Hooks for Cooks™

I have a lot of thoughts on the 4.5- cup work bowl found in the 16-cup Elite food processor.
I love the convenience of having a small work bowl available and ready for action. This bowl is great for taking a large expensive hunk of Parmesan and turning it into some really yummy grated cheese.The little bowl is also super for turning leftover bread into crumbs destined to top a savory au gratin.

I don’t, however, like the small bowl for making greasy concoctions, such as marinades and vinaigrettes. I’ve made numerous vinaigrettes and marinades in the small bowl and, surprisingly, I have found it rather messy.

I made the first vinaigrette on my daughter’s graduation day. I was dressed for the event and decided to concoct a quick herby vinaigrette for the salad. The small bowl was the obvious first choice. Much to my surprise, the high powered motor worked so well that the oil was forced up onto the underside of the lid, creating a messy drippy lid when I took it off.

Thinking I may have used too much oil, I decided to try again a few days later using less oil. Again, the oily vinaigrette was pushed up onto lid as the motor whirled powerfully. I’ve made vinaigrettes many times in my older models and never felt this was an issue.

A few days later, my husband decided to make his favorite Asian Marinade in the small work bowl. Chris is no stranger to the Cuisinart food processor. His mom has been using one for more than thirty years, and he uses our older machines constantly. I didn’t relay my experiences on the small bowl. I just left him alone in the kitchen. A few minutes later, I found him wiping the counters and the lid. Indeed, things were messier than normal he told me.

For this blog post, I decided to test the Herbed Vinaigrette featured on page 9 in the machine’s official Recipe Booklet. The recipe calls for using the small work bowl and  calls for ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil. The vinaigrette turned out thick and very nicely emulsified, but the lid was again covered in vinaigrette. I had to take extra care to set the lid down on the counter properly so it would sit upright and not tilt, thereby dispersing the grease onto the counter. (There are video instructions on this in the DVD included with each machine.)

Additionally, I noticed that little globs of oil shot back out of the feed tube after all the oil was added and as the machine was running. I tested this by holding a piece of white paper over the feedtube. Indeed, little oil specs appeared. This isn’t a big deal, but it might be if you are making a last minute vinaigrette in a nice silk blouse. So, to avoid this once the oil is added, just replace the little pusher assembly for the last few seconds of processing.

Overall, I think the small work bowl is a great option and offers versatility. I do think it’s important to remember that there’s a very high powered motor whirling a blade in a very small place. And, if there’s a lot of liquid involved, you can get a messy lid that will need to be washed thoroughly by hand before you can launch into using it with the two bottom bowls. So, just be aware of this or move to the bigger bowls.

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