Learning to feed yourself can be one of the most terrifying things. Am I about to give myself food poisoning? If I eat this too often will I end up with scurvy? How can I get the most nutritional bang for my buck? Why does this still taste like ass?
With Ode to My Pantry, learn to navigate a grocery store without having a meltdown in aisle three. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a queer to cook and stave off malnutrition for another semester.
It’s the holiday season where everyone’s jing-jing-jingaling to get together, crack open a carton of nog, hoist the aluminum pole and tie one on to forget the exams, exes and empty bank accounts that have plagued you this season. When it comes to party planning, there’s a tool worth having that’s almost as important as your corkscrew. Nope, I’m not talking about your bottle opener (because duh yours should have both), I’m talking about immersion blenders.
This particular piece of kitchen gadgetry’s history is a bit easier to trace than say a fork or a whisk. Roger Perrinjaquet dreamed up this cooking propellor back in 1950 and patented the design as a Bamix, or battre et mixer. Could he have come up with a better portmanteaux? Probably.
Even though food processors, blenders and Magic Bullets seem to have the Market of Chopping Things into Tiny Pieces covered, my immersion blender’s still my BFF. Clean up takes little more than a quick blend in some hot, soapy water! Plus I can fit it in a drawer, tote it around and never have to worry about the aftermath of broken blender glass and hot soup. What, you don’t bring a blender to your sleepovers? Uh, maybe you’re not going to the right parties.
Souper Tasty Soups
I’m pretty sure everyone buys an immersion blender to make their way through the winter. Got a pile of squash? Bam, now you have a soup! Got a bunch of lentils? Now you have a lentil soup! Take a thing, boil a thing, blend a thing and it’s soup o’clock!
If you’re scared to add ER visits to your Christmas List to Santa, you can remove the molten soup-splash from your soup’s ingredient list. Take a paper plate that’s wider than your pot and cut a whole in the centre. Pop your immersion blender through the middle and the plate’ll protect you from molten hot splashes.
The go-to party companion has to be hummus. It’s vegan, customizable, delicious and really fucking cheap. The only way to improve on this already perfect treat is to make it mess-free.
Throw a can of chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt and tahini into a jar and chase it down with your hand blender. Give it a few good swirls, dribble in some olive oil and you’re done in a matter of seconds without any extra bowls to clean! Do you prefer yours with lemon rind, pesto or roasted beets? Toss that in too. All you gotta do is throw on a lid, throw it in your bag and you’re ready to head out the door!
Preservative Free Dressings
I do love a basic vinaigrette, but sometimes I want something more than just vinegar and oil. You can use a quick zip of an immersion blender to emulsify your dressings or mayos in an instant, but you can also harness the power of pureed vegetables to keep your dressings together.
If you’re a fan of Japanese-style salad dressings, just make your own! Use the emulsive powers of pureed carrots, onions and ginger to carry the flavours of miso, sesame seed oil and rice wine vinegar. And plus fibre! Who doesn’t love extra fibre?
Hearty stews, gravies and creamy sauces all benefit from thickeners, which normally come in the form of a roux. This particular combination of flour cooked in butter holds onto several times its weight in liquid, but it also manages to hit the double whammy of dairy and gluten.
If you’re ever in the situation where you can’t reach for a roux, grab your onions instead. Saute until they’re softened, caramelized and sweet and throw it into your dish and blend your way to thickness.
This is decidedly less sexy than those new-fangled spouts or impossible-to-store decantors, but it’s cheaper and you can use it for the rest of your meal!
If you get a meh bottle of red and want to turn it into an okay bottle, pour it into a decanter to let it breathe. The added oxygen lets aromas develop, but if you only have a few seconds as opposed to a few hours, give it 30 second spin first! Hyperdecanting is supposed to instantly aerate your wine, plus it’s definitely a cool party trick.
I love my immersion blender. I’ve never thought to use it make hummus, let alone hummus in a jar.
This is the only thing I put on my Christmas list this year. Really hoping I get one!
I love immersion blenders for making soup. It’s the only way to make my favorite tomato soup which I happen to be making tonight.
I want one so badly! Especially one in those beautiful colors…
The only kitchen tool I miss more than my immersion blender is the Kitchen-Aid mixer.
I really hate that ex.
this made me LOL for real. i’m sorry about your ex but thank you for the giggle <3
No apologies needed – it was over a year ago, and I’m really just still bitter about her keeping all the great kitchen tools we had. Okay so I’m also bitter about the transphobia, but oh well
UUUUGH. That’s the worst! I still mourn the loss of my cutting board from time to time. But then I discovered deal extreme and coloured ceramic knives/tools and my life got like 10x better.
All I want for this and all future Christmasses is fancy kitchen wares and board games.
I just got an immersion blender out of my parents’ annual visit and, while wildly excited, I was wondering what to use it for other than soup! As usual, Autostraddle, you have impeccable timing.
My immersion blender is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. And I had never thought of using it for hyperdecanting. New party trick for the win!
Now I’m reminiscing about childhood mashed potatoes. Immersion blended potatoes are the fluffiest.
It’s time I work up the courage to say it…
Kristen, I love you.
OMG Kristen I got one for Chanukah and it is AMAZING!!
my ex almost severed her finger attempting to clean one of these
I actually severed my finger attempting to clean one of these. I’m not even kidding. And I would say that most people have a little more common sense than me and don’t have to learn kitchen tool safety lessons the hard way, but apparently I was the third person with a finger-severed-by-blender injury the surgeon had seen that day.
So remember kids, always unplug your deadly kitchen gadgets with spinning blades before sticking your fingers in them! Or maybe just don’t stick your fingers in them at all, ever.
I think I’m scared for all of our fingers right now.
Easy, Finger-Friendly Way to Clean Your Hand Blender
– Start washing as SOON as you’re done to prevent caking
– Fill a deep mug with hot, soapy water
– Plug your blender in, submerge, pulse for 30 seconds
– Unplug, dismantle if the blade portion is removable
– Use a thick sponge/scrubby to clean the flat portions of the blade. If there’s still gunk beneath the blade, spin it in the OPPOSITE direction of motion so you’re moving against the back of the blade.
– Store everything away and put your fingers to better use.
This is what I asked for for Christmas!
They are also great for making homemade nut butters.
I didn’t know you could make hummus with an immersion blender! Great tips!
My old roomie taught me that! We were running late to a potluck and she was like LET ME SHOW YOU SOME MAGIC and magic was had.
I just wanted to come back to this article and let you know I bought an immersion blender today and made a coriander chicken curry and my life has changed. This is my new favorite toy. Thank you for turning me on to immersion blenders!!!!!! <3