Saturday night is Italian night at Casa de Heaps.
It's the one night of the week when I am in town that I toss caution to the wind and stuff as much food down me as I can without regard for the three Cs: calories, carbs and cholesterol.
It's not that I necessarily deprive myself the rest of the week; it's just that when I wander off my diet the the other six days, I do so with a great deal of remorse.
No, I really do try to take it easy the rest of the week. I rarely eat out unless it's a special occasion or if I have out-of-town company visiting. I almost never eat red meat at home, and I stay away from from breads, sweets and so forth.
So, Italian night is a big deal to me. I look forward to staying in and relaxing. Around 4 or 4:30, I pop the cork on a bottle of red to let it breathe. I pour myself a glass of white and hunker down in my recliner in front of the TV for an evening of gluttony and movie watching.
My Italian entree of choice is spaghetti. I brew my own meat sauce. I make a batch of it and freeze enough for another four or five Saturdays.
I used to use canned tomatoes, frozen chopped onions and pre-chopped canned garlic, but not any more. In December I bought a small Cuisinart 4-cup food processor, and began using fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic and green peppers in the sauce.
I still use canned tomato sauce and paste, but really like the extra flavor using fresh vegetables provides.
Yes, it's more expensive and takes longer, but it's worth it.
This past Saturday was one in which I had to make a batch of sauce. I ran out to the store early -- I shop at Bi-Lo because it's Greenville based -- and bought everything I needed that I didn't already have.
Arriving back home, I threw the tomatoes into a pot of hot water to remove the skins while I began quartering the onion and skinning the garlic to put in the processor.
With the processor filled, I plugged it in and pushed the button: nada! I removed the plug and plugged into another receptacle -- still nothing. I fiddled with it, removing the container of onions and garlic, and then reattaching it. Nope, still not working.
I got a screwdriver, removed the base and looked inside. I might as well have been looking at the guts of an MRI machine. All the wires were attached and nothing looked out of place.
The damn thing worked fine the last time I used it. Crappy piece of, well, crap.
Yep, after about six uses, this Cuisinart hunk of junk simply decided to no longer perform.
I was forced to chop everything by hand. The tomatoes were a real mess. A tsunami of tomato juice rolled off the cutting board toward everything sitting on the counter within a two-foot radius. I thought I might have to put on my galoshes.
It did, however, give me opportunity to really try out my new ceramic knife -- like the ones you see advertised on TV. In fact, it's actually made by the Fuji TV company. Catchy name, no?
It worked great, but using it rather than the Cuisinart processor added about 30 minutes to the preparation.
I haven't owned a lot of Cuisinart products in my life, and my experience with this piece of junk certainly isn't cause to buy anything else with the Cuisinart name on it.
I only paid about $28 for it at Costco. Prorating the cost means I basically rented it for roughly $4.60 each time I used it. Not a budget buster, but not very economical either.
I'm on the market for a new, small processor. I'm looking at Black & Deckers.