After years of crappy blenders, I decided the time had come to invest in a good one. Vitamix seems to be the undisputed king of blenders, but I wasn't willing to spend $500. I spent an hour researching options and decided to go with the Breville Hemisphere, which was on sale for less than half the price of the Vitamix, but seemed to offer good bang for my buck.
I've only had it for a couple of weeks but so far I'm really pleased. It's got a solid motor, four regular blades plus two sweeping blades (no little chunky bits hiding at the very bottom of the jug). The blades are soldered to the jug, which I'm hoping doesn't cause any problems for cleaning; so far so good. On that note, I'm not sure if it's technically dishwasher-safe, but I've put the jug through a few times no problem. And I'm enamored with the smoothie button!
It arrived in time for me to whip up some fresh pesto with basil from our garden before the first frost. My recipe is pretty classic but I felt I ought to post it, as I use this in, or on, everything - mashed potatoes, pasta, sandwiches, grilled salmon - you name it!
To make, pulse 2-1/2 cups packed basil leaves and 1/3 cup pine nuts in a blender for a few seconds. Add 3 minced cloves of garlic and 2/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and pulse again. With the blender on low speed, slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Adjust the quantities to taste, then season with salt and pepper.