Kale, Mushroom and Bread Salad

April 8, 2014
Kale, Bread and Mushroom Salad

Kale, Bread and Mushroom Salad

As I’ve looked at tough horse fodder-like kale in markets recently, I’ve shied away from raw kale in favor of the cooked version. Like the lion on the April 7th New Yorker cover, I need to turn over a new leaf, while I wait for early salad kale in my garden.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to observe an enticing cooking demo featuring Paul Flynn, a gifted Irish chef and owner of The Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan, Ireland. I was visiting my favorite place away from home, the Ballymaloe (pronounced “Bally-mah-LOO”) Cookery School, and I lucked out to be on the sidelines of this brilliant presentation.

Paul specializes in taking traditional Irish foods and reworking them into tasty contemporary dishes. Hence, kale that grows literally year-round in Ireland, and mushrooms, often found wild. Paul’s semi-wilted kale salad is reminiscent of Italian panzanella with toasted croutons, sautéed mushrooms, and shaved Parmesan. It makes way for additional leftover bits of roast pork, lamb or chicken, turning the salad into a full meal. It’s better made at least an hour ahead and is even delicious the next day.

For this salad I chose a bunch of smaller-leafed organic Lacinato (Tuscan) kale. These dark leaves turned deep green with the dressing and held their color through the following day.

Kale, Mushroom and Bread Salad

4 oz. French or peasant bread torn into bite-sized chunks (3 cups)

6-8 oz. mushrooms cleaned and sliced

1 bunch kale (8 oz.)

4 oz. onion thinly sliced (1 cup)

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

4-5 tablespoons olive oil

2 ½ tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

salt and pepper

shaved Parmesan cheese

Toss the bread chunks with 1 tablespoon olive oil, spread on baking sheet, and toast until lightly golden in a 400° oven or under a low broiler.

Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and gently sweat sliced onion until limp and tender. Wash kale, shake dry, strip green leaf from center stalk, and shred. (After removing the stalks, the green leafy part will weigh 4 oz.; save the organic stalks to chop into soup or a stew.) Place kale in salad bowl; add warm onion.

Raise heat under skillet; add 1 tablespoon oil and quickly sauté mushrooms half at a time, seasoning with salt and pepper. Tip hot mushrooms into salad bowl with kale and onion. Finally, add few more drops of oil to the skillet, reduce heat and gently sauté the chopped garlic just until fragrant. Swirl in vinegar, honey and pour over kale mixture in salad bowl. Add toasted bread; toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed and a bit more vinegar or oil if desired. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving or add a few bits of warm roast chicken, leftover lamb or pork. Eat and be healthy! Serves 3-4.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

 

 

 

Valentine Cookies

February 1, 2014
ingredients

ingredients

Valentine’s Day means cookies My grown up children still expect fancy heart-shaped cookies decorated with pink icing (see post February 10, 2011). Oh dear, this year there’s not enough time for fussy cookie work, but cookies we must have. We’ll consider another favorite— thinly rolled shortbread, cut into heart shapes. These don’t need icing, and a sugar sprinkle before baking will add a touch of glamor.

Shortbread’s the cookie recipe everyone needs to memorize. It takes almost no thinking and with a deft hand is something anyone can manage.  So easy—basically three ingredients in the proportion 1, 2, 3: 1 oz. sugar, 2 oz. butter, 3 oz. flour. That’s it! It’s most reliable with a scale, and possible with cups. If you want a touch of vanilla, a dab of scraped from the bean or a few drops of extract will add that extra dimension. Shortbread is best made with salted butter, but if unsalted butter is what’s on hand, add a pinch of fine salt.

cookies

cookies

Supposedly first made in ancient Rome and popular since Elizabethan times in England, Scotland and Ireland, happily, it’s been passed down to us Americans. Of course we’ve doctored our shortbread with chocolate, ginger, coffee, and other sweet flavors as well as turned it into savories with cayenne, cheese, and rosemary. I still prefer the tried and true plain little cake which never fails to delight—faintly sugary, rich flavor, tender texture. Add shortbread to almost any pudding or ice cream or serve it along with your coffee or tea for a memorable way to bring sweet greetings for Valentine’s Day.

