Homemade Pasta — a series of tubes!

Large Macaroni in process

In our continuing quest to make more food ourselves where feasible (and fun!), I bought a(nother) pasta making attachment for our KitchenAid mixer on eBay earlier this month. This one extrudes dough into tube shapes![audio:http://cdn.regensblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Series_of_Tubes_-_Senator_Ted_Stevens.mp3] Continue reading Homemade Pasta — a series of tubes!

Pumpkin Ice Cream and Fresh Pasta

Continuing in our series of KitchenAid glory basking, this weekend we thawed out some of our pumpkin puree (most often used in pies), and equipped with all the right stuff (thanks Cheryl!), we made a batch of pumpkin ice cream and tried our hand at fettucine.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

We wanted to stick to the recipes in the ice cream maker’s instructions, but quickly discovered (remembered?) that Germany’s dairy products hierarchy don’t match up to the U.S. or British ones. If we can get Light, Heavy, Single or Double cream here in Germany, we haven’t yet found where. Thus we are limited to recipes requiring Whipping Cream (or Half-and-Half, which we can simulate through a conversion Sarah found online).

So Sarah dug up this one, requiring only whipping cream. It’s kind of hard to pour ice cream batter into the freeze bowl with the moving dasher WITHOUT glooping over the side of the bowl a little.

Fresh out of the freeze bowl after about 20 minutes of dashing, it had a lovely soft-serve-like consistency. 6 hours later at pal Matt’s house, it had the firmer texture — better for scooping — I prefer. The flavor was outstanding — this is what I want my pumpkin pies to taste like, except it was ice cream. Therefore: make and freeze enough pumpkin puree so that you can get your pumpkinny dessert on in the summer, when you can’t be bothered to turn on the oven.

We often skip steps in recipes calling for mesh straining, but it was a good idea in this case, to make sure no accidental egg bits (though I think we tempered the eggs better this time than in earlier attempts) or spice chunks from the custard made their way into the final product.

Semolina Fettucine

Having finished off that batch of goodness, it was time for us to tackle our first semolina pasta. Sarah acquired our primary ingredient from the local fancy market (Sarik, am Kassiansplatz, if you know your way around Regensburg’s Altstadt).

The standard recipe included with our pasta-making attachments was surprisingly easy. Basically: throw eggs, oil, water, flour and salt into the mixer bowl and mix for 30 seconds with the paddle on the lowest speed setting.

Switch out the paddle for the kneading hook and let it knead for 2 minutes for you on the lowest speed setting. Our mixer struggled a bit at times; I think the lowest speed is a little too low for that mass of dough.

Then knead by hand a few minutes.

Next, cut your kneaded dough ball into more manageable pieces. The instructions say 8 lumps, which made for some pretty long flat sheets of noodles.

16 lumps (on a spaghetti attempt the same day) made for shorter sheets, which were much easier to handle, but shorter noodles after running through the cutter. 12 lumps is probably the ideal compromise between flat sheet handle-ability and noodle length. We’ll try that on the next batch.

Sarah was really smart and laid out an old (clean, of course!) towel right at the start on our table. On that surface we can sprinkle flour and clean up the mess quickly.

The instructions (included with the attachments and in tutorial videos on the web) suggest sprinkling with flour between the flattening and cutting stages to prevent sticking, but we didn’t need to do that at all. If you’re going to cut them by hand (say, for your pappardelle), it’s probably a good idea to sprinkle the sheets with flour so you can roll and cut them without sticking.

We did sprinkle the cut noodles with flour to keep them from sticking while in storage.

The big test was the same evening at Matt’s place, where he whipped up a decadent gorgonzola-mozzarella-pancetta-rocket sauce. Our noodles behaved admirably: no sticking, clumping, or tangling.

Can’t wait to get that batch of spaghetti out of the freezer and give them a whirl, too…

KitchenAid Customer Service reputation well-deserved!

For Christmas this year my sister and brother-in-law gave us an attachment for our KitchenAid mixer which had been on our list for quite some time: the ice cream maker. We’d been having problems with store-bought varieties going soft on us — even the upscale brands like Mövenpick and Langnese.

So we thought we’d give it a go making our own ice cream. Sis & BIL were kind enough to provide the necessary equipment (accordingly, they got some sausage-making attachments from us)… or so they thought! The box and instructions inside it both state that the KICA model Ice Cream Maker Stand Mixer attachment is compatible with all [emphasis mine] KitchenAid brand stand mixer models.

Lo and behold, after returning to Regensburg from Michigan, it was not so. Obviously there are different stand mixer versions (owing to different electrical systems around the world), but they don’t all have the same planetary drive hardware, which is critical to the design of the KICA “dasher” (the paddle which churns the ice cream batter for you).

We weren’t the only ones to have discovered this. Google searches quickly brought us to mobileliving.info‘s post on exactly this topic. We didn’t really want to shell out for replacement parts without an assurance from KitchenAid that we wouldn’t be voiding the warranty, so we tried our luck contacting KitchenAid through three avenues:

KitchenAid Ice Cream MakerLive customer chat with KitchenAid USA was a bust; since we live in Germany, we were referred to the support avenues on kitchenaid.de. I gave it an honest try, but the only contact method was via telephone, and I was not willing to call them. Fortunately, we got answers back both via Twitter and email, and Cheryl C., KitchenAid’s Digital Detective, was immediately on the case. Just twelve days later the replacement parts we needed to make our cool, creamy dreams come true arrived, and everything worked just as (originally intended).

Today was the testing of the first batch. Absolutely yummy! Big, big thanks to the Schwester+BIL and Cheryl C. for making that customer reputation well-deserved!

amazon.de has kitchen stuff on clearance!

Check out the clearance sale on amazon.de! We just snagged this hot little number after waiting about 6 years, 5 months, and 2 weeks for the price differential to finally drop between U.S. and German prices down to more reasonable levels.