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Stick Blenders


MelGold
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Several of us were having a discussion the other day that led to a greater discussion about the versatility of the stick blender. Many of us said that if we could only keep one gadget in our kitchens, we'd keep the "boat motor" wands that are perfect for making salad dressings, soups, mayonnaise, blintz batter, etc. I'm sure I'm missing opportunities to use mine more, so the question stands:

What do you do with your stick blender? Recipes welcomed...

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Several of us were having a discussion the other day that led to a greater discussion about the versatility of the stick blender. Many of us said that if we could only keep one gadget in our kitchens, we'd keep the "boat motor" wands that are perfect for making salad dressings, soups, mayonnaise, blintz batter, etc. I'm sure I'm missing opportunities to use mine more, so the question stands:

What do you do with your stick blender? Recipes welcomed...

Pureeing soups without having to take them off the stove (probably #1 usage). Making fruit shakes in the morning after working out when I don't feel like hauling out the "real" blender. Putting your hand over a glass doesn't make too much of a mess, as long as you do it in the sink. And don't mind getting some on your clothes. Or the floor. Or the walls sometimes ...

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I have a Braun hand blender and it doesn't work very well for pureeing soups, i.e. I don't get the smooth, silky consistency I'm looking for unless I put it in batches into a large blender and puree for a minute or so. I know there are the professional grade immersion blenders (seen on Iron Chef, for instance) that are as tall as Tom Cruise, but I don't see myself adding this to my kitchen anytime soon. Has anyone found a reasonably priced hand blender that can accomplish a fine puree?

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Has anyone found a reasonably priced hand blender that can accomplish a fine puree?
Sorry, no answers capital icebox, just a seconding of this request. A stick blender is about the only thing on my list for santa claus. In my experience, santa works best when he's got a specific brand and product code, so I would love specific recs to pass on.
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Has anyone found a reasonably priced hand blender that can accomplish a fine puree?
What do you consider reasonably priced? For ~$100 you can get one like this. Mine is similar (two speeds, re-branded for Williams-Sonoma -- but W-S stopped carrying it at least a year ago), purees as finely as my blender (a plain old Waring, not a Vitamix) and I've been quite pleased with it.

I just noticed that the model of my stick blender is "Magic Wand" and apparently there is a companion book that will help me get the most out of my Magic Wand. :D:P

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I just noticed that the model of my stick blender is "Magic Wand" and apparently there is a companion book that will help me get the most out of my Magic Wand. :D:P

$100 might be worth it for the luxury of not having to do the blend-in-batches dance, which almost always results in soup splattering on the counters and burns to my hand.

And I thought this was the official companion book for the Magic Wand...

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I had a cordless, rechargeable one, which was a pain--not powerful enough to do an adequate job at pureeing soups, refried beans and sauces. I struggled with it until it was no longer rechargeable, and got a KitchenAid one with a cord. It's great. I don't use it all that often, but it's great for turning a pot of pinto beans into smooth frijoles refritos.

When I want a really silky pureed soup, though, I use my VitaMix, like the real chefs do. It's da bomb!

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$100 might be worth it for the luxury of not having to do the blend-in-batches dance, which almost always results in soup splattering on the counters and burns to my hand.
Truthfully, if I didn't have a W-S gift certificate that I had to spend, I would still be doing the aaack-the-Cuisinart-is-overflowing-with-soup cha-cha-cha. I never thought I needed a stick blender, let alone a $100 one. But the only electrical appliances I use more are my mixers. I actually wish I would not have waited so long to get one.
And I thought this was the official companion book for the Magic Wand...
No, that's the companion book for the battery-operated model. :P
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I have a Braun hand blender and it doesn't work very well for pureeing soups, i.e. I don't get the smooth, silky consistency I'm looking for unless I put it in batches into a large blender and puree for a minute or so. I know there are the professional grade immersion blenders (seen on Iron Chef, for instance) that are as tall as Tom Cruise, but I don't see myself adding this to my kitchen anytime soon. Has anyone found a reasonably priced hand blender that can accomplish a fine puree?
I have the 200 watt version of this Braun stick blender . It works great for me :P
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I have one of the kitchen aid stick blenders - it has something like 10 speeds. Most soups become silky smooth with it (broccoli being the exception!) - puree on low speed then finish off with a higher speed til smooth.

No more stirring natural PB by hand, eggs are whipped in moments, and I don't have any recent hot soup scars! I should send the regular blender to goodwill, but haven't culled kitchen contents lately ...

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After some research, we bought the Breville after our Kitchen Aid recently gave up the ghost. Just got here. Have not had a chance to use it yet. Will report when I do.

