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Okay, so last week’s intended Two-fer Tasty Tuesday was a bomb, but this week’s is NOT.  I have finally found a mayo recipe that is easy, delicious, and fresh – and did I mention it is delicious?  :)

I’ve experimented with other “no fail” mayo recipes – from stick-blender recipes to “so-easy-you-could-do-it-in-your-sleep” recipes.  The stick-blender recipes were a massive failure – I think because my stick-blender isn’t new and is the better part of 15 years old, it just doesn’t do it right/well/enough.  And the SEYCDIIYS (“so-easy-you-could-do-it-in-your-sleep”) recipe?  Yeah, it tasted bad.  I think mayo “blooms” after it’s made and you refrigerate it.  It’s the only way I can describe the different flavours that appeared after I made it – and that made the final product inedible.  😐

So I’ve searched and hunted.  I’ve tried butter-mayo (a great concept, but I’m not buying a different kind of butter than what we normally use, just to make mayo), olive oil mayo (it needs another oil to mellow its flavour), and finally settled on a blended-oil mayonnaise.  The key to making any homemade mayo is this:  DRIZZLE YOUR OIL IN.  Sounds simple, but really, it can be frustratingly challenging.

My blender is a Bosch and fits on my Universal Plus mixer.  I love it.  The top to the blender has a hole in it, effectively making it like a funnel.  You can see it a little more clearly below and to the left.  If you have a food processor whose “plunger” piece (the one you use to shove food that you want to shred down in to the whirling blades without losing a finger) has a tiny hole, that’s also used for oil emulsification.  I just happen to have a blender with a nifty spot for it.

The other option you have is to use a squirt bottle – like the ketchup/mustard kinds that are $.50 apiece once the summer picnic season starts.  The real point is to drizzle the oil slowly, otherwise you’ll end up with an Exxon Valdez-type mess in your kitchen, and as Alton Brown says, “That’s just not good eats.”

Speaking of Alton Brown, he has a great tutorial on making mayo that I’ll include at the bottom of this post.  They’re worth watching just to get the idea of the science behind the stuff.  I’d be remiss in my duties as an AB-fangirl if I didn’t tell you that his recipes are the bomb and nearly fail-proof.  My one dissension from AB’s advice is this:  NEVER EVER MAKE MAYONNAISE IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR EGGS COME FROM.  AB talks about using “pasteurized eggs,” which means they’ve been pasteurized in the shell, but since we’re all about Real Food and Unadulterated Food here, I’m not going to recommend those.  I would never, ever make mayo with store-bought eggs.  Ever.  I’ve had salmonella poisoning and I never want to have it again.  Know where your eggs come from, wash them before sticking them in the fridge, and make sure they are the freshest eggs around.  These are cornerstone rules for making homemade mayo.

My recipe is divergent from AB’s in a few things:  I omit his dry mustard (see above, where I explain my “blooming” theory – dried mustard in mayo = a very strong mustard spread in 24 hours) and I don’t use his corn oil (see above for “Real Food” comment).  I did use a blend of coconut oil and olive oil, and it turned out spoon-lickin’-good.  I prefer an unflavoured/unscented coconut oil for this application – I always have some of Tropical Traditions’ Expeller Pressed CO on hand for stuff like this.  As far as an olive oil, make sure it’s extra-virgin.

Now that I’ve got my explanations and disclaimers out of the way, here’s the actual recipe.  This will make just over a pint of mayonnaise – about a pint and a quarter.  I find it easiest to assemble all of my ingredients first and then begin the mixing process.  :)

Sue’s Homemade Mayonnaise
  • 2 whole, fresh eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t. sea salt (fine grind, I like Real Salt)
  • ½ t. sugar
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ¾ c. TOTAL olive oil & expeller-pressed coconut oil (equal portions of each)

In your blender, toss your eggs (whites included!), the salt, sugar, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Whirl on highest power for 30 seconds or so.

In a gentle, slow stream, with the blender (or food processor) on high, begin adding your oil combination.  You’ll hear the blender chug differently as the oil begins the emulsification – but keep going until all the oil is added.  Whirl it for about 30 seconds after the last bit of oil is incorporated and then scoop it in to a jar.  The flavour should be light, slightly lemon-y, and altogether creamy.

Alton says that the acids allow this to “proof” on the counter for up to 12 hours – I let mine sit for no more than 3-4 hours.  I think the heat of Arizona is stronger than the heat of Atlanta, where he is.  😉  Cap it up and stick it in the fridge.  Most people say to use it within 7-10 days, but I can’t find a reason why it wouldn’t be good past then, assuming optimum refrigeration is followed.  The eggs don’t spoil in the fridge, the salt, sugar, and acids won’t spoil, and the oils would still be good.  But follow your own best judgment – never eat something that smells “off” or you find questionable.