Shortbread Hearts

2 oz. sugar (5½ tablespoons)

4 oz. butter (one stick or ½ cup) at cool room temperature

6 oz. all purpose flour (1 scooped cup + 3 tablespoons)

(1/8 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter)

(seeds scraped from 1 inch vanilla bean or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract)

Slice the butter into a heavy mixing bowl. Add the sugar, optional salt and vanilla. Cream together until well combined. (It’s not necessary to beat this mixture to the light and fluffy stage.)  Add the flour and work to a crumbly mass with the wooden spoon, then use your hand to bring the mixture together into a soft dough. (At this point the dough may be left, covered, at room temperature for an hour or more.)

Roll the dough into a log on the counter. Cut off one third and shape into a flattened patty. On a lightly floured surface use a rolling pin to roll the dough gently back and forth to a desired thickness between 1/4 and 1/8 inch. Cut with a small heart-shaped cutter (or any other cutter). Place the cookies on an ungreased heavy baking sheet and sprinkle each heart with granulated sugar. Scrape up the dough scraps, add another third of the shortbread dough. Gently bring the pieces together, shape the patty, repeat the rolling and cutting. (At this point the cut cookies placed on baking sheets may be covered, chilled and baked a few hours later.)

Bake the cookies at 350° 12–14 minutes or until ever so lightly golden. Remove to a cooling rack while still warm. Store in a tin or an airtight plastic box when cool. Makes 3½ dozen.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

Harissa

January 6, 2014
harissa and ingredients

harissa and ingredients

January snow drifts over the back lawn and the driveway’s a shoveled trench. North winds whip under the door leaving ice mice against the rolled rug. I’m longing to curl up with a mug of hot cocoa, buttered toast, blanketed on the couch next to my books. But, alas, we’re trying to eat less and lighter after the holiday indulgences. Not such fun when heavy winter stews tempt. Yet a zing of spice will lift even the simplest broth, so I’m calling on chilies to bring a wisp of sun back into the kitchen.

A recent reading of Einat Admony’s cookbook Balaboosta reminded me of the Tunisian hot sauce harissa and I went straight for my mortar and pestle. Here’s the winter pick up I needed: a zippy sauce that transforms a bowl of beans and rice, spreads on toast and enlivens a soft baked potato. Olive oil binds the spices, mellows the cayenne. The generous lacing of fresh garlic and roasted pepper gives the sauce a creamy smoothness. All the ingredients are easily found, and the finished sauce keeps for weeks in the fridge or may be frozen. I chose to roast and and grind my own coriander, cumin and to blend all the ingredients in a mortar for pleasure. But a food processor and pre-ground spices work equally well. Let it snow—I’ve got harissa to brighten my lunch.

Harissa

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 medium red pepper, roasted and peeled*

½ cup pure olive oil or canola oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon cayenne**

2 ½ tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

*Roast the pepper whenever you bake bread or use a hot oven. Once it is soft, place in a small covered saucepan to steam; once cool, the skin will slip off and the seeds fall out. Jarred, roasted pepper could be substituted.

**This amount of cayenne makes a spicy but gentle sauce. Up the ante for more fire.

If using a mortar, crush the garlic to a paste with the salt. Add diced roasted pepper and mash together. Tip in the dry ground spices and blend to a dense paste. Gradually work in the oil to make a smooth, thick sauce.  Store harissa in a clean jam or mustard jar. Makes a generous cup.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

Eggplant Dip with Tahini and Pomegranate

November 18, 2013

eggplant dip photo

Thanksgiving beckons us to dust corners, polish silver, and iron the big tablecloth. Although food magazines are tempting us with new takes on standard fare, my table will again offer a free-range turkey done up with trimmings we’ve come to expect. Still, I’m always willing to navigate waves of new tastes when it comes to appetizers.
 
On a recent Saturday, I cooked with a lively group of women and sampled four trendy party bits that would greatly enhance a Thanksgiving spread. We savored tiny Swedish Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce, bite-sized Butternut Squash Empanadas, and Spicy Wilted Baby Kale on toast with goat cheese. I also did a Midwestern spinoff on the famed London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate.
 
