We've covered a few super basic kitchen necessities lately, so I thought today's Ultimate Kitchen would be a food processor. Now, food processors aren't absolutely necessary, but they really do come in handy. I use mine all the time for pesto, salsa, pizza dough, and a number of other culinary creations. When choosing a food processor the biggest concern should be size. Now you might think to yourself, it's just me, I only need a three cup food processor. However I'd think again, most recipes are going to be much larger and you won't be able to do things like pizza dough or bread. Also be sure the base is strong and sturdy, the heavier the base, the less likely it is to move around.
The one that I'm considering (ours recently broke) is the Cuisinart Classic. It has a 7 cup capacity and includes several extra blades and discs (steel blade, dough blade, slicing disc and shredding disc). Like most food processors it also has an extra-large feed tube for large food slices. However one of the great features is that the pusher has a pinhole for dripping oil. I also enjoy the fact that it has a safety lock/load feature (three parts must be aligned), however some people find it to be cumbersome, and those little pieces may break. Cost: $100.
If you're looking for something with more bells and whistles, Real Simple magazine recommends the Magimix 4200 XL. This $350 machine is made by the French company Robot Coupe (who developed the Cuisinart in the 1970s). Although it is quite large and takes up a lot of precious counter space, it comes with a wide feed tube, five disks, two blades, a whisk, and three bowls. There's also a box for storing the smaller parts and a twelve year warranty.
Two more, both under $60, so read more
This one is the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth and it holds 14 cups and comes with 4 speeds plus a pulse control. I've read that there is some complaint about the spacing between the blade and the bottom of the bowl, however for the price everyone seems to really enjoy it.
If you're the kinda person who plans on only using the food processor for things like hummus or salsa and care more about how it looks on your counter than what it does, then you might want to consider the KitchenAid Chef's Chopper. It only has a three cup capacity, but is dishwasher safe and stain resistant. Cost: $39.99, but a proceed of the price will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Foundation.