Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whip it! Whip it good...

As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts my current reading material has been to go back through Ratio and pick up on old inspirations. Well today we are like Devo and we're gonna whip it good.

We are talking about mayonnaise here folks, or as we like to call it at Chez Zube, food grease. And if you use your Sherlock Holmes' powers of deduction you realize that we are making it from scratch! This was one of those mystical miracles (and not Miracle Whip... yuck!) that I knew the basics of, but it still loomed intimidatingly in the shadows. Let's just say it has been conquered.

The great thing about Ratio is that it breaks recipes down to,well, ratios. The bare bones of what is needed is explained. Take for example vinaigrettes and how they all start with a base ratio of 3:1 oil to acid. You can then take that knowledge and go running willy-nilly into the gastronomic wilderness with the endless possibilities. Well mayonnaise follows that same rule of having a base ratio. 2:1:1. Two ounces of water, one egg yolk, and one cup of oil. All that is left is a bowl, whisk, and a shoulder with Lance Armstrong endurance! And like a vinaigrette once you have the base recipe down there is so much you can do to customize it. Acid, herbs, spices galore are simply begging to be whipped into this creamy concoction and how are you to deny them that?

Get your bowl out and I suggest a heavier one on a non-slip surface. We used a Pyrex bowl on a silicone pot holder. I say "we" because Wife Zube was an integral part of the process. I apparently do not possess Armstrong deltoids. Not yet at least. The chemical process that we are looking for is emulsification and according to Ruhlman room temperature ingredients do this best. So make sure to get your egg out of the fridge and separated with plenty of time to warm up. Into the bowl goes the two ounces of water, I squeezed a teaspoon or so of lime juice in, the egg yolk, and a pinch of salt. These were whisked together until completely blended. Next drip, literally, a couple of drops into the bowl while whisking. You'll be able to see it incorporate and become slightly frothy. Drip some more. Whisk some more. I added a tablespoon or so this way until I could see some substance to the mixture. Now the oil was added in a thin stream while I, or Wife, whisked our hearts out. We might have been a little over-zealous, but I didn't want my first hand-whisked mayo to break. The humiliation...

It only took a couple of minutes and a couple drops of sweat to yield a beautiful,shiny bowl of homemade mayonnaise. It was a nice little achievement. I know that at some point my attempts will fail and end in a sludge of broken oil and yolk, but numero uno was a smashing hit.

Your mayo will last for a week or so if you keep it free of garlic/shallots/etc so I took half and put it away for later. The half that was for dinner had cumin, coriander, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and more lime juice added in. If there had been any cilantro roaming around I would have wrassled that in as well. The reason for this southwestern flair was due to there being a skirt steak marinating in the fridge in lime & orange juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, and cayenne. I thought a nice Tex-Mex style mayo would do quite nice by a fajita-marinated skirt steak. I was right.

Some family came over for late evening snacks and the skirt steak was broiled to medium rare and sliced thinly on the bias. Set out family style, it hit the spot with a dab of mayo. Meat and food grease. Yum. There was going to be a photo, but deliciousness was quicker then photography.


  1. Homemade mayo is great, such a better flavor. Although I must say I cheat and use a hand mixer...I'm no hero

  2. There is also a slightly different recipe for using an immersion blender in a cup if you want to make even smaller batches. My "hero" side is quickly giving in to my "let's use a hand mixer" side as well.