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Tips on wasting less and eating better

Roasted garlic makes everything taste better. Next time you have to cook one do an extra head to use later.

About $800, Breville’s Super Q blender is an investment. But used to the fullest, it’s one I think can pay off in healthier, more flavourful food and less waste. The unit sports a not-messing-around 1800-watt motor, and comes with an additional blade that fits a tapered cup that works for smoothies, small-batch pestos, soups, and sauces — all delicious ways to save food and money.

Here’s how I think one can earn its keep, beyond the many, many conventional recipes that can be done in a blender.

The 24-ounce drink holder with a transportable drink lid is great for taking smoothies to work, or to a work-out session, making stops at specialty drink counters unnecessary. It’s lightweight, has a great seal and a rounded hook that makes it convenient for my little fingers to carry. My son thinks the wide-mouth design of the cup, lid, and motor make it easier to clean than other brands we have tested.

With it, soft fruit that needs to be used up can go into a smoothie. That can include on-the-cusp bananas.  If we can’t use those up immediately, I peel them, cut them in half, and pop them in a container in the freezer.

Today, I have a handful each of cilantro and mint that needs to get eaten. So, I’ll add ginger, garlic, honey, lemon juice, hot sauce and yogurt to them to make a sauce to serve over pan-fried shrimp with sautéed peppers, and quinoa that I stir the last of the spinach into.  In this case, I’ll use the small cup but having the two options gives so much flexibility on portions.

I like to use the 68-ounce vessel to puree hearty soups for which I’ve been doing vegetable or meat all day in a slow cooker, and I know people who make last-minute purees from beans cooked super quickly in a pressure cooker. Both options mean dinner can be on the table in a heartbeat. If you have enough leftovers to fill the larger vessel, it will make a soup dinner for four. Add crusty bread, and a salad if you are very hungry.

Other ideas: Leftover sweet potato can be thrown together with surplus roasted or cooked carrot, garlic, parsnip, potato, turnip, squash, or pepper. Add enough stock* to cover, blend, add cream if you like, and season. So simple.

Alexander Brandy made with Hennessy cognac and ice cream in Baccarat coupe glass

Blenders are also useful for Brandy Alexanders made with Hennessy cognac and ice cream. This one is served in a Baccarat coupe I inherited from my mother.

 

Leftover nuts can also be made into a pesto that is especially good on beets, and leftover fruit can be blended with some maple syrup, juice or water, to spoon over ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal.  Or it can be kept frozen and added – along with the banana — to the smoothie.

Note to readers: The Breville Q I am using is a sample sent to me by the company, and I did not pay for it. Breville did not direct my comments or review this material.  Views are my own – and they include the belief that, for the way I cook, a blender is a more essential kitchen tool than a food processor.

*I often make my own stock, but I also keep boxes of store-bought stock on hand. So useful for sauces and soups, and so flexible, now that they come in so many flavours. I like Campbell’s line, especially roasted garlic and Thai chicken.  If I have a small amount left over, I use it – topped up with water, if necessary — to cook rice or quinoa.

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