Archive for the ‘ Photos included ’ Category

Why I Absolutely Love Vitamix

I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences with companies.  A particularly bad experience with Sony, for example, means I actively avoid Sony products, and Bike Nashbar has been great enough that I use them almost exclusively for my bicycle related purchases,  but, for the most part, my experience with companies’ service levels is centered around pretty good and pretty bad.  That said, I recently had an experience with Vitamix that has absolutely blown me away.

In the last several posts before this, I posted multiple videos comparing the Vitamix 7500 with the Vita-Mix 5200. (I’m writing “Vitamix” as it appears on each blender.)  For that reason, I had both blenders on my counter, side-by-side, with both tampers out.

Just a few days before going down to Florida to my parents’ house for Christmas, I started making a frozen mocha drink, and realized that the large block of frozen coffee was just going to bounce around on top of the blades unless I used the tamper to push it into the blades.  So while watching the coffee spin, I took the clear handle off the top of the lid, reached out and grabbed a tamper with my right hand and–you guessed it–I stuck the long Vita-Mix 5200 tamper into the shorter and wider Vitamix 7500 carafe while it was spinning at top speed!  CRACK!
The blades kept spinning, but the jolt to my hand let me know immediately what I’d done.  I took out the tamper, and…

picture of a broken tamper

This is what happens when you stick a 5200 tamper in a 7500…

The part of the tamper that had broken off had already been blended into multiple pieces, and I knew there was no way to save my drink, so naturally I dumped the contents of the blender into the best place possible:  The garbage disposal.  Realizing that I’d followed up one dumb move with another, I decide the best way to get the pieces of the tamper out of the garbage disposal was to turn it on.

Yikes.

I spent the better part of a half hour picking pieces of tamper out of my garbage disposal. Both the blender base and the garbage disposal were now working fine, but the tamper was shattered and the nut that holds the blade assembly in place had been jarred lose by the impact and the blade came off. I’d managed to run my 5200’s tamper and 7500’s carafe in one fell swoop of stupidity.

Having fixed what I could and identified what I couldn’t fix, I drove back to work and called up Vitamix to see what they could do.  Now, I’ve dealt with Vitamix’s support team once before, but that was something that I expected would be covered by Vitamix’s warranty.  I did not know what to expect this time, as I knew I was at fault here.  The woman on the other end of the line laughed with me at my story, and then told me that they would take care of both the 5200 tamper and the 7500 blade assembly.

I explained that I was heading to Florida in just a few days, and I was hoping to bring my 5200 with me as a Christmas gift for my parents.  Even better than replacing both parts for free, she sent the blade assembly to my neighbor (since I wouldn’t be here to get it) and sent the tamper to my parents’ address, so the tamper would show up while I was there.

True to her word, the tamper showed up while I was at my parents’, which allowed us to make four batches of hummus while I was down there.  The blade assembly (which I just changed without trouble) showed up at my neighbor’s while we were away. I’d read a lot about Vitamix’s and their competitors (particularly the Blendtec) before buying mine, and I was pretty sure the 5200 was right up there with the best of them when I bought it, but between the improvements in the 7500 and the absolutely amazing service, I’m certain as I can be that there’s no better blender out there than my Vitamix 7500!  (If you are interested in picking one up, I do recommend buying it directly from Vitamix.com
)

Hopefully my experience are helpful for anyone who’s wondering what kind of service Vitamix provides.  I can confidently say they have exceeded my expectations!

Update (3/23/2013): In addition to the refurbished 5200 I mentioned, there is now a refurbished 7500/Pro 300/Creations Elite available. I wrote a post about it, and I think it’s a fantastic option to consider for anyone thinking about picking up a Vitamix.

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Kinako Powder (★★★★★), Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆) and Acorn Squash Soup (★★★★☆)

Today was a very, very successful day with the blender.  First, early this morning, I made a great green smoothie.  Sadly, I don’t really remember everything that went into it, as it’s been a busy Saturday, and the blender was used several times after the green smoothie.

We went shopping at the Asian Supermarket that we like to visit and I bought all kinds of fun fruits and greens, including Water Spinach (which I’ve never had before), Asian Pears, Nashi Pears (different from the Asian Pears we bought, and more like the photo in the wikipedia link),  pomegranates and jalapeno peppers, among other things.

The first thing I made after the green smoothie this morning was kinako powder, which I mentioned yesterday.

Kinako Powder (★★★★★)
Extremely easy to make, and grinds to a fantastic consistency

roasted, unsalted soybeans

Grind on high until you have the powder consistency you want.  It’s that easy.

We used that kinako powder as part of a very easy, and very good recipe for kinako mochi dango.  If anyone is interested, I’ll gladly share it.

That afternoon, after we returned from shopping, I decided to try my hand at making homemade salsa, but didn’t want to waste too many tomatoes on salsa no one wanted to eat, so here’s what I did:

Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆)
Easier and better than expected, and definitely something I’ll experiement with

¾ cup of tomato puree
¾ red onion
3 jalapeño peppers, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
several sprigs of cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate
3 ripe roma tomatoes, halved
salt

DSC_8762

First, I put everything but the tomatoes in, and ran the blender on high until everything was blended in.  Then I cranked the speed down to three and threw the tomatoes in all at once and threw the lid back on.  I let the tomatoes blend for about 10 seconds with the salsa, stirring with the tamper to make sure everything was mixed up.  Then I just put everything in a bowl and in the fridge to cool down.

We devoured the salsa within the hour.  Here’s the crazy part…I definitely felt like I’d done a poor job in my first effort.  I just threw things in hodgepodge, didn’t even bother using just real tomatoes, substituting tomato puree for half of that role, I didn’t use fresh lemon juice, and it was my first try, but my wife loved it and we went through the whole bowl, which was over three cups worth.

I wanted to rate it three stars instead of four, but my wife raved about it so much that I feel it deserves at least four stars.  I don’t think she’s raved that much about anything from the blender yet, and I definitely see some room for improvement in future batches.  For one, fresh lemon or lemon juice and real tomatoes is obvious, but I also think there might be room for a touch of vinegar and/or bell peppers, and that better ingredient ratios and mixing duration and order can help as well.  Hopefully the next batch is even better, but there’s definitely something to be said for making fresh salsa from fresh vegetables and greens, and I highly recommend trying your own version yourself.

Acorn Squash Soup (★★★★☆)
My version’s only a small change from the Vitamix’s Whole Food Recipes cookbook

1½ cups chicken broth (using 2 cups worth of bouillon cubes)
1 cup of whole milk
½ medium acorn squash, cooked, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon maple syrup
pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

First, I tried to prepare the acorn squash half by putting it in a pot of boiling water.  Right around the time the water came to a boil I found an article on the Internet that gave microwaving as one of the ways to cook acorn squash, but warned to never boil it.  I took the squash out and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes.  While that cooked, I prepared chicken broth and put the pumpkin seeds in the oven to bake.  When the squash was done I put it, and all the other ingredients (I accidentally put more nutmeg and cinnamon than I listed above), in the blender and turned it on high for several minutes.

Acorn Squash Soup

The soup was very good, and since I know how much sugar, butter and maple syrup went into the other half when baked it, I’d much rather have the soup version over the oven version going forward. 🙂

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