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The basic how-to: Many of us don't bother pulling this heavy, multipiece clunker out of the cabinet for fear that it'll drop on our toe (or slice off a finger). But think about it this way: Would you rather spend 20 minutes kneading piecrust or a minute and a half? Just fit the bowl onto the base, place the blade in the center, then turn and lock the lid into place. Insert food using the feeder tube, and voilà: smoothly pureed soups, sauces, pestos and spreads. If you're making dough or crust, pulse instead of running the machine continuously, since you want the dough to just come together and not get overworked.
Common mistake: Forgetting about the shredder attachment, which makes quick work of turning carrots and other vegetables into shoelace-thin pieces—great in a stir-fry or salad (not to mention carrot cake).