As you may have already noticed, my driving mantra behind cooking is “ingredients, ingredients, ingredients!” It is impossible to make delicious food without fresh, flavorful and unadulterated (unprocessed without chemical and artificial additives) food. Really and truly impossible. Sure, a shot of high fructose corn syrup – HIGHLY PROCESSED SUGAR – makes anything sweeter but it masks the flavors and originality of the true stars: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh herbs, fresh dairy and other essential foods. This is why I do my best to tell you where I get each ingredient, in the hopes of familiarizing you with the sorts of producers and places you can keep an eye out for in your own neighborhood.
In this post you will find:
- Recipe and cooking demo for easy Homemade Mayonnaise;
- Recipe for Curried Garlic Aioli (a fancy name for flavored mayonnaise);
- Recipe for Steamed Green Beans with Curried Garlic Aioli and Toasted Walnuts;
- Recipe for Herbed Rutabaga Wedges, for dipping
This brings me to mayonnaise, the #1 selling condiment in the U.S. The top brand, Hellman’s, garners over $4 million a year. That whopping figure doesn’t even take into consideration the five other brands that together generate over $1.258 billion in annual revenue.* Can you imagine how many eggs, not to mention artificial flavors and preservatives, are needed to fill this demand? At least 65 billion eggs are produced a year by Confine Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which yes, means confined animals without air, grass, bugs, and other qualities that make for nutritious eggs. I bet a good percentage of these go into our store-bought mayonnaise.
I have never liked mayonnaise. Repeat, I have never like mayonnaise. Until I realized that the sauce my mother made at home was also mayonnaise. In my mind, mayonnaise was the jar that every family had in their refrigerator and lathered on sandwiches. It always tasted disgusting and pasty to me. When I discovered the wonder that is homemade mayonnaise, my world exploded with possibilities. Not only is this the easiest, I repeat again, the easiest recipe in the world; it’s delicious! The New York Times recently concurred, with a great article on easy homemade mayonnaise: “Mayonnaise: Oil, Egg and a Drop of Magic.”
As part of Bobby’s class for his Masters of Business, I helped his work group put together a mock Ted Talk film discussing the waste generated in industrial food packaging and processing. The focus of the film is mayonnaise, and I enter at the end with a short cooking segment to show you an easy recipe for homemade recipe – no fancy ingredients or equipment needed! (Warning: film is off-the-cuff and raw!)
- Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
- Extra virgin olive oil – 1/2 cup
- Egg yolk – 1 farm fresh egg yolk, separated from the egg whites
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeeze
- Follow cooking demo below, and also check out the New York Times article Mayonnaise: Oil, Egg and a Drop of Magic. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week, though it won’t last that long.
Visit your farmers market or farm stand for fresh eggs, or scrutinize the label at the grocery store. Make sure it says: no antibiotics or hormones, cage-free (thought this is always dubious), free-range (again dubious, but better than no claim!), organic (again, dubious but better than nothing!). You can tell if an egg is fresh if it has a bright orange yolk and stands up perkily in the a pan or bowl. It is not gloppy and falling apart.