Giveaway: Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor

One of the things I’ve learned in my years of canning is that once the produce starts coming on in great waves, it’s helpful to have a small appliance or two in your kitchen arsenal to help break fruits and vegetables down into preservable shapes and sizes. I often use my blender to help soften fruit for jam making (pulse, don’t puree) and often use the grater blade for my food processor to shred all manner of veg for batches of relish or salsa.

control buttons

Recently, the nice folks at Hamilton Beach asked if I’d be interested in trying out their new Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor. Since I’m always curious about new appliances (particularly ones that can help out during canning season), I said yes. I’ve had this guy in my kitchen for a couple of months now and there are a bunch of things I really like about it.

chopping blade

First off, I really like its general concept. Instead of having to turn and lock the pieces into alignment, the components of this machine simply stack together. Once you’re ready to process, two little pieces click and hold the lid in place. When I first used the machine, I found it a little disconcerting that the bowl doesn’t lock onto the base, but it has proven to be plenty sturdy, so it doesn’t worry me at all.

I also really appreciate the fact that both the chopping blade and the slicing/grating disc fit into the bowl for storage (I’ve never found a good method for storing the accessory discs for my other food processor).

grate and slice blade

It’s also a seriously powerful in the shredding and slicing department. I have used it to grate many pounds of carrots, cabbage, potatoes, fennel, and very old, hard Parmesan cheese. It’s been a champ with them all. I also appreciate how wide the feed tube is. Makes it really easy to get large root vegetables in there.

The chopping blade is also a workhorse, though I was disappointed to find that it sits up a little too high to be truly useful for moderately sized batches of pastry dough and pie crust. Still, it makes quick work of larger batches of dough and things like these sunflower seed and cheddar crackers.

lid

My one complaint about this machine has to do with the length of the cord. It’s too darn short! Truly though, I find this to be the case with most modern appliances. Because my kitchen is 47 years old (and has never been remodeled), I have just a couple of outlets placed at either end of the room. I either end up positioning the processor at an awkward angle and stretching the cord to its full length or getting an extension cord. If you have a space with more generously positioned electrical outlets, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with this food processor. I’ve long used a first generation Cuisinart (my aunt Flora bought it sometime in the mid-seventies) for my processing needs and I was pleased to see that this inexpensive unit could do much of what I ask of my vintage machine.

Finally, the giveaway. Hamilton Beach has generously given me eight of these Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processors to give away to my readers. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite small kitchen appliance. Food processor? Coffee maker? Immersion blender? Hand-cranked coffee grinder?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, June 14, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Also, make sure to check back tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing a recipe for fennel relish made right in the Stack & Snap (with action pictures and everything). If you’re a fennel fan, it’s certain to be a new favorite.

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach gave me one Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor for review and photography purposes and they’re providing eight additional units for this giveaway. They did not pay for inclusion on the blog and my opinions remain entirely my own. 

 

Upcoming Canning Classes: The Brooklyn Kitchen

class image revised

Last fall, I did a canning demo and book event at The Brooklyn Kitchen (a ridiculously awesome culinary store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn). Much to my delight, they’ve invited me back to teach a slew of jam classes throughout this summer.

Each class features two styles of jam making. I demo a batch of jam made with Pomona’s Pectin, while class participants break up into groups and get hands on with a small, pectin-free batch of jam. In the June classes, we’re working with strawberries. In July, we’ll transition to apricots and in August, it’ll be all about plums.

It’s a fun class with plenty of take-home treats. If you’re in the New York area, I’d love to see you in one of these sessions! Just click on the date that works for you to sign up!

Thursday, June 13, 6:30 pm
Tuesday, June 18, 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 6, 2 pm
Thursday, July 18, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, August 7, 6:30 pm
Sunday, August 25, 2 pm

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Links: Meyer Lemon Jam, Kerr Jars, and a Winner

spouted drink jars

I spent the weekend up in Massachusetts at the wedding of a very old friend. It was a remarkable gathering in so many ways. It was held at a retreat center, so the bulk of the wedding guests were together from Friday night straight through until this morning. Everyone joyfully lent a hand in the hours before the ceremony, to ensure it would go without a hitch. And most unusually, there were 14 members of the clergy in attendance (both the bride and groom are Unitarian Universalist ministers).

After all that celebrating (as well as the driving to and fro), I’m more than a little weary, so I’m going to keep the links brief this week. Here’s a handful of highlights.

Mrs. Wages Pickle Mixes mrs. wages winner

The winner of the Mrs. Wages pickle basket is Christine W. who said, “My favorite thing at the start of canning season is strawberry jam! It puts the store-bought stuff to shame!” Christine, you are too right!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a giveaway that’s going to knock your socks off, so check back then!

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A Collection of Gardening Books

stack of gardening books

I am a fantasy gardener. I read gardening books, peruse seed catalogs and wander through the rows of seedlings at my local garden center, all without having so much as a square inch of outdoor space to call my own. There were two seasons (several years ago) when I managed to secure a plot in a community garden, but it was very far from my home and so thoroughly infested with mosquitoes that I’d be swollen and itchy within just a few minutes (I’m a bit allergic to mosquito bites), so I gave it up.

Still, I like to imagine what it might be like to have a convenient spot for growing a few things and I fuel these daydreams with books. Here are a few of the ones I’ve enjoyed most in recent days. Whether you actually have a garden or you’re a fantasy gardener like me, they’re all particularly good reads about growing things.

Apartment Gardening

The first book is Apartment Gardening by Amy Pennington. This one came out two years ago and is such a hopeful volume for those us of without a yard (it still doesn’t help me too much, with no balcony and only north-facing windows, but my geography doesn’t stop me from liking it).