Ottolenghi’s eggplant dish, brilliantly colored with parsley, pomegranate and blobs of Greek yogurt, gives off holiday sparkle. Surrounded by crisp cucumber slices for dipping, it meets criteria for something lighter, something vegetarian—if you leave off the yogurt, it’s vegan. The basic dip can be made two days in advance; it’s best at room temperature and can be fully plated hours ahead. Before you indulge in your traditional turkey feast, why not dip into veggies!
 
Roasted Eggplant Dip with Tahini and Pomegranate
 
2 medium eggplants (about 12 oz. each)
2 cloves garlic
2 slices Serrano chili (optional)
kosher salt
6-7 tablespoons tahini
4-5 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-4 chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
black pepper
Greek yogurt
Pomegranate seeds
Olive oil
Cucumber slices

Roast eggplants in 450º oven for 20-30 min. or broil 15-18 minutes, turning once. Eggplants should be collapsed, totally tender and burst. When cool enough to handle, split and scoop out flesh. Drain eggplant flesh in strainer 30 min.

Mash garlic and chili with salt in mortar or on a board. Mix with tahini and gradually beat in water to form a white cream. Blend in pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and green onions. Chop eggplant and add to the tahini cream along with most of parsley. Taste for seasonings adding more salt or lemon as necessary. Chill several hours. Mound in serving dish, dollop over yogurt, sprinkle with parsley, pomegranate seeds and grind on black pepper, then drizzle with olive oil.  Serve as dip with cucumber slices. Enough for 10-12.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

A Plain Cake

October 28, 2013
photo-3It’s always fun to read a cookbook written by a friend. As the words lift off the page, I hear a familiar voice, see a face, remember a style—and I know what the result will be.

When Rory O’Connell’s excellent book, Master It, arrived from the UK a few days ago, I thought I heard him lecturing to a group of Cookery School students as I read his comments about how to test a roast chicken for doneness and sample the unique flavor of an Thai Nam Jim.

Then I saw the recipe for A Plain Cake In A Tin.
 
I doubted this cake recipe from the start. The list of ingredients seemed out of balance (that much liquid?), the method seemed strange (dumping all the butter and flour straight on the whipped eggs?), but given Rory’s perfectionism I had to give it a try.

I’d been searching for the perfect PLAIN cake for ages. I wanted a cake not too sweet, not too rich and one with a velvety texture. A cake simple enough in flavor to have with a cup of tea in the morning or a hot cocoa at night. No icing, no filling, no chocolate chips or cinnamon, just CAKE. And true to form from Ballymaloe, I found it. Here’s the recipe ever so slightly Americanized.

A Plain Cake

1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz. or ½ cup)

3 large eggs

200 grams sugar (7 oz. or 1 cup)

grated rind 1 medium lemon

300 grams all purpose flour (10½ oz. or 2 scooped cups + 2 T.)

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼  teaspoon fine salt

100 ml cream (3½ oz. or ½ cup-1T.)

150 ml whole milk (7 oz. or 1 cup-2T.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Before you begin: for the most accurate measurements use a gram scale and the milliliter side of a liquid measuring cup. Alternatively, use the ounces or cups specified. I like to make this cake in three small 6-by-3½-inch loaf tins (one for me, one to give away and one to freeze); or use a large 9-by-5½-inch tin with extended baking time. Butter and flour the tins or line them with baking parchment.

Eggs whip faster and higher if they are not cold. Before using eggs removed from the refrigerator, allow them to warm in the shell in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. Measure milk and cream, add vanilla and let stand at room temperature. Melt butter in small saucepan and cool to tepid. Sift flour with salt and baking powder. Preheat oven to 375º.

Break eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attached. Beat the eggs until foamy and gradually pour in the sugar. Whip on high speed for about 10 minutes, until light in color and the consistency of soft whipped cream.

