I need an electric food chopper that can handle cheese
February 16, 2005 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I burned out my roommate's electric food chopper by trying cheese, so I need to get her a new one. Can you recommend a fairly priced model that won't go all stinky and smoky when I stuff it full of Wisconsin's best?
posted by Mo Nickels to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
 
what's an electric food chopper? you mean a food processor? cuisinart.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2005


Are we talking about the full blown Cuisinart, a mini-Cuisinart, or one of those stick blender/chopper things?
posted by caddis at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2005


We have one of those stick blender/chopper things - a Braun immersion blender that comes with a little food-processor attachment and a whisk as well as the blender attachment - and I adore it. We've used the food processor part to grind spices, completely pulverize parmesan, make breadcrumbs for breading, etc. And the blender part is awesome for slightly de-chunkifying tomato sauces, blending ice cream or sorbet mixtures to go into the ice cream maker, thoroughly blending hot chocolate (made in a pot on the stove), and things like that. Other plans include squash soup and perhaps pumpkin pie from scratch. We haven't used the whisk attachment yet but I want to see what it does to omelettes.
Amazon has it for pretty cheap.
posted by librarina at 11:01 AM on February 16, 2005


I dislike hand blenders because they're a pain to clean and prone to massive messes if not used properly. OTOH, I'm a huge fan of our Cuisinart Mini-Prep.

None of these things, btw, is great for grating any cheese softer than parmesan. The rapid motion heats the cheese, which increases its viscosity. Far better to do it by hand with a good old-fashioned cheese grater. I don't know who makes it, but seek out one that snaps on top of a plastic container (basically, it's a box with the grater as the lid).
posted by mkultra at 11:06 AM on February 16, 2005


I dislike hand blenders because they're a pain to clean and prone to massive messes if not used properly.

Cleaning:

1) Fill small mixing bowl with hot water and some dishwashing liquid.
2) Insert mucky part of hand blender.
3) Run for 30 seconds to a minute.

That tends to get ours clean.

The massive messes if not used carefully can be a problem. Best tip there: make sure the blade bit is fully immersed in whatever you're blending before you turn it on, and make sure it has stopped spinning before you remove it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:17 AM on February 16, 2005


A regular Cuisinart with the grating disc does a fair job with grating cheese. mkultra is right that the speed is too high to really do cheese properly, but the grating disc works much better than the blade. For the best combination of function and clean-up I like the mini-Cuisinarts. They chop just about anything, in small quantities, and the parts fit nicely into the dishwasher without overwhelming the dishwasher.
posted by caddis at 11:21 AM on February 16, 2005


mkultra: Really? I've gotten very good results with the grating disk on a Cuisinart, even with semihard cheeses. I wouldn't use the blade, though, which is what it seems like Mo Nickels might have tried.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:21 AM on February 16, 2005


Far better to do it by hand with a good old-fashioned cheese grater. I don't know who makes it, but seek out one that snaps on top of a plastic container (basically, it's a box with the grater as the lid).

I've found rotary hand graters to work well also, but while looking for one on the web I discovered that there are more ways of grating cheese than I had imagined.
posted by advil at 12:35 PM on February 16, 2005


Another vote for the Cusinart - I have both the 11-cup size and the mini and they handle cheese from mozzarella to parmesan wonderfully.

You gotta look into the different discs, by the way - the ones that come with it are fine, but it's nice to have the flexibility.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:21 PM on February 16, 2005


It was one with the blade rather than the disc. The chopper was pretty cheaply made, I think. It had one speed, for example, and one blade, for another. At a slower speed or with a different blade it might not have burned out.

It needs to be a model that will do all sorts of vegetables, fruit, and other food. She uses it all the time and I want to: it turned my salsa-making habit from 45 minutes of hand-chopping to five minutes of machine-chopping, though I like the hand-chopped salsa texture better.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2005


Cusianrt if you've got the bucks. I mentioned this in the thread on Kitchen Aid mixers and I'm glad to see that someone else likes it: for twenty bucks or so the Braun hand blender is a great tool.
posted by fixedgear at 2:06 PM on February 16, 2005


Thanks, everybody. I went with the Cuisinart LPP 3-Cup Little Pro Plus Food Processor and Juicer, which is a little bigger and a lot better than what she had.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2005


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