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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spin Cookery

Quick, what's the first thing you think of when I say the word blender? I'm thinking Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake.

Not your style? What about Fresh Tomato Bisque? recipe below:)

In the early 1920s, for the purpose of making soda fountain drinks, Polish immigrant Stephen J. Poplawski, received a patent for a blender. The Poplawski Blender, with a spinning blade at the bottom of a glass container, was similar to the blenders that are still sold today. Since today is the day Mr. Poplawski was born, I thought it might be the perfect time to revisit the many uses of this handy dandy appliance!

The secret to enjoying your blender reveals itself once you get into the habit of using it more often. Oh I know, you probably have it tucked under the closet or high out of reach. Well, perhaps, today I will be able to coax it down or out!

First, let me tell you about an exciting discovery I made over at Elise's Simply Recipes blog. YOU! are going to love this!

"Did you know that many, if not most, blenders can be used with a standard mason jar, or wide-mouthed mason jar? This is a trick my mother taught me. Apparently 40 years ago or so...manufacturers used to include a mason jar in the box with the blender. Mom recalls even a booklet that listed the many things one could make with the mason jar blender, including ground spices, whipped cream, and peanut butter. We use this trick most often to make whipped cream. The blender whips it right in the jar, so if we have extra, it's already in a jar for storage. And it is easier when it comes to making small quantities."

I took a quick look through some of my vintage appliance cookbooks, and lo and behold, I found two ads for "blend and serve" jars. One is from Your Waring Cookbook © 1976 and the other from the Osterizer Blender Spin Cookery Cookbook © 1974.

Be sure and visit Elise's link above for more insight into using a regular Mason Jar as a blending vessel. There are tons of comments from others who have already successfully tried it. In the mean time, I found you a How To Use Mason Jars With a Blender video.

Wowza! Imagine the possibilities! Just think, no more fiddling with the blender after whizzing up a nutritious on the go breakfast drink or smoothie. Now, not only can you grind, grate, puree and liquify in seconds but you can store any one or all of your concoctions in its very own blending vessel with it's very own lid. Isn't that cool? You can whirl whipped cream, fresh condiments, nuts, seeds, bread crumbs, herb mixes, dressings, and coffee beans in their own serving containers. The blender whips it right in the jar! Didn't I tell you you were gonna love this! Hurry, run to the kitchen, drag out that blender, dust it off and see if your blender base will snuggle up with it's very own mason jar.

By the 1950s, blender and small appliance cookbooks had blender recipes for everything from soups to nuts. A few even included gelatin desserts and molded salads. This recipe for Tarragon "French" Dressing was found in the Complete Small Appliance Cookbook by John and Marie Roberson. (As a side note, I must tell you, with the exception of the bump up in the corner, this book is in excellent condition. I mention it because it was published in 1953 and it has less wrinkles than I do:) Which of us do you think has been around longer? On second thought, don't answer that:) I've scanned the back of the book so you can see the assortment of kitchen gadgets toted in the 50s.

Tarragon "French" Dressing
1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp sugar
Dash Tabasco Sauce
Combine all ingredients in blender in order given. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 to 40 seconds or until completely blended and slightly thickened. This dressing is especially good served with meat and fish salads. Makes 1 cup. Complete Small Appliance Cookbook © 1953. (a "modern" version of this recipe, which also uses a blender, can be found here. )
The Blender Cookbook by Ann Seranne & Eileen Gaden © 1961 promised to revolutionize America's cooking habits with "exciting new ideas, short cuts, and magic recipes that will take the drudgery out of cooking and make it a pleasure."
"Soon you will find that you will use your blender many times every day in the preparation of your daily meals, to grind, grate, crumb, puree, chop, aerate, and homogenize. Your entire cooking habits will become revolutionized almost over-night. You'll find yourself relating much of your obsolete, old-fashioned kitchen equipment to the that top shelf!"

So who invented the blender? According to the folks at the Blender Expert website, "We wouldn't even be talking about food blender history if it wasn't for the existence of a small electric motor invented in 1910" by Chester Beach.

Two Racine, Wisconsin engineers, Chester Beach and Frederick Osius, and a master marketer, Louis Hamilton, made household appliance history by inventing a small motor than ran on either AC or DC electrical power. The first Hamilton Beach product, an electric hand-held massager, was produced in 1910. The same year, Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Company was founded for the sole purpose of developing more "universal" motor-driven appliances. (source)

By most accounts, Stephen Poplawski goes down in history as the inventor of the blender simply because he received his patent before anyone else did. But, as with most early inventions, many people had their hands in the process. Speaking of food processors, at first, it appeared the blender may have gone by the way of extinction until home makers realized for certain tasks, the blender was still tops for whizzing up tasty creations such as these that I found in a Dairy Association recipe leaflet.

Did you know you can make cheesecake in the blender? I can't tell you how many last minute cheesecake creations were whirled together at our house when I was a kid. If memory serves me correctly, my mother had a cheesecake blender recipe that relatives exclaimed "was out of this world!" I don't have that particular recipe handy but, I did find this recipe for No-Cook Cheesecake at Lynne's Country Kitchen.

When you think about, there are many ways to make the most out of your blender even in today's gadget laden world. I recently came across a book titled Blender Baby Food which looks promising. Jessica Seinfeld, in her book Deceptively Delicious ©2007, uses all kinds of purees in her innovative approach to getting her family to eating healthier, especially the kids. My grandson, Noah, acclaimed chicken nugget prince, loves her recipe for Chicken Nuggets. I must admit, when I tasted them at Michele's last year, I was indeed impressed.

Look what Mary over @ One Perfect Bite gorgeously whirled together; Watermelon and Strawberries Sorbet two ways!!!

Here's the recipe for Fresh Tomato Bisque pictured above as found in The Best of Bon Appetit ©1979.
Fresh Tomato Bisque
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes (about 6)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 tbs. butter
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tbs. brown sugar
2 whole cloves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsps. finely chopped fresh basil
1 pint light cream
1 cup milk
6 large croutons
butter
2 tbs. chopped chives
Directions:
Skin and seed tomatoes. Saute onion in butter and add the tomatoes chopped. Add bay leaf, sugar, cloves, salt, pepper, and basil. Simmer stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are thoroughly cooked-about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and cloves and transfer to blender to puree (or strain through a coarse sieve). Add cream and milk and heat thoroughly. Serve topped with toasted buttered croutons and sprinkle with chopped chives.

I hope I have nudged you a bit to break out that blender of yours. It just may become your new best friend. And you know what they say about friends, "make new friends and keep the old." Not only do I use a percolator for coffee, I've also been known to make use of a very good friend; my vintage Waring Blender!

Resources
1. Healthy Blender Recipes
2. Banana Cottage Cheese Tofu Pie
3. Barbeque Sauce
4. How to Make Smoothies, Soups, Frozen Raspberry Sorbet, Sweet Potato Soup, Garlic Hummus, & Strawberry Applesauce