I'm not much of a kitchen gadget person but I got my first food processor this spring, and have been using it ALL THE TIME. I got the cheapest one available since I wasn't sure exactly how much I'd use it instead of my blender, and the cheapo one has really held up well so far. I was wondering if I'd stop using my blender once I had a food processor, but I've been using them both pretty regularly.
One of the things I've recently used the food processor to make is homemade red pepper flakes.
See, I love red pepper flakes. This is a love that came late to my life, but now it's here to stay. I like to sprinkle them on pizza, pasta, vegetables, dips and spreads, meat marinades, and in soups and stews... pretty much anything that could use a little zip.
The thing is that FRESH pepper flakes taste about a bjillion times better than those dried up dusty ones from the store. Seriously. It's like night and day!
I am growing a pot of cayenne peppers this year expressly to turn into red pepper flakes, but with as many as we go through that is DEFINITELY not going to be enough.
The last time I was at the farmer's market one of the stalls had a basket-full of red peppers that looked like they'd work for homemade red pepper flakes... they weren't cayenne peppers, but they were small, red, and their flesh was thin-walled instead of thick like a bell pepper.
The guy manning the stall said they weren't as spicy as cayenne peppers, but they did have a kick to them. The peppers were marked as 25¢ each, but after some bargaining I got the whole basket for $6. WIN!
I got the peppers home, rinsed them off, and split them in half and loaded them into my dehydrator. Once they were dry I just tossed them into the food processor and let it run for several minutes. BLAM - red pepper flakes!
The last few times we've used up Parmesan cheese I've saved the shaker and washed it out, and the large holes in the top are perfect for stuff like this.