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DIY Kitchen: mayonnaise

2012 June 25

I’m trying to leave the house to get to the coffee shop to do some work. Dan and the kids are listening to Guns and Roses, prepping for a morning of house cleaning.

“Wait mom,” Col calls out to me, stalling, “can I marry you someday? Because you’re so nice, except when you’re meeeeeean.”

I shake my head at this blue eyed boy, his silk-white hair filled with gritty stashes of river sand.

“Oh. Because you’re already married to Daddy and because you’re too big?”

“Right.”

“Turn on the sucker hose!” Rosie shouts over Axl Rose crooning: evvvvvvvery rose has its thorn, crouched in her room with a vacuum attachment in her hand.

“Hey – this song is about you, Rose!” Dan calls back. Dan and I lift knowing eyebrows at each other.

Rose, twirling in the “butterfly twirly halter dress” that Chi An, a 6512 reader from SF, made for her. The gorgeousness! The kindness! Rose absolutely loves it. Also, thanks to Rachel from Southern Cali for the bay leaves!

The baby rat (that we’re babysitting) escaped sometime yesterday, slithering through the slats of its own cage and laughing all the way to the prison-break survivors group. Col’s been fashioning rat traps, which he admits are “more helpful for knowing that Ratty Jr. is still around than actually catching her.” (Which reminds me of how yesterday he told me, proudly: “I’m getting the hang of whistling, I just can’t do it yet.”

This is trap # 1 of 3. They were all hard to photograph. That’s pricy organic cheddar.

There are 8 fires burning in Colorado, 2 of them are within 30 miles of us, blowing smoke into our yards and leaving ash on our cars. One is in Mancos, the town I moved to 17 years ago when I first came to Southern Colorado. I was newly sprung from college, working for the Forest Service, blowing my mind over the San Juan forest, and realizing that I wanted to spend my life in this area. Seventeen years ago there wasn’t much in the way of jobs or young people in Mancos, so when my summer job ended I moved 30 miles away to Durango. (I was actually in a Durango coffee shop perusing the housing and employment classifieds when I met Dan – thank god there was no internet then or I would have been looking online!). Mancos has changed a lot in the past 17 years (hello coffee shops and organic farms!) My friend Sarah Allen (who owns Painted Turtle Studio in Mancos) took these breathtakingly, eerily, frighteningly gorgeous pictures of the Mancos fire. We are sending cool love to all our Mancos friends and all the firefighters.

It’s crazy hot and dry here in the Southwest. Last night we sat outside with our downstairs neighbors—Col and Rose high off imbibing the post-sunset night—when someone mentioned the possibility of rain in the forecast. We all went cartoonishly blank, trying to recall what that actually is. That stuff that falls from the sky in a cool liquid.

No rain yet, but oh…wait, were you here for the mayonnaise recipe? Right. Here it is:

My first taste of homemade mayonnaise, so deeply flavorful, caused me to rethink my own existence for a couple of days. Perhaps it’s the light garlic notes; the tangy hints of lemon; the way the whisking of oil, egg yolk and water into an emulsion right before your eyes confers upon you the status: kitchen chemist. You may have thought mayo was something to slide discreetly between bread and a slice of cheese, rather than the inspiration and vehicle for consumption of entire vegetable kingdoms. This homemade mayo, so insanely delicious (I wonder how many posts you find if you searched “insanely delicious” on this blog), stands alone as dip for raw veggies, salad dressing, and topping for steamed vegetables.

If you’re still leery of fat, due to 1980’s era marketing, extra virgin olive oil has much to recommend it. Studies show olive oil is protective to the heart, boosts cognitive function, lowers inflammatory markers in the blood, lowers insulin levels and aids in calcium absorption.

I’ve used food processors and blenders to make mayonnaise, the greasy cleaning of which feels like some sort of DIY-er’s punishment. This method, using just a hand-powered whisk, is infallible, quick, and doesn’t produce the bitterness that comes from the polyphenols (thought to be cancer-fighters) in the olive oil being broken by the machine blades. Enjoy.

