Despite the fact that I’ve tested hundreds of kitchen gadgets and that I am an avid home cook, a culinary appliance has to be pretty darn useful for me to give up counter-space for it. I do not, for example, own a food processor because I have found that by the time I take it out of the cupboard, find the correct attachments, use it, empty it, clean it and put it back, I could have done the job three times over with my fave knife (Kramer Zwilling).
I will make room for a blender, though, because it’s a small footprint, incredibly versatile tool that helps me with everything from making nut butter to soups to pesto to sauerkraut.
So I was excited when Vitamix sent me one of its new Ascent Series blenders. The Ohio-based manufacturer, which has been making blenders for almost a century, redesigned the series based on extensive customer feedback.
“We (took those) these findings, combined them with the lessons we’ve learned as a company and engineered and designed an appliance like no other on the market,” said Anthony M. Ciepiel, Vitamix Chief Operating Officer in a release.
The new line boasts an easy-to-use “interface”, with the choice of manually changing speeds or using one of five preset programs. So far, I used the “smoothie” function, which served up a fruit breakfast shake using frozen fruit in about 45 seconds. I’ve used the dip function for a beet spread (see recipe below) and to make nut butter (which took me a few minutes longer than the recipe suggested it would). There’s also a timer on the front, which comes in handy for, say, pizza doughs.
In each case, I used the cleaning function to make washing the vessel out easier. In a pinch, I could also pop it in the dishwasher – it’s machine-safe.
The lid plug doubles as a measuring cup, and a narrow spout on a 64-ounce container makes pouring easier. My one grumble is that the measuring lines on the vessel itself are almost impossible to see. Additional containers include a 20-ounce cup and an eight-ounce bowl, which come with lids — good for small batches and take-along recipes.
A friend of mine asked if the machine is noisy. Uhm, yes, rather. But that’s because its motor can kick butt. Not an issue for me.
Roasted Beet Spread
What You Need:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Juice and zest of one large lemon
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 large beet, roasted and peeled
- 1 425 gram can chickpeas
- 1 garlic glove
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and quartered
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
What You Do
Add all ingredients to the Vitamix in the order listed. Select Variable Speed 1 or the Dips and Spread program. Slowly increase to highest speed, and blend for one minute, or start the machine and allow the Dips and Spread program to complete.
TIP: I did not have tahini or jalapeno on hand when I made this, so I subbed pomegranate syrup for tahini and skipped the pepper. It was very tasty — served in a pool under roast tenderloin, in a veggie wrap, on crackers spread with goat cheese, as a side dish to a frittata and as a filling in a grilled cheese sandwich. I think it tastes better the second day, as flavours have really had a chance to meld.
Vitamix Ascent Series blenders are available at vitamix.ca and select retailers.
Photo credits: Vitamix