They say that your first attempt at making pasta should be an easy, basic one without any fancy flavourings. Once you get the feeling for the dough, you can try other flavour combinations. Of course I ignore that sage advice and try my hand at spinach pasta.
Making pasta is a sensory experience. While most people are intimidated by strict instructions, I need structure. I like working in grams and digital thermometers so when I’m left to my own devices to judge whether something looks/feels “right”, my heart starts palpitating.
Tinkerbell, my KitchenAid mixer, came with a food grinder attachment. I thought this would be a tool more for my boyfriend, Movie Man, because when Summer rolls along he makes the tastiest biggest burgers. To be able to grind our own meat and not be limited to plain ol’ ground beef would elevate these delectable burgers.
I wanted to see how the grinder would work and luckily I was making spaghetti that day so I could toss the meat in the sauce. I found some pork in the freezer so I cut it in short strips and then in long strips. I was iffy about the grinder working because the blades are not sharp at all. The attachment hooks up to the hub on the mixer so you need to place a bowl underneath the extruder to catch the meat that falls. KitchenAid recommends passing the meat through twice to get a finer grind. I found that the meat looked the same and I also had more difficulty during the second pass, probably because they were no longer in nice long strips.
Things I learned:
long strips work better than short strips. One of my short strips got caught in the grinder which then collected grease.
meat needs to be partially frozen to get a better grind.
don’t force meat with the pusher too much. I was a bit too forceful jamming down the food and dislodged the grinder attachment.
While I had my doubts the grinder would be able to grind meat with the blades, it did a great job. A few more test runs (meat balls maybe?) will be needed before I say goodbye to store bought ground meat.
My mixer has arrived and I have yet to play with it because I’ve been so busy with school work and a new niece!
I have the Pro 600 in shiny Onyx Black. I haven’t decided 100% on a name, but I’m heavily leaning towards Tinkerbell. Why? 1) it’s ironic; 2) this is where the magic happens.
I have done a ridiculous amount of research on this and here is what I’ve found:
Buy the biggest mixer you can afford says one camp…buy only what you need says the other
Has the plastic gearbox been changed? Evidence is inconclusive from my research (some say the change happened in the Summer, others say it’s still the same and will not be changed). You can buy a metal gearbox here. BUT, it may not actually be the gearbox, but a missing retainer clip. Read here for all the details.
Hobart was the maker behind the old KitcheAid, but Whirlpool has taken over. There are die hard fans of the Hobart type and claim it is the supreme and the new ones don’t measure up.
If your bowl comes unclipped during the mixing process, you can call up KitchenAid and they’ll send you bowl clips.
Thinking of getting your mixer out of country? Having your mixer shipped to another country automatically voids the warranty. It’s a gamble you’re taking if you’re hoping to save some $$$. I’m not sure what the warranty is if you move and take your mixer with you…somehow I think it still ends up being void.
I was having a bit of trouble snapping the bowl into place, but this video shows how it’s properly done. I tried to align them all first, but it seems like I just need to put it on the locating pins and just push the bowl down.
Here are videos on the beater to bowl clearance. I don’t have a US dime on me, but I think a Canadian nickel will do the trick. I think the US dimes are a bit thicker.
Wattage is insignificant when purchasing your mixer. Cook’s Illustrated gives the skinny and says that most makers give wattage for their input and this only is the power to the mixer motor and not the output — the power it mixes the ingredients at.
Now that I have the mixer, I want to pimp out my mixer with gadgets. I have received the food grinder attachment free (can we say yummy burgers?) and I’m looking to get the pasta roller set to make delicious fresh pasta. I’ve decided to not get the ravioli maker as it’s a hand crank attachment and the amazon.com reviews aren’t the best. I’m going to go with a different ravioli maker. Other gadgets I’m lusting over is the 11 tine whip that whips egg whites faster than Rachael Ray can say “EVOO” and the combi whip and bowl (I think exclusive to Williams-Sonoma). This 3 quart bowl is fabulous for small jobs when you don’t need to bake 14 dozen cookies.
Looking through the recipe book, they give a nice variety of recipes and a Raspberry Filled Almond Meringue cake that I’ll definitely have to try. I also like how some recipes have a “feed a crowd” option in case you need to make 150 servings of chocolate fudge.
I plan on thoroughly testing my mixer. Christmas time is coming and the masochistic chef inside me has decided on making a cookie sampler set for my family. Just my dad’s side so it’s not too hectic, but in order for a family to have a dozen cookies, I need to make 11 dozen cookies. If I do 4 different cookies and 6 of each…264 cookies…