in a pot before blending or take a few minutes to broil in the oven, creating a deeper, smokier flavor. Slightly more time consuming, but slightly snazzier.

As for other uses, I take my immersion blender to town to create pestos (great for pizzas, appetizer toppings, and of course pastas), sauces (spicy, creamy, BBQ, curry), and even whipped cream.

If you are not convinced yet, this appliance is also a space saver. It is at least 1/3 of the size of a normal blender and fits easily on your counter top or in your cupboard. It’s dishwasher safe if you’re lazy (like me) and also super easy to clean if you scrub on your own time (like me). And it earns you money while you sleep. Well that part is not true, but if you think of it in terms of cost in time saved, I’m sure it amounts to some sort of profit.

So seriously, do yourself, your stomach, and your clock a favor and grab one of these gems immediately. And mom, if you’re reading this, I also think I want a pair of these.

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