Remove bowl from mixer, sprinkle over grated lemon rind, pour melted butter around the edge of the egg foam and gently shake sifted flour mixture over the top. Use a rubber spatula to fold all together gently and thoroughly. Add the milk mixture in four or five additions incorporating each with the folding motion. In a few minutes the mixture will come together into a smooth cake batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the tins. Rap them once or twice on the counter top to settle. Place in the preheated oven. Bake the small cakes 30-35 minutes or a larger cake 40-45 minutes or until well risen, golden, firm and tests done. (To test for doneness insert a cake-testing skewer or a toothpick into the center. If it emerges clean the cake is done; otherwise, return it to the oven for 5 minutes.)
 
Allow the cake to rest in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Enjoy while fresh (even warm) and when cool, store in an airtight tin or plastic box for a week.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

 

NYT Plum Torte

September 27, 2013
NYT Plum Torte

NYT Plum Torte

In fruit growing areas prune plums hang bountifully, often ignored, while elegant peaches, pears and apples take center stage. The prune plum season is fleeting and their rich often undiscovered sweetness underlies their somber purple skin. When you see these plums mounded in September farmers’ markets, be sure to purchase a pound or two and treat yourself to an old world plum torte.

This recipe, first published in The New York Times decades ago, keeps reappearing in different guises. It’s the basic butter, sugar, egg, flour, thick cake mixture thinly spread, topped with halved or quartered prune plums and baked for enough time to melt the fruit and caramelize a substantial crust. I’ve adapted the recipe so it’s the perfect fit for an 8-inch square cake pan; with a square sheet of baking parchment, the cake is up and out of the pan with one lift.

It’s ideal for a coffee cake, and simple enough to pop in the oven for a weekend brunch when you have time to give it 45 minutes to bake. Before all the Italian plums go off to become prunes, try the plum torte.

NYT Plum Torte

3 oz. unsalted butter (6 tablespoons)
4 oz. sugar (½ cup plus 1 tablespoon)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 extra large egg
3 ½ oz. all purpose flour (¾ cup dipped and leveled)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
9-12 prune plums halved, pitted and quartered
½ teaspoon cinnamon + 1 tablespoon sugar

Cut a 12-inch square of baking parchment. Place an 8-inch square pan in the middle and cut diagonally in from each corner to the edge of the pan. Center the paper inside the baking pan and overlap the cut flaps to make straight edges and a square paper pan liner. Or butter and flour the baking pan. Preheat oven to 400º.

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in egg and salt. Sift over and mix in the flour and baking powder. Dollop thick batter over bottom of prepared baking pan and use back of spoon to spread batter to thin, even layer. Place quartered plums close together in rows up and down the cake batter. Mix cinnamon, sugar and sprinkle over plums. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until plums are soft and cake is nicely browned. Hint: for a nice bottom crust that turns this cake almost into a fruit tart, bake on top of a preheated pizza stone.

Mary Jo's Cookbook is available at Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook is available at Amazon

Cucumber Soup

August 28, 2013

cucumber soupphoto-4While gardeners across the Midwest call on the goddess of grain to slow down the zucchini, I’m still looking for one. My zucchini plants continue to flourish as they choke the adjacent collards and carrots. Yet each morning as I part their prickly, broad leaves searching for fruit, so far I’ve found only two small squash. Nearby the cucumbers won’t stop. Even though I carefully lift their scratchy foliage and survey the vines, cucumbers still have a way of hiding. The next day I’m apt to find them overgrown, but unwilling to let them waste, I’ll make soup.

Cucumbers seem to grow well on the edge of oasis-like areas in dry climates. I’m always amazed to find so many cucumber preparations stemming from cuisines in the Levant and north Africa. At one point in my life when living in a dry, highland, near-tropical region, cucumbers were the only fresh vegetable we could buy for weeks on end. The amazing, refreshing cucumber makes one of the best and quickest summer soups you’ll find or taste anywhere. All you need is a blender, some fresh herbs, a pint of good plain yogurt and you’re in business.
Turn those overgrown cucumbers into a chilled soup to refresh your spirits as the dog days of summer wind to a close.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