Please do. Based on the description, I'm assuming Consumer Reports liked it? I would love to know if the ice crusher works.

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I was recently gifted the Bamix Gastro 200, and as much as the word "gastro" makes me lose my appetite, it looks like I will be very happy with it. I tried it for the first time tonight on a mixture that made my Cuisinart Smart Stick work pretty hard, peanut sauce. Into the beaker went lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, xiaoxing wine, and the two difficult ingredients, a couple of chunks of raw ginger and chunky peanut butter, fresh from the fridge. Within seconds of turning on the blender, the mixture was in a smooth, foamy emulsion. I wish I had actually timed it so I knew how many seconds, because it wasn't many of them. The operating sound was quiet compared to my old immersion blender, and it also has a three-year warranty. I'll put it throught its paces in the next couple of weeks to see what else it can or cannot do, but right now, I'm really happy with it.

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OK, I want a stick/immersion blender, but am never going to use it to puree soups. I like chunky soup. I even prefer my vichyssoise chunky. Perhaps that makes me a barbarian.

Was thinking I wanted one for mayo and the like (aioli, say).

Already have a Vitamix, a Cuisinart, and a Kitchenaide stand mixer so got all that covered. Smoothies go in the Vitamix, hardly ever use the Cuisinart or the Kitchenaide anymore since developing gluten intolerance. I'd rather chop by hand and wash knife and cutting board than a machine.

Have spent hours (literally) perusing the reviews on Amazon, and come away more confused than ever. Given that I am contemplating mayo, and will never suffer hot soup burns, do I want something that can do harder stuff, too, like, say, hummus and mole?

The reviews of the Bamix Gastro 200 say you need to bring the eggs to room temperature. Is this universal for such gadgets? (it is probably common sense).

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... Was thinking I wanted one for mayo and the like (aioli, say).

...

The reviews of the Bamix Gastro 200 say you need to bring the eggs to room temperature. Is this universal for such gadgets? (it is probably common sense).

What I have read in just about all mayonnaise recipes is to have all ingredients at room temperature. I did this even with my old Cuisinart Smart Stick, so I don't think it is particular to the Bamix. I've never tried it with cold egg or oil, so I don't know if it's a real difference.

I do recommend the Bamix - it's fabulous - but I use it pretty frequently, so it may be more than you need. I think you can make mayo in your Vitamix, no?

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In order to bring a refrigerated egg up to the correct temperature for emulsification, let it sit in a cup full of hot tap water for about five minutes. No need to let the egg sit out at room temperature for a long time before making mayo.

I always use the VitaMix for mayo and aioli. As DaRiv18 says above, in my kitchen the stick blender gets used only for rough pureeing soup or refried beans. Anything I want super smooth gets transferred to the VitaMix or made directly in it.

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Have never made mayo in the Vitamix. Have used the Cuisinart, and that works very well, but then you have to clean it. You can put the Cuisinart in the dish washer, but not the Vitamix. I hate cleaning the Vitamix because of the blades.

The thought of easy cleanup is appealing.

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It's actually very easy to clean the Vitamix: fill the jar about 1/3 full of hot tap water and add a couple of drops of detergent. Run the motor fairly fast for a few seconds until you can see that anything stuck on the sides has been washed down. Then empty and rinse with clear water.

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It's actually very easy to clean the Vitamix: fill the jar about 1/3 full of hot tap water and add a couple of drops of detergent. Run the motor fairly fast for a few seconds until you can see that anything stuck on the sides has been washed down. Then empty and rinse with clear water.

+1. I'm ginger with a rubber spatula when emptying food out of the Vitamix, but cleaning is a breeze. In fact, it's sort of fun watching the jar fill up with suds.

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Nora, I don't usually clean the Vitamix, my husband does. He says your method works for everything but spirulina powder, which sticks to the sides. I will try that, I have been sticking my hand in the jar and trying to avoid the blades.

lperry, what do you use your Bamix for?

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lperry, what do you use your Bamix for?

So far for various sauces and for a couple of yogurt/frozen berry smoothies. It has outperformed the old Cuisinart in every way, most recently with the roasted red pepper sauce I made by putting whole peppers, a little olive oil, and chunks of aged gouda into the beaker. It made a smooth sauce in a few seconds. Some people don't like that the mixing part is permanently attached to the blender, so you can't take it apart to clean it, but I'm OK with that.

Gordon Ramsay has some nice videos that I watched to give me ideas. I don't have the one with his name on it, but I think the attachments are the same for each one. Edited to add that the Gastro model I have has a longer neck, so it can reach into deep pots.

