Homemade Mayonnaise is Sublime

I grew up loving mayo. I even dipped potato chips in it (yeah greasy I know).  Then I fell out of love with it, especially from having a very old jar in the fridge that I didn't realize was rancid. Oops.  That's condiments in our house I guess.

After making this I'm in love.  Home made tastes SO MUCH BETTER. It is pretty miraculous.
  • I shredded cabbage on the mandolin slicer and tossed with mayo-- yum.  
  • I boiled asparagus stalks and dipped it in mayo- sublime.  
  • Mix the mayo with water/dairy and onion/garlic powder for a ceasar/ranch type dressing for lettuce.   
  • In fact, home made is so good you could be the life of a potluck by bringing it in some type of dish or flavored as a dip for fresh cut veggies.
Couple good reads about mayonnaise. The first explains why you don't want to use 100% olive oil.  The NYT article also has ideas for how to cook with and use up homemamde mayo.

I had been scared to try making it for years(?).  But surprisingly with this recipe I had no trouble at all, besides taking forever to drizzle the oil- next time I could probably speed up for the last 1/2 cup of oil. From reading the articles sounds like having egg and oil be same temp and the tablespoon of water, along with using hand mixer (instead of blender or food processor) are keys to success.  And don't worry about the flavor of the mustard, it's not obtrusive and the mustard helps emulsify.

Pour boiling water into a ceramic mug. Drop in one farm fresh egg (in the shell). Set timer for 60 seconds for the egg's soak in the water. 

This warms up the egg and theoretically kills bacteria? I don't really know but makes me feel less squeamish about eating raw egg (even though I happily eat raw egg in cookie dough, but that's another story). 

Remove the egg from the mug, crack open egg and separate into yolk and white. Use the white for some other purpose (like an omelet, egg fried rice or any of your favorite egg white desserts).

Combine in a stainless steel mixing bowl:
egg yolk (from above)
1 TB water
1 TB lemon juice (apporx 1/2 lemon, I used meyer lemon)
1 tsp dijon mustard

Measure out 1 C canola oil (or safflower or grapeseed apparently work well too-- try to get non GMO oils) in a pyrex cup.

Get the electric hand mixer going and drizzle the oil drop by drop into the bowl slowly while mixing thoroughly. It sounds like once most of the

Season with salt (approx 1/2 teaspoon?) to taste.

Store in the fridge in a clean sealed container and use only clean utensils when dipping in to preserve the life of the mayo. I used a pint glass canning jar and wide mouth plastic lid. There are different ideas on how long it lasts- 1 to 2 weeks?

Options: I've seen recipes that add seasonings to the mayo- always after it is emulsified.  Stuff like rosemary, black pepper, bacon, garlic...


Morning breakfast

Had to share my happy breakfast from a week or two back (now that I have photos off the camera).

Carrot orange juice
Organic sencha green tea
Large glass water
Chia oats with blueberries

Iris ikebana and gardenia plant in the background.

There is something cozy about morning light.

Vanilla "birds eye custard"

C grew up on english food and fancied bird's eye custard. They sell the powder for making it but really it's just cornstarch sugar and flavoring. So I figured I should make it from scratch instead. Modified a pastry cream recipe and it turned out well!

Store the leftovers in small canning jars with lids in the fridge for easy lunch/dessert picnic packing.

The eggs (egg yolk only or egg yolk+white) is flexible as is the type of dairy (whole milk, half and half, cream etc.)

Warm over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally:
2 C half & half or whole milk (preferably organic)
4-6 TB sugar or vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
vanilla bean- scrape out the seeds into the milk

In a mixing bowl, combine with a whisk:
3 eggs (or 3-5 egg yolks)
2 TB sugar or vanilla sugar
3 TB cornstarch

Once the milk on the stove is hot but not boiling, temper the eggs in mixing bowl by pouring a little bit of hte hot milk in and stirring/whisking.  Slowly incorporate, then pour it all back into the pan on the stove.

Stir constantly over medium heat until thickens, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching or clumpoing.

Let cool or eat warm.


Elephant ears (cinnamon sugar skillet bread)

Do you remember "elephant ears"?

These were very popular when I was a kid- used to see them at the Zoo in the food carts. When I was younger my mom and I would smear a flour tortilla with butter, then cinnamon and sugar, and bake in the oven until warm, puffy and slightly crispy.

However this homemade version is even better!

Gather small amount (golf ball or slightly larger size) leftover bread dough. Mine was from the "artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" book. Really you could try any yeasted bread dough.

Preheat a cast iron pan (or nice heavy stainless steel pan) over high on the stove.

