Does it sometimes feel like the world is out to test you? It seemed to feel that way this week in my adventures of cooking and blogging; recipes not turning out, photo shoots going awry, the constant feeling that there weren’t enough hours in a day. Maybe it wasn’t a test so much as the long weekend calm, being met by short week frenzy; everything does find its balance I guess.
Whatever it was, my original recipe for this week just wasn’t working, so I decided to abort mission and settle on a sandwich. A sandwich that was warm and toasty, with softened goat cheese. A sandwich that had a little heat, but just as much sweet. A sandwich that could use up some of the 25lbs turkey leftovers that you are still working your way through (or chicken if you are like me and used all your turkey in a previous cooking endeavor). And a sandwich that would be made special by my pièce de résistance – homemade mayo!
Now what I am about to say may shock and confuse some of you. I don’t particularly like mayonnaise. Why? Because that stuff you buy at the grocery store is weird. It is not the right colour for mayo, and has a texture that looks slightly spongy to me. Plus I tend to not trust anything that is made with oil, but is available in a “fat-free” form. But homemade mayo on the other hand…well that stuff is the gold! More of a pale yellow than white, it is whipped up at the drop of a dime by chefs and cooking badasses everywhere. You want to be a kitchen baller, you have to know how to make mayo.
Problem for this wannabe kitchen baller; I had never made the stuff. Bigger problem; I had one failed recipe under my belt, two pints of cider in my belly, and it was 11pm on a school night. Basically it was not a great time to start something new.
What actually is mayo? Mayo is a stable emulsion of egg yolks and oil. Because of its versatility it is often included in the list of “grand” or basic sauces of classic cooking. Think of all the things you can make out of it…. tartar sauce, remoulade, or just a plain old spicy version for dipping sweet potato fries in! If you have never made the stuff before it may seem a little daunting, but it is just learning the intricacies of the recipe and knowing what to look for.
- If you are making a small batch (i.e. the recipe below). Use a small mixing bowl. Too big of a bowl for one measly egg yolk isn’t going to net you mayo.
- If you are making a small batch (i.e. the recipe below). Don’t use a blender, just whip it by hand. Your one measly egg yolk doesn’t have the volume to meet the blades, so when you start pouring the oil, no emulsification will happen.
- Go slow. You literally need to pour the oil drop by drop until the mixture gets going while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil and create the emulsion. As things get going you can speed it up.
- Use a room temperature egg, or warm an egg slightly by running it under warm water. It works better this way.
- Swear at your egg, especially if you are a first timer. This may not actually be required, but I was on my fourth attempt and getting desperate. Basically just tell the yolk it will be mayo, just with a few more expletives. School of hard knocks is how I like to treat misbehaving food.
So after a weekend dedicated to giving thanks, I guess I have to give props to the humble mayo. It taught me a lesson perseverance, and the wonders that a little determination and elbow grease can bring.
To kitchen ballers everywhere.
1 x egg yolk
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
¾ cup light/neutral flavoured oil (I used a light olive oil)
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1½ tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste
- Whisk yolk, mustard, and salt until well combined
- Whisking vigorously, begin pouring 1/4 of the oil drop by drop into the egg mixture
- Whisk in white wine vinegar and lemon juice until combined.
- While still whisking continue streaming in remaining ½ cup of oil
If your mayo breaks and curdles, check out the quick fix here
Curried Chicken Sandwich
1 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp curry powder
1 x good squeeze of lemon juice
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
2 slices of your favourite bread
Roasted chicken or turkey
Butter, or oil of choice for frying
- On one slice of bread layer mayo, spinach and chicken
- On the other slice of bread layer goat cheese and chutney
- Sandwich the two pieces of bread together
- Heat butter in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat
- Add sandwich to pan, pressing down gently cook until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes)
- Flip and repeat on other side