I'm back! As in, I'm back in Austin for the foreseeable future and I have no travel plans until June, in which a couple of weddings occur in Michigan. Despite vague feelings of homesickness, I'm happy to be back in my own space where I get to be in charge and no one yells at me for not doing the dishes immediately after use. In other words, I'm just glad that there are no more grown ups around to yell at my any more.
We left Austin on the 11th of December, traveled between Stockbridge, Lansing, and Harper Woods, Michigan until January 2 and then headed out early that morning and arrived in Austin at 4:00 PM on January 3rd. I promptly got on a plane the following morning at 10:55 AM and headed to Long Beach, CA and returned on the 8th. Needless to say, I'm glad to be back home. All the traveling made for a lot of eating out, which was okay at first because I missed all of my Michigan eateries including (but certainly not limited to), National Coney Island (which is more "Michigan" than "National", but still the best one around), Menna's Joint (which reeks of college... in the good way), and Old Chicago (which reminds me of falling in love with my husband ::waits for the "awws"::). Substantial changes in my family meant that there were no home cooked meals awaiting me at my house, so meal time at home consisted of me catching up with my friends, though we did have a few nice meals with Colby's family. Other than that, the conference was all eating out, and though I did get ridiculously good seafood and confused at Pinkberry*, I was seriously craving something homemade.
Enter the KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The biggest change in my family, aside from the wedding, is that my dad is now engaged to a really nice woman named Denice. My dad, being tapped out from the wedding, gave us a nice card for Christmas, but Denice got us the sausage/pasta maker+vegetable roto-slicer attachment for the standmixer. What's sounds better than a nice big bowl of freshly made spaghetti and meatsauce? I'm pretty sure the answer to that question is nothing. :)
I found a recipe for fresh pasta from AllRecipes which worked out really well. I had just gotten semolina flour from Whole Foods and it made all the difference! I sifted all the dry ingredients (2 c semolina flour, 2 c whole flour, 1 tsp salt) into the mixing bowl and then added 6 eggs and 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil (because that's the oil that was closest to me). I guess next time I'll use just plain olive oil so that it doesn't overpower. I mixed it by hand (since Colby hid the flat paddle attachment) and then once it was mostly combined put it on 2 with the dough hook for 10ish minutes. I then covered it in plastic wrap and walked away for about 30 minutes.
I made Colby put the attachment on, but after that, we dumped walnut-sized pieces into the attachment thing. The most important part is that the pieces are narrow enough to get to the rotating blade. I suppose this description is horribly out of context, but if you have the attachment or if you have the manual, it makes more sense. At any rate, we put this into a large stockpot full of heavily salted water and let it boil for a minute or two after the pasta floated to the top. It turned out really well and was exceptional with the homemade pasta sauce. Though I've posted it before, I feel that I've finally come to a spice/meat decision that makes it work even better.
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 sm yellow onion, diced
6-7 garlic cloves, minced fine
1.5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbs basil
1 tbs parsely
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
s+p to taste
in a pan brown Italian sausage and be sure to break it up. I did this with the Mix'n'chop that I got as a shower gift. It actually worked really well (Thanks, Franny!). In a stock pot heat the EVOO and then add in the onions + salt on low heat. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add in garlic and stir for ~1min until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and then the herbs and then the Italian sausage and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the flavors have begun to really meld together. This is actually a modified recipe for a lasagna sauce, so it's meant to be cooked and it's nearly impossible to overcook, so this can be simmered for as long as need be.