Sunday, April 12, 2009

How To Use Homemade Mayonnaise

The chicken salad (above) and the mayonnaise that makes it delicious (right)>

Mother Smith has just spent a little time in the kitchen (after a day playing in dirt) and we have a delightful din-din for you.

How about a nice chicken/curry/artichoke salad on a bed of spicy rice and lettuce, topped with Bulgarian white cheese*, rosemary and tomato slivers and punctuated with a smooth tomato/basil soup? And the topper: the salad is tied together with a homemade dill/chive mayonnaise, the base recipe furnished by my friend Steve Hartman, who owns On the Rise Bakery in Roanoke and cooks like an Iron Chef contestant (I mention a "base" recipe because using a recipe is plagiarism, so I add my own touch and call it "research").

The mayo, exotic as it sounds to those who've never made it, is truly easy. Here's how:
  • Toss one whole egg and a yolk,
  • 1 1/8 cups of Canola oil (don't use olive oil, healthy as it is, because it doesn't mix well),
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown mustard,
  • A tablespoon of lemon juice (or if you're creative, lime juice),
  • 2 teaspoons of chives (fresh or 1 teaspoons dried),
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds (or a teaspoon of fresh dill),
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper.
Put everything except the oil into your blender cup, replace the lid, turn the blender on medium and start drizzling in the oil. It is absolutely crucial that the oil be drizzled and not poured. If your blender has one or more of those tiny drizzle holes in the top, more the better.

Blend the whole thing for about a minute and a half and it's mayo. Dip your finger in and slurp it.

The chicken salad is equally easy. Dice about 16 ounces of chicken (I prefer mixed pieces because white has texture, brown has taste) and add:
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder,
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts,
  • 10 quartered grapes (get Buelah to peel them),
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery,
  • 1/2-2/3 can artichoke hearts, halved;
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion,
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper,
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt;
  • Fold in mayonnaise to taste, starting with 1/2 cup.

* This is what Feta cheese aspires to be when it grows up and it is simply smashing. Get it at the Mediterranean food store in Grandin Village, across the street from the old (and unappetizing) Mick or Mack.

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