Monday, March 10, 2008

Adventures in Domesticity: Homemade Mayonnaise

We scraped the bottom of the Hellman's jar today at lunch while making tuna salad and I got the bug to try my hand at making homemade mayonnaise. As I have shared before, we have been trying really hard to eat more healthy and cheaply. I figured this might be a great way to do this. I had read a recipe in the book, "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon (which is listed in My Library down on the right side of this page). It uses olive oil. Most store-bought brands seem to use soybean oil. Since we suspect my little guy may be allergic to soy, I like the idea of having a mayo recipe that is not soy-based. I will say that unless you are big fan of the flavor of olive oil, substitute something else. We found this to seem very bitter from the oil so we added additional lemon juice and a bit of honey. That was enough to temper the flavor and we did not notice that bitterness in our tuna salad. The book says that you can substitute sunflower oil if you don't like the strong flavor of olive oil. The book is not a big fan of vegetable oil and therefore does not suggest it, but I think my basic canola oil would work just fine, too.

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 whole egg (at room temperature)

1 egg yolk (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard

1 1/2 tablesppons lemon juice

1 tablespoon whey (optional - we didn't have any to use)

3/4 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil or expeller-expressed sunflower oil

Generous pinch sea salt

In your food processor (we used a blender), place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt and lemon juice and optional whey. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add oil very slowly with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. You may want to add more salt or lemon juice.

If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature, well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating. With the whey added, mayonnaise will keep several months and will become firmer with time. Without whey, it will keep for about 2 weeks.

We will continue to use this and probably try this recipe again with a milder oil. I have been trying to have the attitude of "why buy it if you can make it" when it comes to our menus. It is definitely a mental adjustment. You walk through the stores and are surrounded by processed foods. I wonder how good all of these foods filled with unpronounceable ingredients are for us. I am slowing trying to wean us away from all of this and cook from scratch using more basic staple foods. While this may require a bit more time in the kitchen, it seems to make grocery shopping simpler. I spend more time selecting fewer better-quality ingredients. Then we also suppliment with visits to a local farm stands. Just today, I swung by a farm stand on our way home from dentist appointments to get fresh eggs. They also had some locally-made, no sugar added apple syrup which was reasonably priced so bought to try on pancakes. She also had some red onions which were a bit past their prime, but what do expect in March in Indiana. I couldn't find a price, so I asked her about them. She said she was embarassed to sell them in their condition and gave me a big bag full for free! Ya' gotta love that. I am thinking that we may have to make some french onion soup for dinner. It will be cheap and oh so yummy!

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