Pros: Processes in seconds, lots of power!
Cons: Time saved in processing by hand lost in cleaning/setup, pricey.
I have wanted a KitchenAid Food Processor for about two years. I just could never bring myself to spend the money. I think I was concerned it one be one of THOSE purchases that seemed like a great idea at the time, and then I'd never end up using it. However, I do cook quite a bit, and with a baby on the way I had grand visions of making homemade baby food(I can come up with a reason to justify ANY purchase). I enjoy cooking, but chopping and grating take up so much time - and I really wanted something to ease the job.
I did my research, and after extensive Epinions reading and comparing I finally settled on the Empire Red KitchenAid 600 model. By the way, the other food processor in contention for my purchase was the Majestic Yellow with the Blue model a close third. Obviously, there was a lot at stake in this decision - if I didn't get the color just right I might as well just let Stouffer's do all my cooking.
While shopping at a JCPenney outlet store(great place by the way) I happened to walk by a box of KitchenAid food processors. I stopped in my tracks, and slowly made my way back to the display, trying to keep my heart rate down (at this point I'm 8 months pregnant with high blood pressure as it is). Sure enough, it was indeed a Kitchenaid Food Processor (no red model in sight yet, but I'm not worried). And, WOW, look at the price - $139 bucks(retail price $279)? Sweet! Today might be the day, I thought to myself. This is one of those deals that makes trolling the outlet stores week after week for hours on end worth it, every once in a while you hit the jackpot.
Closer inspection revealed that was in fact, a brand spanking new, legitimate (not refurbished or "second") KitchenAid Food Processor. Model 670 - hmmm, can't remember how it's different from the 600 but I'll keep on looking. Apparently were only two colors available, white and black. Well, I have enormous dislike for white appliances, so I dug through the entire display until I found the sole black one. One big problem however, enormously short on cash that day. But, birthday in two days, Mom was shopping with me - so I sweet-talked her into it, dazzling her with talk of her future granddaughter eating only organic homemade baby food from vegetables in my non-existent garden. Bingo, I'm now heavy one food processor, finally!
OUT OF THE BOX
While I had my heart set on the red 600 model, I realize now I got the better end of the deal, as the 670 is a higher end model with cool features! Here's what it came with:
- 11-Cup Capacity Work Bowl
- Chef's Workbowl
- 2 Piece Feed Tube
- Quick Lock Lid
- Reversible 2mm (Thin) Slicing/Shredding Disc
- 4mm (Medium) Shredding Disc
- 4mm (Medium) Slicing Disc
- Egg Whip
- Dough Blade
- Citrus Juicer
- Patented Mini Bowl with Multi-Purpose Blade
- Large Multi-Purpose Blade
- Accessory Storage Case
- Instructions and Recipe Guide with 25 Recipes
How is it different from the 600?
- There are two extra bowls (including extra multipurpose blade for the small bowl).
- Citrus Juicer
- Dual Feed Tube
This is one heavy machine. According to KitchenAid, the base alone is almost 23 pounds. Hopefully this is a good indicator of the power.
I really like the fact that all the buttons on the control pad are self-contained, so little food bits and crumbs can't get stuck. Very easy to clean, just wipe it down.
Not sure what all the discs are for, but there are a bunch of them and they sure look sharp!
I spent some time with the instruction book. I call this a book, and not a booklet because it is a lovely, spiral-bound, fairly substantial little book with operating instructions, food processing tips and some terrific recipes. The book covered the basics, how to assemble the machine, cleaning instructions, etc. It also discussed each disc and what tasks are best suited for each item.
However, being as my birthday was still two days away she made me promise not to USE it until the big day arrived (guess who's making their own birthday dinner - looks like the joke's on me after all). So, I settled for memorizing the instruction book.
Two days later...
I decide to make tacos. This is something I make often (but not a lot because of the time necessary chopping and grating all the toppings). I carefully setup the machine, being extra careful handling the blades, those things just look super sharp! A little on setup...first you have to lock the work bowl on the machine, then choose your weapon - blade or disc. For grating cheese I use the 4mm shredding disc. Then lock the lid on and your ready to go. If for some reason the machine doesn't start up then you haven't secured the lid or bowl.
