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Back to Basics: Culinary Fundamentals (Mayonnaise)

We took a little walk this weekend. I made it into a photo shoot. I can’t help myself. We have so many photos on our computer that we’ve taken to buying yearly subscriptions for online backup. If I lost them, I wouldn’t know what to do. I need them to be saved elsewhere, far away, so if anything ever happened, I would at least have those memories.

Oh yeah, and there was this too. We’ve recently become obsessed with craft brewed ales. Although we’ve always bought beer from local artisan breweries, it’s only recently we’ve expanded our reach to international craft brewed ales. Such as these lovely specimens from Dogfish Head. Love them, all of them.

I never saw myself as liking beer when I was younger. But then we started to attend this local festival, The Great Canadian Beerfest. Eight years in and we love sampling all the amazing beers we can in one slightly inebriated evening. That’s what babysitters are for right? Now I can’t decided whether I like my beer hoppy, grainy, wheaty, sweet, carbonated, flat, warm, cold, spiced, flavoured with Hawthorn fruit (WTF?) or roasted pumpkin. I find myself in beer heaven everytime we hit the beer and wine stores. If only British Columbia (that’s the province I live in) didn’t tax the heck out of all of it. That big bottle, labelled Jiahu? $25 CAD. (OMG!!!!) In the States? Anywhere from $8.99 to $22.00. Amazing what a little taxation can do.

So if you have recommendations on beers that I should try, please let me know. We are always looking for something new and interesting.

On to today’s lesson.

Emulsified. Say it with me now. E-mul-si-fied. Or from the dictionary: ih-muhl-suh-fahy.

I like that word. I also like the action that it is describing. Emulsified foods are heaven. Besides mayonnaise, there is dressings and marinades, sauces and gravies. All the good food is emulsified. But what does emulsified really mean?

Emulsified foods are: (From Dictionary.com) A suspension of tiny droplets of one liquid in a second liquid. By making an emulsion, one can mix two liquids that ordinarily do not mix well, such as oil and water.

Mayonnaise is a perfect example of emulsification and also a lesson in patience and perseverance. Making mayonnaise is not as easy as it looks. I will admit to you right now. Mine broke. Twice. But I made it work and it was damn good. So let’s get you making your own mayonnaise people!

How to Make Mayonnaise

Yield: 500 ml or 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking/Active Time: 20 minutes

2 egg yolks (room temperature)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt

400 ml oil (more on this below)

juice of one lemon
1 tsp white vinegar

Dash of Worcestershire
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tsp water
1 tsp sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attached(or use a hand blender and a metal bowl or even a regular blender), mix together the first three ingredients on medium speed.
2.  VERY very very slowly, add the HALF the oil in a fine drizzle. If you are unsure how slow to start, just start with drips. Seriously.
3.  If your mayo breaks, stay with me. I will rescue you after the next steps.
4. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and continue to whisk.
5. Add the remaining oil.
6. Add the Worcestershire, cayenne and season to taste.
7. Refrigerate and use within one week. (Alton brown suggest keeping it at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then refrigerating, allowing the acids to do their antibacterial work.)

Note: I used half avocado and half olive oil for my recipe as well as straight-from-the-chicken’s-butt egg yolks. So the colour is from that.

Choosing your oil:

Any oil you choose to use in this recipe IS the star ingredient, you WILL be tasting it in the finished product. So here are my recommendations:

  • Macadamia nut oil – great for neutral flavour and heart healthy fats!
  • Olive oil – full of health benefits, nutty flavour (can give mayo a green tinge)
  • Avocado oil – full of health benefits, strong smoky flavour (mayo will be green), Olivado makes a fantastic (and organic) one!
  • A combo of these three oils together would be a perfect flavour match.

If your mayonnaise breaks:

  • Remove everything from the bowl, reserving the broken mayonnaise.
  • Clean out the bowl and crack a new egg yolk into it.
  • Slowly drizzle the broken mayonnaise into the new yolk. Continue until emulsified.
  • If it breaks again, start at the first step.

Delicious food to use your Mayonnaise in or on:

Apple Fennel Slaw
Tartar Sauce for Salmon Burgers
Cauliflower and Potato Salad
Fish Tacos (it’s a great condiment on tacos!)
Prosciutto Sandwiches

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