Thursday, May 10, 2007

Magical Mayo

Oh my.

Don't let anyone tell you miracles don't happen. You can see for your own sweet selves, right over here, photographic evidence of the Miracle du jour. Coffee Mates, I present to you, homemade mayonnaise, in all its glory and -- this is the important part -- apparently foolproof and virtually instantaneous.

Whew! Those are huge claims but I can back them up.

It all began with a couple of idle comments in morning posts on a mailing list of which I'm a member. The virtues of homemade mayo, compared to commercial. My immediate reaction was a curled lip and genteel snort. Yeah, right. I've tried the homemade version. You know -- the one where you have to dribble the oil VERY SLOWLY into the mix while maintaining your beating speed with wire whisk or mixer or blender or whatever. And I always fall short in the patience department and start dribbling the oil too fast. The recommended speed is one drop at a time at first. I am congenitally incapable of that speed of dribble. It's too much like the dreaded Chinese Water Torture. Consequently, I always end up with a hopelessly runny mass of oily substance I can only consign to the garbage can because it is not fit for consumption or even proper last rites.

Given that background experience, I really don't know why I started Googling homemade mayo, but I did. And ran across a most remarkable concept!

Do any of you own that under-appreciated little kitchen gizmo often referred to as a stick blender? I have an old Rival brand that sits by its lonely self on the shelf because I keep forgetting I have it. Today I was humbly grateful for its presence.

Here's the deal: you take a small jar -- a canning jar or a clean, empty commercial mayo jar, for instance -- and you grab your stick blender. For the record, my "jar" was a 4-cup plastic Ziploc container with a screw-top lid. What follows is a basic small recipe. I wouldn't make more than this at a time, my own self, because I think the homemade mayo has a much shorter shelf life than the commercial. Besides, with all the flavor variations possible, one doesn't want to commit oneself to a single flavor experience.

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. A refrigerated egg can be quickly warmed by immersing in hot tap water for a few minutes. You can use dry mustard or wet mustard. Your call. Fresh or dried herbs are welcome. Your imagination is in charge here. Different spices for different intended uses -- one sort of mayo for veggies, another for fish, still another for burgers. You get the idea.

Anyhoo, the very BASIC recipe goes like this: in the "jar" put one egg, 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup oil. As far as the oil is concerned, some say do NOT use extra virgin olive oil, others insist that it's great, although you might want to mix it half-and-half with a more neutral-flavored vegetable oil. Whatever quivers your taste buds.

Now ... take your stick blender and place it vertically in the jar, right at the bottom. Turn it on. This is the amazing part. Almost immediately you will see the ingredients begin to blend together in exactly the right consistency, that glorious globby goodness billowing out like a benign cloud. Slowly bring the stick blender up, moving it around to get all the oil mixed in. OHMYSTARSANDGARTERS! In less than a minute -- YES! I'm not making this up! -- you will have perfect mayo. Perfect, I tell you. Ready to spread.

I do not believe I am ever going to buy commercial mayo again.

If you go here, you will be treated to an excellent photographic tutorial of the above method -- except he doesn't put the oil in all at once. (Be sure to read all the comments because they contain valuable information about food safety, among other things.) Then, click on this link for good ideas about all the different flavors you can add to your magical mayo. And don't forget to note how you can turn it into fantastic sauces for veggies or meats -- another advantage of doing small batches. Note also, if you are wary of mayo calories, you can alleviate the problem by mixing the mayo half-and-half with plain yogurt.

Now, if you will kindly excuse me, I have to make some bread so I'll have something on which I can spread my wonderful mayo. Bliss. Oh bliss.


Stephanie said...

Yes, but does it taste like Hellman's?

John Bailey said...

I thought everyone knew this, Dee. ;-) Oh, and it doesn't taste like Hellman's.

Dee said...

Actually, Steph, you can make it taste like anything you want. (grin) John, are you saying you've always known about the stick blender method? Wow! Hunny, it was your DUTY to tell those of us who couldn't dribble slow enough!

bb said...

Mercy I don't own a stick blender. :-)

I suppose you already taught how to make mustard didn't you?

When does the Coffeebean Cafe open?

Dee said...

Awwww, Bonnie. Don't get me started. Mustard? Sheesh. I think I'm willing to stick with store-bought at this point. (smile)

Mage said...

So good to see you, and so good to see you with something I dearly love....mayo. Oh, that looks like so much fun. Imagine, fresh mayo in homemade potato salad. See the fresh mayo dribbling from an artichoke leaf. My mouth trembles. Unfortunatley, I am doing Weight Watchers right now. Double Darn it.