It’s the perfect primer for those who are growing edible things in small pots and containers. It will hold your hand through seed starting and hardening off. It contains instructions on how to build planter boxes and worm bins. And, it has a bunch of recipes offering a variety of ways to use up your harvest (I dream of someday making the pea vine dumplings. Don’t they sound wonderful!). It’s a lovely, intuitive book and it perfect for new gardeners.

Gardening for Geeks

Gardening for Geeks by Christy Wilhelmi is a more recent release and approaches gardening from a far more scientific perspective. It will help you orient your garden, build your raise beds, test and amend your soil and even figure out your frost dates. There’s lots in here about different styles of gardening (organic, biodynamic, French intensive, etc) and the hows and whys of pruning.

There’s also a stash of recipes towards the back of the book, including sesame roasted radishes and basic instructions for canning up those tomatoes.

If you’re the type who isn’t satisfied by cursory explanations and needs a more thorough discussion of why and how, this book is perfect for you.

The Complete Kitchen Garden

Last up is The Complete Kitchen Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden. The balance of this book swings more heavily towards recipes than garden advice, but for this fantasy gardener, that actually works out pretty well because it means there’s more ways for me to interact with it. Still, it’s got pretty garden layouts, advice for plant rotation and tips for patio gardens.

For those of you who are actually gardening this season, what are your favorite resources for growing advice and wisdom?

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Recipe Reminder: Drop Biscuits with Cheddar and Greens

mustard green, kale, and chedder biscuits

Somehow, without really intending for it to happen, I’ve found myself the member of two different CSA programs this season. Both are half shares, so it’s not a truly excessive amount of produce, but it’s proving to be just enough that I have to be exceedingly proactive in ensuring it is all used.

For instances, this week I found myself in the possession of three heads of lettuce, three bunches of kale, one bundle of mustard greens, as well as spinach, dandelion greens and a giant head of napa cabbage. I’ve made a series of enormous salads, wilted spinach into eggs, cooked up four sheet trays of kale chips, and made a big old batch of these drop biscuits.

If you’re finding yourself similarly inundated with greens of all varieties, these biscuits are a lifesaver. You can fold a full two cups of sauteed greens into the dough (in this case, I used both mustard greens and kale, but truly, use whatever you have), they freeze really well, and they’re quite tasty when toasted.

Also, the kinds of flours are flexible. This time, I used a combination of whole wheat and rye flours, but in the past have also used whole wheat pastry, all-purpose and even oat flour. For those of you who eat gluten-free, I imagine you could swap in your favorite GF flour blend without trouble.

How are you guys using up all those spring greens these days?

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Where the Jar Magic Happens: A Tour of Fillmore Container

mason jars

Last month, while Scott and I were on vacation out in Lancaster County, we paid a visit to one of my very favorite source of jars, Fillmore Container (you may have heard me mention them before). They’re a family-run jar, bottle, and closure distributor that carries both traditional canning jars and smooth-sided jars of all shapes and sizes for commercial producers (as well as home canners who want a more sleek look).

jar display

Because I’m oddly fascinated by all aspects of jars, I asked owners Keith and Lisa Reinhart if they’d give me a tour of the warehouse during my visit (we also spent some time dreaming up some fun collaborations). They said yes and so, armed with my camera, I got a peek into the space where all the jars live.

Just to orient you, these top two jars were taken in the reception area at the front of their office space. They have samples of the jars they carry displayed there, which is incredibly useful when you’re trying to determine what shapes and sizes you want.

a neatly arranged wall of brooms

From there, you walk into the warehouse space, which is impeccably clean and organized (even the brooms and dustpans are well tended!). It also felt so very familiar to me because it smelled just like the warehouse that was once part of the business my parents ran for most my childhood. Who knew that the scent of cardboard boxes and packing tape could be so evocative?

down a warehouse aisle

The boxes along these shelves are full of lids. There are a very great number of jar closures in a dizzying number of shapes, sizes, and colors on these shelves. Keith told me that when they were first getting started, they counted every single lid out by hand for each order. Happily, they now have scales that make much faster work of that task.

glass

Despite the fact that they’re working daily with fragile glass, Fillmore’s breakage rates are actually extremely low. Part of the secret is that each order is hand-picked and hand-packed (no mechanization here!). Last year the warehouse staff picked and packed a boggling 23,000 packages.

biodegradable packing peanuts

The folks at Fillmore are working hard to be green wherever possible. Jars are always going to need to be cushioned for shipping, so they make sure to use biodegradable packing peanuts. What’s more, they reuse shipping boxes wherever reasonable and applicable.

ball jars

So many canning jars. The wide mouth half pints over in the far left of this shot are my favorite size and shape for canning jam and so I got an odd thrill to see so many of them in one place.

salt and pepper shakers

Jar shaped salt and pepper shakers! There’s a restaurant in Philly that has these on every table and a friend is always trying to wheedle them out of the servers for me. I betcha they got them from Fillmore! You can get them here if you’re equally charmed.

blue heritage jars

A pallet of the new blue heritage jars. From the looks of the stack, it appears that they’ve been mighty popular. Have any of you canned in them yet?

boxes at Fillmore Container

In addition to their stock of jars, containers and lids, Fillmore also sells an assortment of canning books and recently added my book to their stock. Right now, they’re offering my readers a deal.

When you order a case of jars and a copy of Food in Jars, you’ll receive a $5 off your order if you enter “FIJ” in the comment field at checkout (the adjustment will be made when order ships). Best of all, I signed every book they had in stock when I was there, so chances are good that you’ll get an autographed copy if you order soon.

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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