Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vroom Vroom Vitamix!

I guess I've entered the ranks of the crazy folks -- I bought a Vitamix! I didn't get exactly the one in this ad, but similar, and I paid less (remanufactured) at the Vitamix site.  For $400 I was expecting a lot, so I couldn't help but be a bit concerned at the plastic container, after the nice glass one on my Oster Fusion (RIP). But I've decided to give it a chance and so far I'm getting more optimistic.


In the instruction booklet they advise that you start with their recipes and branch out after that.  So I made their version of salsa, which consists of only tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste I omitted, cilantro, jalapenos, and some salt.  It was okay for what it was, but the machine didn't process the slightly leathery peppers I dropped in without getting to the point of liquefying the tomatoes, so I just picked out the big hunks of pepper afterwards.  I then used the chopping feature to do some onion and garlic since we like that in our salsa, then I did another batch (2 cups) of their recipe. Mixed all together, it's very nice.


This morning I tried my first smoothie, with a frozen banana, about 1/3 cup frozen peaches from a local farm (our trees didn't bear this year), an orange, and about one medium windfall apple (Gala type) from down the road. I added a bit of water to get the right consistency, and then I added flax seed meal to my glass afteward. That was nice, too, and I saved about a third of it as a smoothie starter for another time. This was not their recipe, but quantities as in the Vitamix booklet recommendation.

After following the instructions for cleaning the container with warm water and a couple of drops of dish liquid, then running it on high for 30 seconds, I could still detect some apple residue (I'm guessing) on the sides of the container, so I'm a little concerned about getting it really clean between uses.

(My reduced-fat variation)

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
3 cloves garlic
2-3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons toasted walnuts

We have a big crop of basil and I was looking forward to making some pesto once I had some kind of workable machine in the house. (My wedding-gift Sunbeam food processor has only the shredding/slicing attachments functional now, so it's limited, and the Oster Fusion blender died, so I was READY for a Vitamix!)  Of course I discovered that I didn't have any pine nuts left, but I did have walnuts, and they work just fine.  I reduced the oil and parmesan in the Vitamix booklet recipe by 30% or so and increased the basil, and the result was EXCELLENT, with no need for the salt and pepper in the recipe.  The texture is very smooth, which is fine with me, and the flavor is nicely balanced.  Now, to increase the nutritional value, I want to cut back even more severely on the oil and cheese and see how little I can get away with.  I have in the past frozen a basil puree that I use as I would pesto in some applications. 

I saved about a quart (four batches) of the Vitamix (but reduced-fat) pesto in four snack-size Ziploc bags in a quart-size Ziploc bag in the freezer. I hope to use it in those quantities or even clip the corner of the bag and squeeze out what I need--I expect that's going to be messy.  I even saved a little in the fridge so we can use it in the next few days.

I was concerned that I couldn't get all the pesto out of the container beneath the blades, and the Vitamix people want me to remove the blade assembly only if absolutely necessary (and they'll then sell me a tool to do it with). To be fair, since I used less oil I created a bit more of a problem for myself. But I solved it in part by adding water to the container at the end and swishing it around by hand, then dumping it into a bean/pasta soup I was making for my lunch. It was perfect!  After the soapy cleaning routine I thought I could feel a bit of oil residue, so I'm not crazy about that.

This afternoon I need to start processing some other produce--mostly tomatoes and green beans. I'll report back if I decide to use my Vitamix for any of it. :-)  I also had fun browsing through the 3-ring recipe book they included--some good things in there!


  1. Afternoon experiment: Vitamix applesauce with a bunch of windfall apples from down the road and a dash of lemon juice. I made this--yield about 1.5 cups--to incorporate into some muffins I was just throwing together. I used 1.5 cups or so of butternut squash hubby had baked--we need to eat a lot of these--we have dozens in the garden! I used about 1.5 cups of flour (part whole wheat), 2 eggs, 4 Tbsp. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. These were too moist and took forever to bake. Hubby says to think of them almost as little custards. Works for me! Great taste, and pretty nutritious for 24 muffins! That's half a teaspoon of butter, a tablespoon of flour, a teaspoon of sugar, and 1/12 of an egg per muffin. But also about 1/4 of a small apple, skin included, and a tablespoon of squash per muffin. Pretty good!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions you left on my blog today. I am happy to find your blog. i can tell it will be a great resource to me!

  3. Hi Cindy,

    I'm dying to know, now, a month later...are you glad you purchased the vita-mix? I'm considering one myself and just can't seem to pull the trigger because of the price.

    Stumbled across your blog today, and it is nice to unofficially meet you!

  4. Stephanie, welcome! I just browsed through some of your blog. I'm a text-based person so my pretty photos will have to be snagged from my husband when I can get him to take a photo. But I enjoyed your pretty photos.

    I am quite happy with my VitaMix. About 18 months ago I bought an Oster Fusion blender at Target, about $70 though I've seen it for more, and I really liked that UNTIL it burned out some fuse inside. My hubby and son spent time and money fixing that and it worked momentarily, until another fuse or wire went out. I was disgusted.

    I reasoned that a $400 investment in a used VitaMix (perfectly fine--no reason to get a new one!) with a 7-year warranty would cost me less than one of those Oster Fusions once a year, and there would be less junk left over! So I've used it at least three times a week and am getting the hang of it. The recipe book they send with it has some good things and some quirky things -- their salsa recipe is kinda crazy, e.g. I'm still experimenting (didn't like how the water-chopped cabbage for slaw turned out--too fine, and a bonus recipe for butternut squash soup that I got when I registered the thing ended up to oniony because the onion was raw going in), but overall I've been pleased.

    If you have specific questions, please ask away!

    By the way, if you haven't visited, do -- Ali does great things with more purist vegan fare, while I omni sometimes. :-)


I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!