Mayonnaise: adapted from Alana Chernilla’s gorgeous and indispensable book The Homemade Pantry

Makes: 1 cup

Time: ten minutes

Store: in fridge for 2 weeks

1 large room temperature (this is important) egg yolk (freeze the egg whites to use later in baking – and if there were ever a time to use local, organic, fresh eggs, this would be it).

1 – 2 TBSP lemon juice or rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced fine, or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp water

1 tsp salt

(optional) 1 tsp mustard

  1. Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use a spoon to drip a few drops of olive oil into the egg yolk and whisk vigorously. Add a few more drops and whisk again. Do this until you’ve used about 1/4 cup of the olive oil and you have a thick, yellow, emulsified sauce in the mixing bowl.
  3. Pour larger volumes of olive oil in, still whisking, until olive oil is gone.
  4. Whisk in lemon juice, salt, garlic and mustard (optional). Adjust lemon and salt to your tastes. The fresh garlic will mellow over a few days.

Pre-measuring makes everything even easier. Also, I bet you have all of these ingredients already.

No one’s scared of fat, right? Fat-phobia was so 80’s. Whisking is a good job for a kiddo.

Absolute, undeniable beauty. 

Now you need the avocado-mayo dressing recipe, right?

….

*also: I can’t believe the pee-fertilizer idea hasn’t gone totally viral. The kids are now requesting to pee in jars, and like to shout across the garden to me “WHICH PLANT DID YOU PUT THE PEE ON?”  My zucchini plants have blown up in the past week. Just saying.

*also #2: Serendipitously, we received a visit from Steve Ilg, local yogini, who taught Col the correct and safe way to do a headstand. No more ER trips for us!
Are you getting rain? Can you tell me, gently, what that is like?

Related posts:

One Small Change
I am made of books (and trillions of microorganisms)
Homestead happenings: springy


51 Responses leave one →
  1. June 25, 2012

    homemade mayo is the best! in my opinion, best for a blt and a curried egg salad sandwich. and aioli with homemade french fries…yum!

  2. June 25, 2012

    Oh, that two edged sword of breathtaking beauty and fiery inferno. It does seem like a cruel ironic joke from the universe, all the rain we’re getting here in Maine (not to mention Florida). Sending good vibes for downpours your way…may you pace the house all night checking (and re-checking) to make sure all the windows are closed (so that I can get some sleep–at least I don’t have a sunroof anymore…running outside in my jammies to close it kinda negated any daytime fun it provided). And mayonnaise does seem like too much work, esp when I’m the only one who eats it. But I wonder if I could sneak that dressing past the mayo-haters in my house…

  3. June 25, 2012

    Oh, that two edged sword of breathtaking beauty and fiery inferno. It does seem like a cruel ironic joke from the universe, all the rain we’re getting here in Maine (not to mention Florida). Sending good vibes for downpours your way…may you pace the house all night checking (and re-checking) to make sure all the windows are closed (so that I can get some sleep–at least I don’t have a sunroof anymore…running outside in my jammies to close it kinda negated any daytime fun it provided). And mayonnaise does seem like too much work, esp when I’m the only one who eats it. But I wonder if I could sneak that dressing past the mayo-haters in my house…

  4. June 25, 2012

    We live in Canon City here in CO where it has been hot and very dry too. Yesterday evening when we would normally be trying to put the kids in bed it began to sprinkle so the kids and I ran out and began our “we have missed this magical stuff” dance. It rained harder for all of 8 mins but in those eight minutes the earth signed and we laughed. Wishful thoughts of rain for you too. We all need it here in Colorado.

  5. June 25, 2012

    We live in Canon City here in CO where it has been hot and very dry too. Yesterday evening when we would normally be trying to put the kids in bed it began to sprinkle so the kids and I ran out and began our “we have missed this magical stuff” dance. It rained harder for all of 8 mins but in those eight minutes the earth signed and we laughed. Wishful thoughts of rain for you too. We all need it here in Colorado.

