Mini-Prep Food Processor

Despite its tiny size, Cuisinart's three-cup Mini-Prep food processor is a giant in the kitchen. Next to a sautee pan, a chefs knife, and a cutting board, it's my most-used item when it comes to making dinner (chopping garlic, vegetables and herbs; pureeing sauces and soups)—or breakfast (super-frothy scrambled eggs), afternoon snacks (fresh salsa), or dessert (the richest, longest-lasting whipped cream I've ever seen). There are just two buttons, chop and grind, which produce coarser or finer results with hard ingredients like nuts, and make speedy, airy work of soft ingredients. Tiny holes in the lid for gradually adding liquid make quick work of an aioli or vinaigrette. Sure, I have its 15-cup cousin up on a high shelf, but it hasn't moved in years: once I picked up this little battleaxe, I haven't needed anything else.

Cuisinart DLC-2AW Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor, $39.95 at Amazon.com

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