For a 1 lb chunk of cheese I had to divide it into two smaller vertical sections in order to accommodate the feed tube. I put it into the feed tube, hit the PULSE button, and two seconds later the whole thing was shredded. If you blink, you'll miss it. Perfect. It was evenly grated and only left one little piece in the feed tube. I emptied my cheese out of the bowl, and inserted the smaller chef bowl(not to be confused with the mini prep bowl). Then I put on the 4mm slicing disc to use for the lettuce. According to the instruction book, the best way to slice lettuce is to wash and dry the leaves, and then roll them up (I stacked three or four together and then rolled them). You feed that into the feed tube and, once again, in just a few seconds you have a beautiful bowl of shredded lettuce.
The next task was tomatoes, and this called for the multi-purpose blade. I washed, dried and quartered the tomatoes, dropped them into the work bowl and 3 seconds later had....eww, what's that - tomatoe mush? Must have done something wrong. The tomatoes looked mushy, not a nice chop texture. But, they were still edible so I kept them.
After the tomatoes I chopped some onions and olives, I'll spare you the details.
So, in less than 5 minutes(including a couple quick wipe downs of the work bowl), I had finished a job that used to take me 30 minutes or more. Awesome!
We've also juiced oranges and grapefruit using the juicer. This is easy to use and makes quick work out of juicing citrus. However, if you are a big juicer you would probably prefer a different machine, as this doesn't make large quantities (maybe a quart of juice before it needs to be emptied. Also, the strainer needs to be wiped out frequently during juicing. However, for our purposes it's been fine.
CLEANING & ORGANIZATION:
If you are doing several items, you'll find that you need to wash the bowls frequently. This can be a pain. In the beginning, I had a huge mess in the kitchen, as I wasn't very organized about using the processor. As time goes on however, I've found myself becoming more organized, getting everything prepared to be processed at once, then doing the actual processing itself, then cleanup. There is a trick to learn the order in which to best process items (dry items first, etc), but I've picked this up in time and become much more efficient.
After I rinse out any big bits left in the bowls, everything can be thrown in the dishwasher.
I've had the machine about two months now, and have used it almost every day. My family is almost vegetarian, and I have used it over and over again for slicing, shredding and grating. I've made a variety of salsas, cole slaw, veggie dishes (including several from the included cookbook, the zucchini patties are very tasty). I even made chocolate chip cookies, although the first time everything was a little over-processed, turns I forgot to use the dough blade which would have mixed everything, rather than chop it to bits like I did with the multi-purpose blade.
- Speed. I'm still amazed at the power of this machine, and how quickly it processes items. I haven't found anything yet it can't slice or shred, including frozen chicken and really hard parmesan cheese (careful though, according to the directions don't process anything that can't be pierced with a knife, so far I haven't had a problem yet). I won't be surprised if this machine lasts a decade or two.
- 2 mm disc. It's handy to use one side for slicing, then flip it over to grate whatever needs to be grated. (The 2mm side is great for shredding parmesan cheese into fine shreds). Makes cleanup easier, one less dish to wash.
- The feed tube within a feed tube, handy for thin items like carrots and celery.
- Being able to finely chop small items like garlic and olives without slicing off the end of my finger).
- Additional discs can be purchased from KitchenAid.
STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
- As stated in other reviews, the storage caddy is a pain. It does hold everything included but as soon as you buy another disc the caddy becomes obsolete. It also takes up as much room as the food processor to store.
- I wish the 4 mm slicing and shredding discs could be combined into one disc like the 2 mm disc.
- An extra work bowl or two would make life easier. Happily Kitchenaid provides an order form to replace most of the parts and order additional items. Handy when my 11 year old daughter set a hot pan on the feed tube and it ended up looking like a Salvador Dali painting.
- I also wish you could use the multi-purpose blade with the smaller chef bowl, it's purpose is limited to me as I can only use the discs.
I've since improved my tomato processing. I've found if you squeeze as much water and seeds from the tomato before you chop it turns out much better, not at all mushy. (If anyone has any similar tips please email me!).
I'm still enjoying learning all there is to do with this machine, and I'm just sorry I didn't get it sooner. I'm still learning and I'm looking forward to making my own peanut butter with this. Haven't made baby food yet, but I definitely will when the baby is old enough. :)