There are several things that continue to intimidate me in my cooking: 1) Frying things. 2) Sauces. 3) Thickening things with cornstarch (with the exception of pudding). This morning I decided to attempt a sauce--homemade mayonnaise.
At our last trip to the library I found a cookbook that really made me excited: Fresh from the Garden. This cookbook was published before the whole locavore movement took off--in the 1990's. The cookbook is organized by season that vegetables grow and give advice for how to pick vegetables and how to grow them. It's fun reading. Most of the recipes how easy to find ingredients and for the most part aren't too intimidating in their technique. It is also not a vegetarian cookbook, which I appreciate as well. The author was raised in Europe where some of our "strange" vegetables, like kohlrabi are commonplace so there is a larger variety for some "not as sexy" vegetables like kohlrabi, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
I digress. I found in this cookbook a recipe for homemade mayo to top lightly steamed broccoli. It seemed like the perfect vegetable side for our picnic lunch for our playgroup today. If you are squeamish about raw eggs, this isn't a recipe for you. It does contain two raw eggs. I probably somewhat incorrectly tell myself that since the eggs are from free range, organic chickens, my risks of salmonella is lower than store bought eggs. Probably scientifically incorrect, but it works for me. I loved the final product--the garlic and sesame oil are wonderful flavors. I steamed the broccoli for 2 minutes before eating it, but that's just a personal preference. I think steaming takes away a little of the strong flavor of raw broccoli. I somehow managed to emulsify (break up the molecules of oil) into the eggs so it didn't separate. I think the key is adding the oil really, really slowly, even taking breaks to check on kids as you do it. I used a food processor to make this, although the recipe suggested a blender. Either will do. All in all, I must admit I am proud of myself for successfully conquering a sauce.
1/2 c olive oil
1 T sesame oil
1 extra-large egg
1 extra-large egg yolk
1 T rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
ground black pepper
dash of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 T scallions, finely minced (optional--I didn't have so I didn't use)
1 T sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
Combine the olive oil and sesame oil in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the egg, egg yolk, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne and blend at high speed for at least 30 seconds. With processor still running, add the oil mixture by droplets until the mixture begins to emulsify and thicken. Add the remaining oil in a slow steady drizzle until all has been incorporated. Take your time while doing this--take breaks, letting the processor run to check on the children, let the dog in, etc while adding the oil. The consistency of the mayonnaise should be sauce-like rather than a very thick store bought like mayonnaise. Remove from processor and stir in garlic, scallions, and sesame seeds. Adjust seasoning as needing, adding drops of lemon juice to taste if desired (I didn't do this, it tasted great as it was!). Serve drizzled over fresh veggies or use a dip for fresh veggies. (I prefer lightly steamed broccoli and raw carrots for this).