Happy Labour Day! For many of us, today signals the end of the carefree summer lifestyle as we head back into our regular routines. Having been away most of the summer, in Europe and in Mexico, I am kind of pleased to be getting back into my day-to-day routine. I need the structure! For me, meal planning (or at least planning ahead a few days!) is a huge part of feeling like I am in control and I am so looking forward to getting back to the kitchen again. For the first few weeks of school, however, I need recipes and techniques that save me some time, which is why I am thrilled to be taking part in Canadian Tire‘s Kitchen Crew Missions this Fall.
Our first mission, to be accomplished with the aid of the Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soup and Beverage Blender, was to create easy back to school meals with a prep time of 20 minutes or less. Quite the challenge, n’est-ce pas? Something I always go back to in the early days of Fall is soup. For me, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of homemade soup when the weather starts to turn chilly at night and one of my favourites is my mum’s tomato soup recipe. Perfect on its own, with a grilled cheese or as a starter for a larger meal, this soup is the perfect way to use up those end of summer tomatoes still lingering on the vines…
The only thing is, this soup takes up to 2 hours from start to finish, made the traditional way on a stove top. Great when you have the time but what about when you come home from work later and don’t have the time. Luckily the Blend and Cook is able to do just that – cook the ingredients but also blend them all in one recipient. At 900W, it’s a powerful multifunction blender with an integrated easy clean heating plate that lets you sauté, boil, heat and simmer all your pre-cut ingredients right there in the blender. Boasting 3 heat settings, 4 blending speeds and a stir function, the Blend and Cook lets you blend ingredients to the perfect consistency.
I love that you can whip up a soup with just a few minutes prep and about 30 minutes cooking in this. Of course, the flavours won’t be as deep or pronounced as a soup made and simmered for hours but on a busy weeknight, it’s a whole lot healthier than reaching for a package or a can. The blender did a great job of cooking the ingredients and blending them to a “rustic” consistency, just like this soup is supposed to. The seal-tight lid with a built-in cup made it easy to add ingredients (like extra stock) while cooking the soup and I loved that there was a timer to let you know when the food is ready.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
6 medium tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
crème fraîche or sour cream, to serve
red or green pesto, to serve
Turn on the “Cook” function to Medium and add the olive oil, butter and onion. Set the timer to 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn up the heat to High and add the remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper. Set the timer to 30 minutes.
Stir the mixture using the Stir function from time to time.
After 30 minutes, use the Blender function to blend soup to desired consistency.
Serve hot with a dollop of crème fraîche and red pesto.
The prep time for this recipe is about 10 minutes. Whilst the soup is cooking, you can pretty much go about your business until it’s ready to blend.
And one of the best things about this? Only one knife, one chopping board and one glass blending jar to wash up! Quick prep and hardly any cleaning up – what could be a better way to get back on track this Fall?
My only complaint is that it’s really heavy (that would be the glass jar) and when it’s full, even more so, making it a bit unwieldy to pour without making a mess (the spout could use a better design, you have to be really careful pouring). But other than that, it’s a great concept and I can see it being a bit of a lifesaver for busy people.
Bon appétit and bonne rentrée to all the teachers and students!
Disclaimer: I was provided with compensation as well as a Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soup and Beverage Blender in exchange for writing two posts about the product. All opinions are 100% my own. The Kitchen Crew series highlights my stories, recipes and tips with promotional consideration made possibly by Canadian Tire. If you want to uncover your kitchen’s true potential, stay tuned to the Kitchen Crew for my weekly missions.