Viva la VitaMix, Part Two

As if I wasn’t already smitten with this machine after the first few tests, then I’m completely, unabashedly head-over-heels for it now.  Soups and smoothies have been churning out of that thing endlessly and effortlessly, but moreover, I’ve finally been able to unleash its full potential.  That’s right- There’s still a whole other world of tasks that the VitaMix can perform, and I couldn’t wait to see if it would be up to the challenges. Arming the base with a shiny new dry blade and carafe, it was time to see what this baby was really capable of.

Something I’ve secretly lusted after for the longest time is a grain mill. Sadly, the expense, bulk, and somewhat limited functionality ensured that such a gadget would never be a part of my life. Now, I have another [much happier] reason to take it off of my list; The VitaMix can grind just about anything down to a fine powder in seconds flat.

It sounded too good to be true, and initially my skepticism prevented me from trying it out. Pouring in those hard red winter wheat berries felt about as comfortable as loading up my old blender with a cupful of nails. I didn’t want to ruin my brand new toy! Fingers and toes crossed that all would go as planned, I flipped the switch…

And right before my eyes, those uninviting kernels dissolved into a soft, familiar flour. The flavor was another thing though- So much fresher and heartier than any whole wheat flour I’ve encountered so far, I now understand the benefit of grinding it at home.

Here’s where things get even crazier: Back into the VitaMix my fresh flour went, along with water, salt, and all of the usual suspects for making a basic dough, and with a few flicks of the switch and pauses to scrape down the sides with a spatula, it all came together smoothly, with no hand-kneading. This is one feature that I was honestly prepared to dislike, seeing as I love to knead bread by hand and figured that this would only make for more dishes to wash in the end. The mighty VitaMix definitely proved me wrong though, and whipped together this dough like a charm. Again, it cleans itself with just a squirt of soap, a few cups of warm water, and two minutes on high speed. What’s not to like?

With my hassle-free dough, simple pastries seemed to be in order, so out came the rolling pin. Cut into circles, rolled thinly, and stuffed with more remnants languishing in the fridge, it was definitely a win-win situation. In case you want to make similar empanadas, or turnovers, or whatever you want to call them, just remember to mark which pastries have which filling. My key is as follows: One steam vent was cut into those with “nutella,” two for peanut butter, and those containing strawberry jam got three slashes.

I was about ready to call it a day at that point, but inspiration struck and I realized that with this powerful tool, I could finally conquer one culinary goal that has been on my to-do list for as long as I can remember. Without a second thought, I went full-speed ahead into the process of creating homemade pasta.

A handful of spinach turned my batch a lurid shade of green, and of course, the VitaMix had no trouble pureeing the leaves even though I decided to add them at the last minute, right on top of my nearly-mixed pasta dough.

The extra moisture from the greenery necessitated a bit more flour than originally called for, but I could hardly call this process the least bit difficult. Much to my delight, I was rolling in rustic fettuccine in no time.

So really, do you need any more reasons to dump your old food processor and just get a VitaMix already?!