  6. Kathy permalink
    June 25, 2012

    I sat on my Michigan deck last night talking with Trish in Marvel, when I felt three or four liquid drops and heard as many landing elsewhere. We stopped talking because neighbors were shooting off BIG rockets. The ban for fireworks is no longer. They all have no idea what little it takes to start a fire. That’s all we received last night.
    But the real thing is sometimes hot, sometimes cold; sometimes it stings, and other times it washes. Most of the time it makes everything smell new like dark dirt and clean grass. Love it. Praying for rain in Durango and her neighbors!

  7. Kathy permalink
    June 25, 2012

    I sat on my Michigan deck last night talking with Trish in Marvel, when I felt three or four liquid drops and heard as many landing elsewhere. We stopped talking because neighbors were shooting off BIG rockets. The ban for fireworks is no longer. They all have no idea what little it takes to start a fire. That’s all we received last night.
    But the real thing is sometimes hot, sometimes cold; sometimes it stings, and other times it washes. Most of the time it makes everything smell new like dark dirt and clean grass. Love it. Praying for rain in Durango and her neighbors!

  8. June 25, 2012

    These southwest wildfires break my heart. Last year there was a big one in New Mexico around this time (this year, too, I know). I wrote some of my worry away (http://wp.me/p1sA7y-1E). That’s a piece I needed to revise anyway, but I just wish the impetus wasn’t more fires. Wishing you generous rains and calm winds in the San Juans.

  9. June 25, 2012

    These southwest wildfires break my heart. Last year there was a big one in New Mexico around this time (this year, too, I know). I wrote some of my worry away (http://wp.me/p1sA7y-1E). That’s a piece I needed to revise anyway, but I just wish the impetus wasn’t more fires. Wishing you generous rains and calm winds in the San Juans.

  10. DonnaMae* permalink
    June 25, 2012

    We have had torrential downpours for the last 5 days in Florida.

    It is wet, cloudy, and hot chocolatey.

    I wish this tropical storm was named Donna, so it would head to Colorado to wet my burning heart.

  11. DonnaMae* permalink
    June 25, 2012

    We have had torrential downpours for the last 5 days in Florida.

    It is wet, cloudy, and hot chocolatey.

    I wish this tropical storm was named Donna, so it would head to Colorado to wet my burning heart.

  12. Jamie permalink
    June 25, 2012

    No rain here. Well, it sprinkled and teased last night, but nothing to write home about. I sit here every day sighing and cursing at the 100+ temps and watching the whole state go up in flames. The fire here is messing with my hubby’s job and pay, so that is also fairly depressing.
    On the other hand, Rose is a very lucky girl! I LOVE her dress and would proudly it if it came in my size :)

  13. Jamie permalink
    June 25, 2012

    No rain here. Well, it sprinkled and teased last night, but nothing to write home about. I sit here every day sighing and cursing at the 100+ temps and watching the whole state go up in flames. The fire here is messing with my hubby’s job and pay, so that is also fairly depressing.
    On the other hand, Rose is a very lucky girl! I LOVE her dress and would proudly it if it came in my size :)

  14. June 25, 2012

    Only three posts pop up under “insanely delicious”! My guess is that your crafty use of metaphor lowered the count. We get rain here in the evening and I’m really sorry but it’s wonderful. Go to the river at 4pm, ride home under threat of clouds, make dinner to the sound of little drops. Not enough to soak the garden or anything, but a friendly visit for sure. I suppose there are some seeds from some sort of San Juan non-deciduous trees that need fire to do their thing? I hope so, nice to know there is some benefit to the burning. xoxo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 26, 2012

      Only 3? Okay, now I feel emboldened to throw some more “insanely deliciouses” out there. Enjoy those cloud things (whatever those are).