My final product looks like this (the mayo has a yellow tinge because the farm-fresh eggs have bright orange yolks and aren’t pale like factory-farmed eggs):

~~~~~~~

And, because I just can’t stop now – here is my homemade ranch dressing recipe.  The seasoning is kept in a jar and then when mixing it to make salad dressing, I add in 2 T. of dried whole milk.  I love that this has no MSG in it and that it tastes SO good.  Brendan declares it to be as good as store-bought ranch dressing; I love that I know how it’s made.

MSG-free Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 4 T. onion powder (granules)
  • 7 t. dried parsley
  • 4 t. sea salt (I like Real Salt)
  • 1 t. garlic powder (granules)

Mix these ingredients in a jar and cap it tightly.  To make ranch dressing, use 2 T. mix, 2 T. powdered whole milk (for a richer flavour), 1 c. of mayo (hey! you just made some!), and 1 c. of milk or buttermilk.  Mix all together well (I use my stick blender) and refrigerate at least 3 hours for optimum flavour-blending.

The spice blend is cheap (important as food prices are rising), is made with spices in my food storage, tastes really good, and is usable in dips as well as dressing (just blend with 2 T. of the mix with 2 T. of dried whole milk and 2 c. of sour cream).  It takes a remarkably small amount of cupboard space, too.  :)

As promised, here are the AB videos on making mayonnaise – enjoy your newfound culinary skillz!  :)

This week was set to be a two-fer Tasty Tuesday, but thanks to what I consider a fail (with a side of epic), the second recipe is on hold.  What was scheduled to be lemon curd AND english muffins is now just lemon curd, because, darnit, the english muffin recipe was a bomb.  It was more like a cornmeal-baked biscuit than something that was crunchy and had delightful little nooks & crannies to hold butter and lemon curd simultaneously.  😛  Brendan likes them, but blech.  I won’t touch them.  Happily, I’ve found another recipe for english muffins that holds a decent amount of promise, so that will go on next week’s schedule.

On the up-side, this lemon curd recipe comes from Alton Brown and it is AMAZING.  A friend of mine gave me a huge box of citrus – one of the benefits of living in Arizona is that everyone has citrus trees and nearly everyone gets tired of picking lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits.  As one without said citrus trees and plenty of opportunity to figure out what to DO with all of those delightful things, I am pleased to accept box after box of free fruit.  :)  And so my experimenting began.

I juiced and zested the better part of 20-25# of lemons this past week and learned several things:  1)  Lemon zest does better when stored in the freezer.  The oils that make it so special seem to evaporate when set out to dry, so freezing it seems to be the next best thing.  2)  Lemon oil and juice (specifically) eats through latex gloves.  It’s a good thing I have lots of these for cleaning and kitchen work, because I got about 10 lemons done with one pair of gloves when the thumb would rip out from the citrus’ acidity.  3)  A well-made lemon curd is one of the most divine things ever, especially on toast.  Mark wants me to fill a pie with the stuff, but right now, we’re shmearing it all over toast.  4)  All of those lemons produce about 2.5 quarts of lemon juice, which is more than enough for my needs in the course of a year.  If you make fresh lemonade, you’ll go through that amount quickly, but we stick to water almost exclusively here as the beverage of choice, so it will last quite a while.

I was surprised to find butter as a key ingredient in lemon curd – I never would have guessed this to be the case.  We’re not afraid of butter here, and when I thought about it, it made sense.  If you want a full creamy mouth-feel to a finished product, fat is the best way to achieve that.  Melting and slowly incorporating butter is a logical step in the process.

Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 c. of sugar (for lemons – for oranges, drop to ½ c. of sugar)
  • 4 large lemons, zested and juiced (1/3 c. of juice is your goal)
  • ½ c. butter, cut in large pats & chilled

Start a pot of water for the bottom part of your double-boiler on high heat, lowering to medium heat once the water boils.  In the meantime, separate your eggs and combine the yolks with the sugar in a large metal bowl – one that is suitable to use in a double-boiler fashion.  Whisk the mixture until well-combined and then add in the lemon zest and juice.  Whisk further and set whisk aside.  Place bowl over simmering water on stove and use a (rubber/silicone) spatula to stir regularly.  You’ll feel the sugar crystals dissolve and see some thickening take place – as the mixture thickens, stir consistently, making sure you’re pulling up from the bottom of the pan to the top with your spatula.

When the mixture hits “pudding thickness” in the pan (this took me about 15-20 min of cooking), remove it from heat.  It will easily coat the back of a spoon at this point.  Putting one pat of butter in at a time, stir until the butter is fully melted, and then add the next pat of butter.  Based on the rate of cooling of your pan, the last pat or two of butter will be more stubborn about melting and being incorporated; that’s how you know it’s almost done.  When tasting it at this point, you should have an overwhelming taste of lemon, a curve of sweetness, and a slight pinch of saltiness (from the butter), as well as a creamy mouth-feel from the butterfat.  When all the butter is incorporated, bottle your final product and allow it to cool completely before refrigerating.  Your lemon curd will last two-three weeks in the fridge, assuming you can leave it in the fridge and not eat it with a spoon, with yogurt, on toast or english muffins, top pancakes, etc., etc., etc.

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