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Have never made mayo in the Vitamix. Have used the Cuisinart, and that works very well, but then you have to clean it. You can put the Cuisinart in the dish washer, but not the Vitamix. I hate cleaning the Vitamix because of the blades.

The thought of easy cleanup is appealing.

My favorite machine for making mayonnaise is (by far) a hand-held electric mixer, such as the Cuisinart "Power Advantage". It comes in 5, 7, and 9-speed versions. I think mine is the 7-speed, which currently goes for about $60. The beater inserts have no central post, so it's easy to get all of whatever you're mixing into the bowl and off of the beaters. The beaters pop out and go into the dishwasher, so clean-up is nearly effortless. Because it's hand-held, you can use it with any mixing bowl you have. This is also the best gadget for whipping cream. I don't use it much for anything besides those two tasks, but it's a star performer at those. If you do things like making cake batter, which I never do, I imagine it would be good for that too.

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I use my stick blender all the time. Easy to clean and for the bachelor, good for small quantities of whatever I'm up to - I have the little chopping pot attachment and can knock out a single serve gazpacho pdq.

It's awesome for mayonnaise- the trick is to use the smallest (diameter) mixing chamber you can - you should just barely be able to get the head of the thing in there... The bowl it came with is huge and I sent a few recipes up to the ceiling before I figured that out.

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I have and love a KitchenAid stick blender - with the whip attachment and the small chopper attachment. It's great for soups, sauces, small food processor jobs (always use it for deviled eggs), and whipping small amounts of stuff like cream or egg whites.

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What I have read in just about all mayonnaise recipes is to have all ingredients at room temperature.

Interesting.  I've had no problem whipping up a mayonnaise with a hand whisk using egg straight from the refrigerator, except my wrist gets sore.  I'll have to try warming the egg next time.

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Interesting.  I've had no problem whipping up a mayonnaise with a hand whisk using egg straight from the refrigerator, except my wrist gets sore.  I'll have to try warming the egg next time.

I really don't know why it would or would not work either way, but I keep oils in the fridge, so I tend to err on the side of warmer.  I also know that we are one of the few countries in the world in which eggs are kept in the fridge.

My next batch will be with a pasteurized egg.  I'm not thrilled about them, but the last few poultry stories on NPR have made me, well, chicken.

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My next batch will be with a pasteurized egg.  I'm not thrilled about them, but the last few poultry stories on NPR have made me, well, chicken.   

Don't' know what they've reported about Farmers' Market eggs, which are the only ones I use, but you should be aware that the whites of pasteurized eggs won't whip (in case you were thinking of separating the yolks to use for mayo and saving the whites for something else).

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Don't' know what they've reported about Farmers' Market eggs, which are the only ones I use, but you should be aware that the whites of pasteurized eggs won't whip (in case you were thinking of separating the yolks to use for mayo and saving the whites for something else).

They claim they will whip with an acid (cream of tartar or lemon) and eight minutes of beating.  We'll see.

The NYT mayo article from a while back indicates oil and eggs need to be the same temperature, but if all is cold or all is room temp, it should work.

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I have two plastic "beakers" that came with immersion blenders, and both are now riddled with vertical stress fracture marks from the Bamix so I'm looking for other options.  Tempered glass cups, like pint glasses or Mason jars are an option, but with something as powerful as a Bamix, is there a possibility of shattering?  I also don't like the idea of weakening a Mason jar then having it blow up in the pressure canner. (Yes, use a dedicated jar, but the reality is that things get mixed up in the dishwasher all the time.)  Then there's the stainless cups that are half of a Boston shaker.  Unbreakable, but I can't see if everything is blended.  Then again, with the Bamix, it's unusual for things not to get completely blended anyway.   In lieu of continuing with my over-analysis, I'll just ask, what's everyone else using?   

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^ That's the direction I was leaning, and I think I'm going to use one for various sauces, but it really is nice to be able to see if your mayo is completely mayo-fied before you take it out of the container.  I spent too much time looking at Bamix videos on YouTube yesterday, and one of them features Gordon Ramsey making a mayonnaise in what appears to be a thin-walled drinking glass.  There are also people using Mason jars and Pyrex measuring cups, as well as the usual plastic beaker.  I have a single, wide-mouth, quart canning jar that I never use, and I'm thinking it will be the mayo jar.  That's one "recipe" that doesn't require moving the blender too much toward the sides of the container, just lifiting it.  We'll see how it goes. 

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We use Pyrex measuring cups.  We have several sizes, from two cup to gynormous.  The handle is helpful when using the stick blender, and of course, being glass, you can see what you are doing.

We also have very heavy drinking glasses, made by Arcorock, that are useful for small blends.

I love the Bamix, glad I got it.

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