DIY Kitchen: mayonnaise
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?”
“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
- Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Pour larger volumes of olive oil in, still whisking, until olive oil is gone.
- 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.