If a “do it by hand” tool isn't going to cut it for your latest kitchen creations, adding a power motor can sometimes help.
Hey, I'm a guy. I like to cook, but I have more fun if I can cook with an engine. (More power!)
Equipping your kitchen with all the latest small appliances can be pretty expensive, though, not to mention how much space they can take up. When buying a new kitchen appliance, think about what you cook, how often you cook it, and how much you really need to make, before dipping into your wallet. Having said that, there are few small kitchen appliances I think are pretty essential for most home cooks.
Working much faster than a hand whisk, I use mine for all kinds of things. Have you ever tried beating egg whites or whipping cream to a peak by hand? I've seen people do it, but I think they must be mutants. I've never been able to pull it off without my hand mixer. I like that mine has a couple of dough hook attachments, as well. That way I use it to get bread and cookie doughs going without killing myself, or the motor.
Choose one that has at least three speeds and easily detachable beaters. It makes clean up much easier. And hey, who doesn't like licking the frosting off the beaters?
A good blender can be used for all kinds of things, from creaming soups or pureeing vegetables for a quick vegetable smoothie. While some appliances have started to make it seem obsolete, I still love mine for crushing ice and making special drinks. Make sure to get one with low-set blades or it won't handle small quantities very well.
Food processors can sometimes eliminate the need for a free-standing blender, although I still like my blender for drinks. The metal blades chop and mix, but other attachments are available for slicing, shredding, and grating. Some come with different sized bowls to handle different quantities. As always, buy the best one you can afford. Expensive doesn't always mean it the best, but cheap usually means you'll be replacing it sooner than expected.
I am in love with my handheld blender. It doesn't handle large quantities as well as a standing blending, but it's perfect for pureeing soups and sauces while still in the pot. Without it I'd have to take the time to let the soup cool, transfer portions of it to the standing blender, and risk burning myself or making a mess in the kitchen as the hot liquid spews out the top of the blender an onto the ceiling. Clean up is easy and it saves on storage space as well. It's also a must when making foams.
Yes, at some point I will be blogging about my experiments in foams, or what one chef likes to call, “flavored air.”