Monday, January 31, 2011

Barbies, parties, and freedom, plus mayonnaise

Barbie Blissdom
Anybody connected to the world of bloggers and tweeters has probably heard about the convention that was held for mommy bloggers in Nashville, Tennessee this past weekend (in the same facility that housed the Mennonite National Convention a few years back). I don’t mean any disrespect, but the name of the convention—Blissdom—kept me in a constant state of inner giggles. I just kept thinking of Barbies and pink convertibles. I couldn’t help myself.

Par-tays
I got some good advice back in the sloggy days of yore. Some people suggested I fix myself up some parties. So I did. My outlook on life has improved exponentially. Thank you.

4 - 2 = a whole different life
My parents came to visit for the day and whisked the two littles back to West Virginia with them. The first night the kids were gone, I slept nine hours. The next day we had friends over for Sunday waffles and we actually had prolonged adult conversation while eating our food. In the afternoon Mr. Handsome and I went on a long walk by ourselves. In the evening he and the two olders enjoyed a movie that would’ve made the littles pee their pants. And now, this morning, the sky is lightening and nobody is fighting for prime hot spots on the hearth or curled up next to me on the couch, breathing gusts of dragon breath everywhere and whimpering for food. (Blissdom, for free.)

An egg is just an egg
So okay, not really. I know that homegrown eggs do taste way better (and are healthier) than store bought egg lookalikes. But the way some people crank them up, you’d think a fresh egg equaled salvation or something.

I just finished reading Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl. I really like the woman—I find her refreshingly down to earth—but I think she goes a little (a lot) overboard with food fireworks. The whole book is full of explosions and meltings and deep sighing.

It’s all about her affairs, too.

The thing is, I didn’t catch on to how overboard it was for quite a large number of pages because she was describing food I’d never eaten. Food like brains and caviar and dacquoise. And wines. Wines of all vintages and price tags, consumed at all hours of day and night. It made me feel sloshy just reading it.

But then she started rhapsodizing about fresh eggs. Eggs that—get this—had just popped out of the chicken. “A fresh egg doesn’t taste like anything else on earth ... It’s a real treat; once you’ve had one you can never go back. You should see the color of the yolks! Bright orange, which makes the mayonnaise absolutely golden.” (And um, sorry, but that was Alice Waters speaking there. But it’s Ruth quoting her.)

If these foodies are so insanely happy over a freshly laid egg, eggs that I happen to think taste quite deliciously ordinary, than what’s to say that all their hoity-toity food and all the slushy-gushy wine isn’t just as ordinary?


But about the mayonnaise, Alice is right. A fresh egg does turn homemade mayonnaise into a bowlful of creamy gold.


I’ve tried making my own mayonnaise before, but it’s never worked out. This method is perfectly simple. It takes a food processor and a little patience when it comes to trickling in the oil, but the liquid transforms to solid most charmingly and consistently.


Beware, though: the more oil you add, the thicker the mayonnaise. The last time I made the mayonnaise, it got a little thicker than I like.


Mayonnaise
Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen DVDs

In the DVD, Julia made this recipe. When Kimball pointed out that she was using a raw egg and that some people would be worried about that, she said, “Yep,” and laughed.

He pushed her. “Don’t you think about, er, aren’t you concerned...?”

“Nope.”

Thanks to that conversation, I am now a Julia fan.

Note: other seasonings that can be added: garlic, soy, chipotle, etc. Whatever is your bliss.

1 egg (fresh, and from free-range hens, if you want the mayonnaise to be golden)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
dash each of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 to 1 1/4 cup canola (or vegetable) oil

Put all the ingredients, except for the oil, into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.

Now, with the processor turned on, slowly, slowly, slowly pour in the oil. (I use an ample cup.) This will take 3-5 minutes and your arm will get sore, but persevere. When finished, take off the lid and admire the gorgeous mayonnaise you just made yourself. Taste to correct seasonings before transferring to a glass pint jar and storing in the refrigerator.

Yield: about 1 ½ cups, I think.

This same time, years previous: curried lentils, rock-my-world cocoa brownies, Nana's anise biscotti, cream-topped homemade yogurt, and orange-cranberry biscotti

8 comments:

  1. I've had farm fresh eggs most of my life but only recently actually cracked open one that had been laid only 30 seconds earlier. It was a funny sensation, that warm white slipping over my fingers into the bowl.

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  2. Fresh eggs are wonderful - IF you can get them. Otherwise we get lovely organic free range ones here in the nicer supermarkets which are just as nice, if Im honest!

    I think we could be really good friends - I smiled a BIG smile reading your "concern or lack thereof about raw egg" :)

    x

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  3. yeah, I like homemade mayo too. And I never worry about raw egg cause I buy my eggs from small, careful farms. Most of the salmonella comes from huge factory farmed eggs.

    I use the recipe in More with Less, but I use my food processor, not my blender. Theirs has some paprika and dry mustard in it. But I think I'll add some Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce next time.

    Glad you had some par-tays! I love when my children have extended visits away from home.

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  4. Mavis, No, I did not, but a few of my bloggy friends/acquaintances did. Why? Did you?

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  5. NO... but if you and thyhand ever decided to go to one of those things... it would be the perfect thing to go to together... we could share a room and have blast taking it all in... plus I bet we'd get a bunch of freebies too :)

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  6. Most of the salmonella does NOT come from large operations- it can be anywhere. The biggest carrier of salmonella is rodents and they are any place there is food to be had. So a careful chicken farmer will have less chance of it than one who is sloppy- in large or small operations.

    -Wife of a Man in the Chicken Business

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  7. We make our own mayo too. We use a hand held blender and it works great. Don't think we will ever go back to store bought mayo.

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