3-4 slicing cucumbers, or 1 1/2 lbs. seedless cucumbers
l clove garlic, sliced and crushed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, basil, parsley, dill or a mixture
1/2 small green or red chili, finely chopped, 1 teaspoon (optional)
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion or chopped sweet onion
16 fl. oz. (2 cups) plain whole milk yogurt, homemade if possible
2 fl. oz. (l/4 cup) cream or sour cream (optional)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers, slice lengthwise and scoop out seeds with teaspoon. Place seeds along with 1/2 cup water in blender; whiz to fine puree; press through sieve, discard seeds and use this cucumber water in soup. You should have at least 1 cup. If using seedless or English cucumbers, omit this step, and add 3/4-1 cup of cold water to diced cucumbers.

Cut cucumber halves into strips, then large dice (measure a generous quart). In mixing bowl combine cucumber, crushed garlic (use tip of your knife on wooden board to crush garlic and salt), chili, and onion and herbs.

Puree mixture in blender in batches, adding cucumber water. Leave last 2 cups of cucumber mixture in blender. Add yogurt plus optional cream and pulse once on and off to mix. Combine pureed mixtures. Rinse out blender jar with 2 tablespoons water and add to soup. Season with white wine vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil salt and pepper. Chill and serve with herbs or arugula flowers. Makes 6–7 cups.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

French Potato Salad

July 18, 2013
French Potato Salad

French Potato Salad

When the haze lifts from the grass at daybreak and the heavy heat punches out the afternoon, even air conditioning doesn’t entice me toward a plate of steaming supper. In high summer I’ll always choose something room temperature. I want it simple and light, with a tart edge.

There’s seldom a dish more tempting than a good potato salad, and for my choice, the French style is the way to go. Here’s the essence of a creamy potato with the zest of good wine vinegar, gentle green onion, fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil. It’s best freshly prepared, cooled to room temperature. It can wait several hours but should never go in the refrigerator. Something happens to a potato when it goes in the fridge. A raw potato will take on unlikely sweetness if stored in the fridge and a cooked potato becomes stodgy. This salad is ideal for picnics even in hot weather since it can be made ahead and there’s nothing in it that can spoil during the day. Lift yourself away from the heavy deli yellow potato salad and try this method for a fresh take, better flavor, better for you.

French Potato Salad

1 lb. small red potatoes (6–7)

l clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white wine or water

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

2–3 green onions

fresh parsley or dill

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Place potatoes snugly in a heavy pot. Just cover with cold water; sprinkle with salt; top with lid and boil until tender when pierced with toothpick. Pour off water and return pot to low heat for 5 minutes to steam.

Meanwhile crush garlic with salt using the back of a spoon in a bowl or use a small mortar. Add vinegar, wine or water and mustard. As soon as the potatoes can be handled (they should still be quite warm), cut potatoes in quarters or eighths and place in shallow bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar mixture and chopped green onions. Fold over to mix using a rubber spatula. Cover with tea towel and cool to room temp. Add olive oil and chopped fresh herbs; gently fold again using rubber spatula and turn into serving dish. Garnish with lettuce, nasturtium leaves or diced fresh tomato. Serve immediately for 2–4 or hold at room temperature for a few hours. Flavor will be drastically altered if refrigerated.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

Snickerdoodles

July 8, 2013
snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles

When I grew up I wanted to be like Bonnie Garmen. The mother of a friend of mine, Bonnie brought hot cocoa when we skated on Connected Lakes in winter and drove us to Green Mountain Falls in summer. She wore pressed khaki Capris, gold clip-on earrings, and her kitchen sink was turquoise—always elegant and gracious. Bonnie welcomed me into her kitchen like a pal even though I was just a teenager. She made me lunches of tomato aspic or crab toasts, and we shared recipes on her porch. I still have several of her name-topped recipe cards in my file, and the ingredients spill out in my schoolgirl’s scrawl.

When a July day arrived that was not too hot to switch on the oven and I thought about a picnic cookie good with ice cream, I scrambled through my old file box to find Bonnie’s Snickerdoodles.

