Continuing the series, for almost seven years I worked as short-order cook in a cafeteria with service for up to 300 people. When I worked in a professional kitchen, all the equipment and tools we needed were professionally maintained, right at hand, and ready to go. And after using the equipment, we had people whose job it was to clean up. Not so in the home kitchen, where there is limited space, and where I have to do the clean up myself.
So for me, the main challenge of electric kitchen gadgets (like blenders and mixers and juicers) is that it is difficult to obtain a net overall win/win situation: the needed overhead (pulling them out, setting them up, cleaning them up, stowing them) quite often exceeds the pleasure or value or time savings provided by the gadget.
In attempt to rebalance this equation in my favor, I recently purchased a Kenwood HB724 hand blender.
In the coming blog entries, I will give some table top reviews of using my new Kenwood blender, and especially try to answer the question: was it so easy and convenient and effective that I will be using it for this purpose again?
The Kenwood HB724 hand blender makes three types of fresh Italian pesto sauce
What is amazing and unbelievable: the U.S. grows more garlic than any other country, yet fresh, undried garlic (not picked-early-and-dried-out garlic) is not readily available. This is a bulb of succulent, wet, juicy garlic, probably just a few days after being picked from the stalk:
Not yet having been dried, the bulbs are wet, and the skins are wet with the texture of any other fresh vegetable. Interestingly, you peel the garlic just like you’d peel a fresh banana:
Here are the other ingredients, including fresh basel leaves, fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese, and two types of nuts: pine nuts for a smooth, creamy texture; and cashews for a light, nutty taste. Note the level of the high quality extra virgin olive oil.
And here are the results: I made a sun dried tomato pesto (front center), consisting of just garlic, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, and chili flakes; a green pesto (right); and a “mixed” pesto (left) that is essentially the green pesto, but with sun dried tomatoes and chili flakes. I made the pesto quite thick, so that I could store it in the refrigerator for several days. Before using, I’ll heat and add more olive oil.
Overall comments and feedback
Having already made orange juice, I was not surprised at the smoothness of the grinding action. But I was pleasantly impressed at how well the addition of extra nuts and garlic into the pesto-in-progress was incorporated, which shows this grinder’s excellent mixing action. What also impressed me on this job was the shape and size of the mixing unit: it is large enough for a sizable portion of pesto, it has a large enough mouth to make it easy to add the ingredients – but it is small and compact enough so that I won’t think twice about using this great device for similar food preparation jobs.
Was it worth it?
Negatives & Suggestions to Kenwood for improvement?
Further reviews on this topic needed?
Yes. I didn’t mention it here because I didn’t use it, but the mixing bowl comes with a plastic lid. This means you can prepare sauces in the mixing bowl, then simply cover the bowl with the lid and insert it into the refrigerator. I plan to test this feature in up coming recipes.
Would I do this again?
No fuss no muss – I’d use the Kenwood for fresh Italian pesto every day of the week and twice on Sundays! Here I want to mention, for the first time, the philosophy of use, or PoU: I’ll be keeping the Kenwood power unit permanently plugged in and sitting on my kitchen countertop, ready for action. So at a moment’s notice and without any effort at all, I can bring out the specific mixing attachments I need – thus lowering that “effort barrier” that plagues all fancy electric kitchen gadgets and discourages their long-term use (or discouraging them becoming part of your daily cooking system).