  15. June 25, 2012

    Only three posts pop up under “insanely delicious”! My guess is that your crafty use of metaphor lowered the count. We get rain here in the evening and I’m really sorry but it’s wonderful. Go to the river at 4pm, ride home under threat of clouds, make dinner to the sound of little drops. Not enough to soak the garden or anything, but a friendly visit for sure. I suppose there are some seeds from some sort of San Juan non-deciduous trees that need fire to do their thing? I hope so, nice to know there is some benefit to the burning. xoxo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 26, 2012

      Only 3? Okay, now I feel emboldened to throw some more “insanely deliciouses” out there. Enjoy those cloud things (whatever those are).

  16. June 25, 2012

    The fire photos gave me chills. Haunting and gorgeous. It’s smokey down here, too. And so so dry. Bleh. Bring on the rain dancing!

  17. June 25, 2012

    The fire photos gave me chills. Haunting and gorgeous. It’s smokey down here, too. And so so dry. Bleh. Bring on the rain dancing!

  18. June 25, 2012

    Nothing like Florida, I’m sure, but here in Seattle we had a monsoon that lit up Facebook on Saturday afternoon. You know its got to be raining pretty darn hard in Seattle for people to take videos and post them on “The Facebook”. We call the month of June “Junuary” because it is so very much like January. *sigh* As usual, my eyes feasted on your family life. Sending love and rain your way.

  19. June 25, 2012

    Nothing like Florida, I’m sure, but here in Seattle we had a monsoon that lit up Facebook on Saturday afternoon. You know its got to be raining pretty darn hard in Seattle for people to take videos and post them on “The Facebook”. We call the month of June “Junuary” because it is so very much like January. *sigh* As usual, my eyes feasted on your family life. Sending love and rain your way.

  20. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2012

    You Most Precious And Vital Dharma Sista Of My Beloved (and now burning) San Juan’s…
    Yet another scintillating entry in that adorabably sequestered prose of thine…in fact? Feeble ilg gleefully forgives thee for calling me a girl in public*! Let’s take the clans camping sometime soon before all the precious forests burn away!
    Head and heart endlessly bowed,
    Dewa’s Daddy

    *a yogini is a female Practitioner of yoga. A yogi is a male Practitioner of yoga. A yogin refers to either a male or female Practitioner of yoga.

    • June 25, 2012

      Sorry, that was me above….these iPads are the literary work of the devil!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 25, 2012

      Oh shit! Glad you are yogi enough to take being called a girl. xo

      • June 26, 2012

        no worries, ilg has been called far worse things than a girl! head bowed, ilg

  21. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2012

    You Most Precious And Vital Dharma Sista Of My Beloved (and now burning) San Juan’s…
    Yet another scintillating entry in that adorabably sequestered prose of thine…in fact? Feeble ilg gleefully forgives thee for calling me a girl in public*! Let’s take the clans camping sometime soon before all the precious forests burn away!
    Head and heart endlessly bowed,
    Dewa’s Daddy

    *a yogini is a female Practitioner of yoga. A yogi is a male Practitioner of yoga. A yogin refers to either a male or female Practitioner of yoga.

    • June 25, 2012

      Sorry, that was me above….these iPads are the literary work of the devil!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 25, 2012

      Oh shit! Glad you are yogi enough to take being called a girl. xo

      • June 26, 2012

        no worries, ilg has been called far worse things than a girl! head bowed, ilg

  22. June 25, 2012

    yes on the rain. tons. I wish I could bottle it up along with a couple of cool alaska beach rocks for Col & send it your way. the pee things is awesome & gets extra points for being funny. yes, my sense of humor is still 12. please on the avocado dressing. stay safe. i’ve been thinking of you….
    ~s

  23. June 25, 2012

    yes on the rain. tons. I wish I could bottle it up along with a couple of cool alaska beach rocks for Col & send it your way. the pee things is awesome & gets extra points for being funny. yes, my sense of humor is still 12. please on the avocado dressing. stay safe. i’ve been thinking of you….
    ~s