Flatten/stretch the dough then lay it in the pan.  Cook in a dry pan over high heat. Let it cook for 1-3 minutes on each side until puffy and cooked but not brittle or hard. Use an exhaust fan. 

Put on a plate, add a pat of butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar (or Japanese brown sugar "kuromitsu").


Pork Rib Tip Ragu over Polenta (slow cooker)

This made for a comforting yet somewhat fancy valentines meal. Would also be great for a winter lunch or dinner. Sorry my photography skills are lacking on this one!

The original idea came from Williams-Sonoma's rustic italian cookbook. But I wanted to cut down the 3 hours stove time using the slow cooker and swap out the spare ribs for cheaper rib tips.

Purchased naturally raised "pork rib tips" for $1.99 a pound! What a bargain compared to even pork shoulder ($4.99 a pound) or dare say the more expensive cuts. 


Place 1.5-3 pounds pork rib tips in slow cooker. Cut if you have to to fit them in the cooker, but otherwise don't bother cutting into pieces (lots of membrane and random bones make it hard anyway).

Sprinkle liberally with salt. Do not add liquid (these will ooze their own liquids so you don't have to add anything else).

Cook on low until meat is tender - 5 hours in my relatively new slow cooker. (If you have an older slow cooker it might take longer, like 8 hours?). Transfer to a container or plate (you can put in the fridge and finish prepping the ragu later if need be).

When you are ready to prep the sauce, finely dice:
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 large white or yellow onion
5 cloves garlic

Saute the diced veggies in butter, olive oil or pork fat until soft.  Deglaze pan with 1/2 C white or red wine. 

Add 1-3 cups of diced tomatoes (I used two pint jars of home canned tomatoes) and bay leaves, stir to combine. Simmer the sauce until soft. I used a blender to smooth out part of the sauce and left the other half with little bit of texture. 

Shred the cooked pork meat and discard the bones and fatty membranes.  Add the meat to the sauce and stir.  Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Warm through, then serve over fluffy soft polenta.  Or serve over pasta noodles.

Easy Oven Chicken Wings

I honestly don't know how chicken nuggets became popular when you consider how dead simple chicken wings are. And they are freakishly delicious- I don't know why I avoided chicken wings for so long.  And did I mention they are cheap? I got natural/organic type ones on sale for $1.99 a pound.

Purchase chicken wings.

Place chicken wings on a baking sheet.

Spray lightly with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper (or your own favorite spice blend, like BBQ salt).

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Done. Devour immediately.

Meal ideas:
To make it a meal, roast 1 sweet potato (cubed) in the oven at the same time. 

Or serve over a green salad with salsa+mayo dressing, chipotle and shredded cheddar cheese

Jam-filled Thumbprint Cookies (gluten free, vegan)

Modified this recipe from Spunky Coconut to use up mullberry jam I had in the fridge. These would be cute on a cookie platter for a party or holiday/christmas or wrapped up as a gift.  The original recipe didn't have salt but I think they need it- so play around with how much salt you add.

These were best warm, when the chia seeds were bouncy and the outside was crisp. They're ok out of the fridge but not quite as exciting.  Perhaps they'd be better directly out of the freezer? 

I think they would've been cuter with a smoother jam- the mulberry stems stuck out of these cookies which tasted fine but looked a little odd.

Beat with electric mixer:
1/4 C coconut oil, liquified
3 TB agave (don't skimp- you need the whole 3 TB)
1/4 C applesauce
Combine with dry ingredients:
1/3 C rice flour or tapioca flour (I used mochiko)
1/3 C ground almonds/almond flour
1/3 C coconut flour
1 TB chia seeds
Approx 1/4 tea salt
Roll into balls, make an indentation for the jam. (this part is probably the most tedious of it all)

Fill with jam. I used mullberry jam.  In a second batch I used up marmalade and raspberry jams from odds and ends in the fridge.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.


4 Buttermilk Biscuits (quarter recipe)

Adapted from epicurious, but in a suitable batch size so I don't eat 10 at a time!

Makes 4 biscuits.

Mix together in a bowl:
1 C flour
1.25 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt

Cut in and rub untill the batter looks crumbly:  1/4 C butter

Pour and mix in: 1/3 C buttermilk

Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. 

Bake at 400-425 for 15 minutes, or until golden but not burnt.


Cobb Salad

This is a surprisingly good post-workout salad.  The cheese and egg provide protein, great fat from avocado. And the butter lettuce, cuke and bell pepper add crunch.

Toss torn butter lettuce with simple vinaigrette (I like white wine vinegar, good quality olive oil and a pinch of salt). 

Arrange on plates with:
Red bell pepper slices
Avocado slices
1 oz cheddar cheese, diced
1-2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or quartered
1/4 C cubed cucumber

Top with salt and pepper.

Eat immediately.