The original recipe calls for shortening which I now replace with butter, and since I’m sensitive to the aftertaste of chemical leavenings I have reduced both the cream of tartar and the soda. To turn the cookie into something crisp and flat, perfect for little ice cream sandwiches, use the alternative leavenings of baking powder and less soda. Make half the recipe on the first go to see if it’s comfortable, and allow time for the dough to chill before shaping. Like snicklefritz, snickerdoodle may be a nonsense word of German origin, but this cookie’s been around for generations making it sensible enough.

Snickerdoodles

8 oz. butter 2 sticks
10½ oz. sugar 1½ cups
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
12½ oz. all purpose flour 2½ cups
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar*
¾ teaspoon baking soda*
½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar plus 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

*use 2 teaspoons baking powder plus ¼ teaspoon soda for alternative leavening.

Cream softened butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift over flour, cream of tartar, soda (or baking powder and soda) and salt. Mix well to combine into soft dough. Scrape dough onto sheet of plastic wrap, fold edges to cover, flatten and chill at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375º.  Roll chilled dough into balls cherry-size for small cookies or walnut-size for larger cookies. Shake rolled balls in bowl of mixed cinnamon and sugar to coat completely.
Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment or Silpat mats.  Bake 10–12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges and still soft in center. Makes 6–8 dozen cookies.

Mary Jo's Cookbook is available at Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook is available at Amazon

Asparagus with Mint Mayonnaise

May 26, 2013

photoMay Saturdays in Chicagoland see truckloads of fresh asparagus displayed in farmers’ markets. It’s the local-grown treat we’ve been waiting for since we savored the last crop almost a year ago. Primed for its pristine flavor picked just the day before, we haven’t been tempted by the tasteless supermarket-imported variety popping up year round. Now’s the time to indulge. Have it everyday; bring it to life in one of its many guises once you’ve had enough simply blanched and buttered. Try it in risotto, carbonara, soup, quiche, salads, creamed, grilled, roasted, hot, cold or raw. When you stop by your local farmers’ market, look for the purple variety with thick stalks for the best of the best.

At a recent family Sunday lunch of indoor picnic small plates, the highlight was a platter of fat purple asparagus just lifted from a four-minute boil in a bath of salted water. At the table it was room temperature and accompanied by a bowl of homemade mayonnaise lightened with chopped fresh mint from the garden. Take note: early herbs combine best with early crops.

Why make mayonnaise by hand when there’s a jar of the store-bought stuff in almost every fridge? Handmade mayonnaise is a world apart from the commercial, white variety, so much so you’ll hardly recognize it as a relative. It’s golden, richly flavored with good oil, a fresh egg yolk, pure lemon juice, a touch of French mustard, a pinch of good salt. This small recipe will give you half a cup and each teaspoon will royally dress vegetables, salads, or enrich sauces. All you need is a Pyrex bowl, a small whisk and a liquid measuring cup; no big blender or food processor to clean.

The mayonnaise will keep safely for a week or more in the fridge. Remember, the acid from the lemon juice will basically cook the egg yolk, and the salt is a preservative. Making this delectable sauce will take about 5 minutes—5 meditative minutes—as you reclaim a skill that once was part of everyday life.

Handmade Mayonnaise with Mint

1 egg yolk (organic or farm fresh) (freeze the white for meringue)

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

3-4 fl. oz. (1/3-1/2 cup) oil (2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus the remainder pure olive oil or vegetable oil)

pinch of salt,

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Place a 1-quart glass bowl on damp cloth on flat surface. Using a small stainless whisk, break up egg yolk with mustard and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Place oil in measuring cup with pouring lip. Dribble in oil a few drops at a time, whisking until the emulsion “takes”; then add the oil in a slow small stream stirring constantly. If sauce becomes too thick, add few more drops lemon juice or water.  Season with Kosher or sea salt and add mint just before serving. The mayonnaise may thin a little after the mint is added. Makes a generous half cup.

If the mayonnaise “splits” or the emulsion breaks, remove to a cup leaving a teaspoon in the bowl. Add another small dab of mustard and whisk in the broken sauce a half-teaspoon at a time until the mayonnaise regains its whipped consistency and proceed with the remainder of the oil.

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