  24. katy permalink
    June 25, 2012

    Only three “insanely delicious” posts?! How can this be?
    My husband pees on the compost pile whenever privacy allows, figuring it adds nitrogen and by the time it gets to the plants it’s all clean, right? I myself am afraid to squat near the pile, as rats live in the vicinity and frequent the pile for snacks. They don’t freak me out fully clothed (me, not the rats, clothed rats would freak anyone out), but I’m certain they would if my pants were down. Peeing in a jar requires a level of finesse and control that I’ve not yet achieved. I need lessons from your kids.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 25, 2012

      Katy, Sad to say that I have not yet achieved the finesse and control required to pee in a jar, but I keep practicing.

  25. katy permalink
    June 25, 2012

    Only three “insanely delicious” posts?! How can this be?
    My husband pees on the compost pile whenever privacy allows, figuring it adds nitrogen and by the time it gets to the plants it’s all clean, right? I myself am afraid to squat near the pile, as rats live in the vicinity and frequent the pile for snacks. They don’t freak me out fully clothed (me, not the rats, clothed rats would freak anyone out), but I’m certain they would if my pants were down. Peeing in a jar requires a level of finesse and control that I’ve not yet achieved. I need lessons from your kids.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 25, 2012

      Katy, Sad to say that I have not yet achieved the finesse and control required to pee in a jar, but I keep practicing.

  26. Staci permalink
    June 25, 2012

    We had some real, live downpours the other day here in Olympia, WA. Lots of mud and wet feet and wondering if it’s better to stay inside or get wet again. But at least I haven’t had to set up irrigation yet! I’m going to start putting pee on my struggling onions…

  27. Staci permalink
    June 25, 2012

    We had some real, live downpours the other day here in Olympia, WA. Lots of mud and wet feet and wondering if it’s better to stay inside or get wet again. But at least I haven’t had to set up irrigation yet! I’m going to start putting pee on my struggling onions…

  28. ellen884 permalink
    June 26, 2012

    We’re in Connecticut now where it had been raining deliciously. Wish we could send it west. Rosie looks particularly gorgeous in the twirly dress.

  29. ellen884 permalink
    June 26, 2012

    We’re in Connecticut now where it had been raining deliciously. Wish we could send it west. Rosie looks particularly gorgeous in the twirly dress.

  30. June 26, 2012

    I can’t even comment on any other part of the post — I’m stunned at the fire pictures. It reminds me of living in Montana with the Red Lodge fire that came to be know as The Willie Fire (since Willie Nelson was playing the fairgrounds when a forest fire broke out). I’m keeping my thoughts on those in the heat, fighting the fire in trees and those who live so close. I’ll go ahead and send so much of the rain we’ve had for days down there.

  31. June 26, 2012

    I can’t even comment on any other part of the post — I’m stunned at the fire pictures. It reminds me of living in Montana with the Red Lodge fire that came to be know as The Willie Fire (since Willie Nelson was playing the fairgrounds when a forest fire broke out). I’m keeping my thoughts on those in the heat, fighting the fire in trees and those who live so close. I’ll go ahead and send so much of the rain we’ve had for days down there.

  32. June 27, 2012

    have i ever mentioned how much i love your writing! all of it. i can’t believe those fires when here we have rain rain rain. it is amazing how powerful mother nature is. and as for that homemade mayo…i know i love it but you are absolutely right…sometimes it is just so hard to just make it! xo.

  33. June 27, 2012

    have i ever mentioned how much i love your writing! all of it. i can’t believe those fires when here we have rain rain rain. it is amazing how powerful mother nature is. and as for that homemade mayo…i know i love it but you are absolutely right…sometimes it is just so hard to just make it! xo.

  34. July 17, 2012

    yum. and wow. and i can’t believe pee hasn’t gone viral either. oh well. :)

  35. July 17, 2012

    yum. and wow. and i can’t believe pee hasn’t gone viral either. oh well. :)

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