Mayonnaise

I’m afraid I am back to my father’s phrase: “Never believe anything you hear and only half of what you read.” If you haven’t noticed, the people at POM pomegranate juice company have taken out full page adds in major newspapers and online quoting (out of context, of course) the administrative law judge that ruled AGAINST them in the FTC vs. POM case. That case claimed that they were misleading in their claims about the health benefits of their product. So, what did they do: they continued the claims. The selected passages that they correctly quoted, when put in context, only clarify the overwhelming evidence that there is NO scientific evidence that backs their claims. Marion Nestle puts the quotes in context today in her column if you are interested in reading the whole truth.

I agree with Marion’s conclusion. “Pomegranate juice is a juice…” It has qualities just like any other juice but it alone will not cure any disease. If you have erectile dysfunction you need either psychological or medical help, not juice.

More picnic stuff: For a very long time I have been looking at the junk in our refrigerator and cupboard that we eat from time to time and wonder why we don’t make ______ ourselves. I already bake bread from time to time. What about, crackers, chips, condiments…? I have eliminated crackers and chips since they are an occasional treat and most likely more trouble than they are worth. Condiments are another story. I have read for years about chefs making their own ketchup (or is it catsup?), mustard and mayo so I have given it a try. Today is my mayonnaise.

There are many variations on mayonnaise. According to Russ Parsons in “How To Read A French Fry”, the most important aspect of mayonnaise is the egg yolk which acts as an emulsifier, something that binds to both oil and water and creates a suspension that can hold flavor. The ratio is relatively unimportant as long as there is enough oil to make it thick but not too much that the binding breaks down. According to Russ, in the lab the ratio can be 98% oil, but I wouldn’t try this at home.

For any study of sauce, Julia is always the first stop. This recipe does not resemble hers hardly at all but there are two tips that I strongly suggest that you do. The first is that warming your bowl with hot water and then drying it before you start is a good idea. The other is when you pour the oil you watch the oil, not the mixture. This will make complete sense when you attempt this. I say attempt, but this is really easy and you will wonder why you haven’t been making your own all along.

Ingredients

  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Vegetable, Corn or Safflower Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Boiling Water
  • Pepper

Tools

  • Measuring Cup
  • Medium Mixing Bowl
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Small Storage Container
  1. Set your eggs out to come to room temperature.
  2. In the small bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon and salt.
  3. Measure the oil (I used vegetable because I had a fresh one) in a cup and stir in the olive oil. You don’t need to add olive oil but I like a tiny little bit of the taste. If you make this with all olive oil you will NOT like the taste, trust me.
  4. Warm your mixing bowl with water and then dry.
  5. Separate yolks and put in medium mixing bowl and whisk for a minute or so.
  6. Add half of the vinegar mixture and whisk in.
  7. Start to add the oil, a drop or two at a time, continually whisking, vigorously at first.
  8. Once it appears that you have an emulsion (nice, even consistency) add the oil in a steady, thin stream (watching the oil). You don’t need to be as vigorous with the whisk but keep going.
  9. Once you have added all of the oil, add the rest of the vinegar mixture, water, then the mustard.
  10. Taste for salt and add a little more if needed and a twist of freshly ground pepper.
  11. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.
There are several optional additions to spice up your mayo. I would add them at the end. The amount will depend on your taste and the strength of the ingredient. Among them are: garlic, tarragon, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.
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