Times Staff Writer

Two "biggies" have always played power in the kitchen. You may have guessed right: Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart.

What specific products? Another easy guess--the electric mixer and the food processor.

Kitchen Aid electric mixer was the first mixer to be mounted on its own stand (in 1920), and Cuisinart food processor revolutionized this important category in 1973.

Known to be one of the sturdiest electric mixers ever built, the Kitchen Aid electric mixer is a baker's dream. It whips up billows of egg whites in no time and has the strength to knead stiff bread dough. There's only one thing wrong with this machine, which in fact is stated in the manufacturer's instruction booklet: "Your Kitchen Aid mixer will mix faster and more thoroughly than most electric mixers. Therefore, the mixing time in most recipes must be adjusted to avoid overbeating." If you have gotten used to the long waiting time it takes for other mixers to turn transparent egg white into white puff, watch out, these machines are quick.

The Kitchen Aid electric mixer and Cuisinart food processor may have outnumbered sales of other kitchen appliances for many years, but today, two new products are predicted to beat the sales of these powerful biggies. They're the new Kitchen Aid Ultra Power Series Mixer ($289.95) and the Cuisinart Mini-Mate Chopper/Grinder ($40).

Power begets power? I can't complain about my old Kitchen Aid mixer. But for an even greater culinary appeal, the new 300-watt Ultra Power Mixer proves 20% more powerful than the Kitchen Aid K45 mixer. And like the old machine, the modified version with its rugged, all metal construction won't "walk" along the counter while you're mixing. Right away we fell in love with the new cobalt blue body (model KSMOBU), a color that's becoming quite popular. However, you may prefer a sleek white mixer with red trim band to coordinate any contemporary kitchen.

Thorough mixing is possible in the Kitchen Aid because of its unique planetary mixing action all the way to the edge of the bowl. The bowl never has to be rotated. A 10-speed solid state control also allows you to switch mixing speeds depending on your mixing needs.

Included with the modern mixer is a more beautiful bowl: a 4 1/2-quart polished stainless steel mixing bowl with a handle and plastic cover. Also standard is a flat beater for normal to heavy mixtures such as cakes, pastries, quick breads and mashed potatoes; a wire whip for egg whites and whipped cream, and a dough hook for mixing and kneading.

Some of the optional attachments and accessories available for the new mixer are: a food grinder, pasta maker, fruit vegetable strainer, juice extractor, sausage stuffer, can opener, grain mill and roto slicer/shredder.

When the Cuisinart Mini-Mate was first introduced around December, distributors were oversold. Now the long wait is over for those who have been waiting for this handy and powerful little machine as new shipments come in.

Expressing pride in Mini-Mate, Carl Sontheimer, president of Cuisinarts Inc., felt that grinding was the most exciting and useful function of the unit. He said, "We looked at all French choppers and most of them had mayonnaise attachments...in Europe customers perceived the value in mayonnaise making but here, everyone who makes mayonnaise can do it in the food processor."

Standing only 6 1/2 inches high with a 3 3/8-inch diameter, Mini-Mate chops and minces a long list of ingredients which are not as efficiently processed in the standard-size food processor. These include garlic, onions, shallots, parsley and other herbs, nuts, ginger root and horseradish. It chops citrus peels beautifully without having to use sugar or flour with them as you do in the large food processor. It grinds many staples that other small choppers won't do such as coffee beans, peppercorns, seeds, nutmeg and other spices. Mini-Mate also mixes and blends salad dressings, herb and spice mixtures, flavored crumb toppings and seasoned butters. It purees baby food, sauces, vegetables and fruits as well as grates chocolate and hard cheeses like Parmesan.

While working with the little chopper almost daily, Sontheimer discovers more uses for it. He grinds granulated sugar to make powdered sugar. He finds that when nutmeg (or vanilla bean) is ground with a little sugar, sugar retains the essential oil in the spice which otherwise tends to evaporate quickly. To retain the freshness of oregano, he chops it and grinds it with salt then makes a paste with lukewarm water. The paste, he said, lasts longer in the refrigerator than the fresh herb form.

Another great advantage about this mini-chopper is that it operates at a choice of high or low speed and has a color-coded reversible blade with a blunt side and sharp side. The high speed and the blunt side are for chopping hard foods, whereas the low speed and sharp side works well for soft foods or those with high water content.

Housing the two-speed motor is the opaque white plastic top. Larger than other units in the same category is the dishwasher-safe plastic, which is permanently fitted onto a white opaque plastic ring. Three rubber feet support the base and keep it from moving on the counter when in use.

Mini-Mate is covered by a two-year limited warranty; the Kitchen Aid Ultra Power mixer has a one-year warranty on parts and labor when operated under normal household conditions.

The Kitchen Aid Ultra Power Mixer may be special ordered at J.C. Penney's. The Cuisinart Mini-Mate Chopper/Grinder is available at Bullock's, Broadway, JWRobinson's, Montana Mercantile and Fedco.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World