Q: I do a lot of vegetarian cooking, but I have just a little bit of time after work. Slicing and dicing ingredients can take about an hour for a recipe. I usually use knives, but I'm looking at machines to help me. Do you have any recommendations?
Lynne: Before you spend a penny, know that you can prep in the beginning of the week. Onions, carrots and celery hold well in the refrigerator. My friend Marjorie stores them in airtight bags in the refrigerator. Then, when she wants to do the saute or stir-fry, it's there. These things will hold four or five days. Shirley Corriher, The Splendid Table food scientist, has a suggestion for keeping salad for weeks. Fill the sink with water and ice cubes and add cleaned salad leaves Let it sit there for a while, in order to fill all the cells of the salad leaf with moisture. Dry the lettuce thoroughly in a salad spinner and then roll it up in a towel. Put it in a ziplock bag and seal out every bit of oxygen that you can. Your salad will keep for a very long time.
If you want to go out and invest in something that slices, chops and purees, buy something that you will have for years. A lot of the very inexpensive gadgety things tend to not do a very good job or they fall apart just when you come to love them. It's kind of like having a boyfriend that lets you down. You want husband material. Cuisinart, Sunbeam, Krupp, Bosch, Kitchenaid, Robotcoup hold up very well. Get what is handy for you. You may want a small one if you cook for one or two people. There are many different sizes of food processors.