Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise- the best thing since sliced bread

I’d never even thought about making mayonnaise, it was intimidating just thinking about the process. Raw eggs? Whisking oil in a cold bowl with raw eggs until my hands fell off? Emulsification? No thank you.

Because I didn’t grow up with a jar of the white, processed stuff in my parents’ house, it wasn't essential for my own home. Growing up, every once in a while we used packets to slather it on a sandwich here and there but that was when we were feeling devilish. Potato salad laden with mayonnaise- what do you mean? Better yet, the husband doesn’t like it, at all. I can assure you, you won’t ever find him in a corner of our kitchen in the middle of the night with a jar of mayonnaise, licking his spoon.

Just knowing that it’ll sit in the fridge door for months, maybe even years before I throw the jar away makes me cringe. Even our brown bag sandwiches are made with yellow or spicy mustard, sometimes even cilantro chutney (that he loves) with a smoked turkey but definitely no mayo. So you get it, no mayo for us.

But the other day I was wondering what to do with farm fresh eggs (besides make breakfast), bleu cheese, bacon and iceberg lettuce. And in a fleeting second, I thought homemade mayonnaise, iceberg salad with bleu cheese dressing and chicken salad! And that began my pursuit to make the best homemade mayonnaise. After some research, I created my own recipe.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Juice from a whole lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, or 3 medium (farm fresh are the best for this)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

In a food processor or blender, combine everything except for the oil. Blend until everything is combined. Then with the motor running, slowly stream in oil. This is an important step to watch closely. I learned in culinary school if the oil is added too quickly the emulsification breaks and the mayonnaise never forms into its creamy texture. The slow streaming method prevents separation of oil from acid, lemon juice. If desired, add few drops of oil at a time while the food processor is on.

Halfway into adding my oil the mixture looked like it was falling apart with acid and the oils separating. And I thought what’s the worst that could happen? A complete disaster. If so, that would be my short lived attempt at homemade mayonnaise. Thankfully I kept the motor running and continued to add oil and eventually it all came together. On the other hand, if after adding 1 cup of oil the mayonnaise has reached its creamy and smooth consistency, don’t add anymore oil.

What is Emulsification? To make into or form an emulsion. Emulsion- 1. Physical Chemistry. any colloidal suspension of a liquid in another liquid. Says I define it as mixing or combining two unmixable liquids to form one. Vinaigrette is a prime example of emulsion.

I’ve made hollandaise and mayonnaise in culinary class with a cold bowl and a whisk but after making it in my food processor with success I am never making it by hand, only to watch my hands fall off.

That same night, I made bleu cheese dressing for the iceberg salad I was craving. In the last few weeks my body’s requested more salads than I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bleu cheese, use the good kind from the specialty cheese section

In a food processor, blend everything together, except the bleu cheese, until it’s smooth. Add blue cheese and pulse until cheese is incorporated but dressing is still slightly chunky.

After making the dressing, chop bacon in small dice. In a small pan (non stick is good for easy clean up) on medium heat, add bacon and brown for 3- 4 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cut the iceberg lettuce in wedges on a cutting board, serve on a plate, drizzle bleu cheese dressing and sprinkle bacon on top.

For our brown bag lunch I prepared a Chicken Salad sandwich with Bacon. (I had more time than I knew what to do with on this particular day.)

Chicken Salad

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1/4 cup cranberries, orange flavored ones are my favorite
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons of homemade mayonnaise, or more if you’re feeling devilish
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients together and let it sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Celery can be added for crunch but I am happy with the crunch of walnuts in this salad.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

1/2 cup Chicken Salad
2 slices bacon
2 slices of good wheat bread
4 large pieces of lettuce, iceberg is fine because mayo’s the star in this
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

In a toaster oven or in a large pan, heat the bacon on medium high heat until it renders fat and becomes crispy. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice. (Bread can be toasted if serving immediately). After the bacon cools, break it in half for even coverage on the sandwich. Spread half of chicken salad evenly on both slices of bread. Next lay the halved bacon on the chicken salad, finish with lettuce. Close the sandwich and enjoy.

And the husband didn’t complain one bit of the white creamy spread on his bread or in the chicken salad. He actually raved about how good the salad tasted and the fresh taste of mayo in the sandwich. I’ve got couple tablespoons patiently waiting for the next use, but I think one of these nights when he can’t sleep he’ll go straight to the condiment drawer in the fridge with a big spoon.

So good it’s the best thing with sliced bread.


Veggie Option said...

How long do you reckon the mayo will keep in the fridge?

Anonymous said...

MMMmmmmm, I love homemade mayo, when it's well made. Have a friend who makes it and thinks his mayo is da bomb, although in reality it's over whipped and greasy. Blech!

I have to say, good old Hellman's Mayo is pretty tasty stuff. I used it to make a Thousand Island dressing last night that rivals what you can get at the best steakhouse.

Anonymous said...

mmm that all sounds good. I dont know if I could sneak mayonaise past Jason (he doesnt like it either) but it sounds yummy to me. When I made homemade mayonaise around the time of cooking 1, I couldnt stop eating it plain on saltine crackers so I had to throw it away :) Sadly, that's the last I made of homemade mayonaise. I'm glad it worked out.

liberal foodie said...

VO- not long; it's gone and guess who was in the corner of our kitchen with a spoon?

Anon- I've never been able to get myself to buy the hellman's stuff. I don't know why. Everytime I am in the aisle looking for something else- I always walk past mayo with a dirty look.

Mandy- I don't know. This homemade stuff is so good it might work on Jason. ;) You have much better self control on food than I do.

Meenal Mehta said...

yummy recipe ..will try it :)

valereee said...

I've kept homemade mayo for a couple of weeks, but after that I start to worry. I suspect it'll smell if it goes bad, though?

That sandwich looks to DIE for.

liberal foodie said...

Val- I've read that homemade mayo is good for 2 weeks in the fridge, maybe 3 but that 's pushing it. After that it's ready to be tossed. And of course mine didn't make it to that expiration date.

Thanks for the sandwich compliments.