I was asked recently how I used my food processor, when and why. My first thought was gazpacho, but it was quickly brought to my attention that this is not the season. Hey no one asked how I used my food processor [in the winter in Texas], OK? Anyway, I got to thinking about seasonal uses and I have ideas to share.
First, I use my food processor for massive amounts of onions. It can reduce a large sweet onion to something like snow in seconds, and that’s just what I needed for the stew I wanted to make today. See, I got a bit excited and sort of over-committed myself work-wise, so I though it wise to make a big pot of something I can just reheat for suppers over the next week. Happily, if I like something I can eat it for days without tiring of it. And I like stew!
Backing up a bit, it all started with the beans. Now, if you know me at all you know I have never met a bean I didn’t like. I must have been Tuscan (maybe Etruscan…) in a long-ago life; beans just make me happy. So, my “seasonal” answer to the food processor question was, how about hummus? That’s a great easy, fast thing to do make, yummy and good for you. But, I was wondering, what if I used cannellini beans. Is it still hummus?
I mean, pesto means a general kind of sauce, yes? It doesn’t have to have basil, right? Does hummus have to be made from chickpeas by definition? Or does it simply mean “bean(ish) dip” without being specific? Even wikipedia is a bit vague.
The point to all this rambling is, I like to use my food processor to process as much food as I can before I have to clean it, so chopping the onions almost to distraction then starting the stew and without cleaning the processor bowl adding the cooked beans to make a white bean dip (hummus or not) made sense to me. Mmmm…
I love my food processor. It was my mother’s (my father just loved to buy toys… we had the first microwave oven ever made, but that’s another story) and when she “upgraded” to a new even larger one I got this. After many many years of use the steel blades are still sharp as tacks, and I love the size. Big enough to handle a large sweet onion, but not ridiculous, perfect for my kitchen. See?
in almost no time! So, about that bean dip (we’ll save the casserole for another day, OK?) I used cooked cannellini beans (canned would be fine too I think), added some garlic, didn’t wash the processor bowl so there was a little onion residue, and squeezed some lemon juice in at the end. I added a little olive oil to just smooth it out, some salt, and mmmmm!! See?
Again this:becomes this:
in mere heartbeats! You can, and really should make this ahead. The flavors meld, and while it is dandy right out of the food processor bowl, it is even better the second or even third day. Mmmm…!! If you have the time (or really, the foresight – it hardly takes time), use dry beans, soak them in lots of cold water overnight, then cook them until soft with a bayleaf and some sage. If not, use canned beans but again cook them until soft with some sage and a bay leaf. Either way, here’s a
Texa-Tuscan White Bean Dip
3 cups cooked white beans, slightly cooled but not cold
2 T (or more to taste) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced then smashed with the flat of a large knife
about 1 T finely minced onion (optional)
1 tsp fine sea salt (or more to taste)
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and, using a steel blade, well, process until as smooth as you like. This can be dressed for serving with chopped parsley, chopped pitted black olives, a bit of olive oil and some paprika… its all good! Serve with sliced baguette, crackers, celery or baby carrots, or what have you. Mmmm…
As always, let us know if you try this, OK? Mmmmm… and we love feedback!
And, to end this post on a totally different note, a big woohoo and mazel-tov to my friend Debbie on the publication and launch of her latest book!! Wow…