Kitchen Tool School: Portable, Powerful Immersion Blender
I love my stand mixer, but I saw another one recently and we really have something special. While it has never been able to completely replace my favorite red KitchenAid, I found myself using a hand blender (also known as a stick blender or hand blender) to do the tasks I used to pull out my stand mixer or food processor for.
Hand blenders are just as useful as they are handy: they are small, easy to use and clean, and can perform a variety of kitchen tasks, usually designed for larger, heavier appliances such as blenders, food processors, and mixers.
How to choose a stick (blender)
Like most household appliances, hand blenders have several price points. You can get super fantasy by spending around $ 100 on something like this All-Clad model , but I’ve been using this $ 35 two-speed Cuisinart for a couple of years now and have no complaints. (Keep an eye on them at Costco, where they usually come with whisk attachments and mini food processor.)
If you’re a spec fan, check out this extensive guide from Serious Eats , in which J. Kenji Lopez-Alt compares fifteen different models and breaks it all down for you in terms of weight, locking mechanisms, speed, and even noise. You should also look for a model with a wide, shallow blade guard with large side vents to improve circulation and a lock on the release button, rather than a twist-off mechanism, according to Lopez-Alt.
What to do
The beauty of the hand blender lies in its exceptional portability. Gone are the days when soup was poured into a blender, ladle by ladle. With a hand blender, you can leave the soup (or sauce, or milkshake, or whatever) in the original container and whisk easily. Here are a few of our favorite things to dive into with our blender.
Creamy, dreamy mayonnaise
Hand blenders are excellent for emulsifying, making them ideal for quickly whipping up a serving of mayonnaise or aioli. Typically, when preparing mayonnaise with a food processor, add the oil in a very fine, steady stream. But as shown in the video above, layering the ingredients with oil on top and pushing the blender all the way to the bottom of the cup, the blender does all the work for you. The movement of the blades slowly draws the oil from top to bottom, gradually emulsifying it with other ingredients and preventing breakage.
Frosty smoothies and cocktails
Forget the Magic Bullet, you can make shakes and smoothies very quickly with the hand blender. I usually only use the mixing bowl that comes with the blender, but any wide-mouth glass will work.
Simply pour the ingredients into your chosen container and start mixing, making sure the blades are completely submerged in the liquid first before slowly moving them up and down so everyone can recognize each other. I’m sure you mean all kinds of delicious frozen concoctions, but if you need some inspiration, I highly recommend the cold beer cocktail .
Fluffy whipped cream
While some blenders come with a whisk attachment, you don’t need one to make fluffy clouds of perfectly whipped cream in less than two minutes. Simply pour the cream into a measuring cup, insert a blender, and beat over high heat until stiff peaks form.
Culinary Power Mark Bittman uses his hand blender to make some truly amazing vinaigrette that keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you’re not entirely sure how to make a vinaigrette, keep in mind that you need a ratio of 60% oils, 30% acids, and 10% other flavors , and check the chart above for flavor pairing ideas.
Heavenly Dutch for a few days
As with the mayonnaise described above, one of the most important factors in making a sauce is proper emulsification. Hollandaise sauce is one of the hardest sauces to learn and, again, Food Lab has perfected the way to quickly prepare this delicious emulsion with a stick blender.
The ingredients are strikingly similar to those found in mayonnaise – egg yolk, lemon, water, and salt are all here – but you’ll also be working with delicious ghee. To prevent the hot oil from boiling the egg right away, you need to drizzle it a little while beating. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure you have the knack for this.
Almost every soup and sauce
Soups and sauces are almost the only reason I bought a blender. I make a lot of tomato soup, curry ketchup, and spaghetti sauce – I feel the theme here – and the hand blender ensures my soups are silky, my ketchup very runny, and my sauce not too greasy. This is especially a game changer with soups, as I no longer get scalded with hot liquid as I move it back and forth from the blender. One caveat: When using the hand blender in a pot of hot, viscous liquid, make sure the blender head is completely submerged in the water to prevent splashing.
How to care for your immersion blender
Unlike a food processor, which always seems to sprout new parts every time I go to clean it, you really only have one component to worry about cleaning with a blender. The main thing is to rinse the blender head right after you finish using it to prevent food from drying out and caking. Of course, I am a very forgetful person, so I don’t always succeed. Fortunately, a quick soak in hot, soapy water followed by a rinse usually helps. You can also fill the included cup with hot water and a little surfactant , submerge the blender, and mix the soapy water to pour it all into the bowl of your head. Rinse and you’re done. If you come across something particularly stubborn, you can always grab a toothbrush and clean the blades and bowl. For a handle (which contains a motor and therefore cannot be submerged in water), simply wipe it off with a damp cloth.
When it’s clean, let it dry completely and return it to your closet until you’re ready for your next perfectly matching adventure.