Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making Mayonnaise or Making a Mess?

Well here I am titling my blog "Art and Aioli" and I go and give you a "semi-homemade" aioli recipe to start off with. Then just a couple weeks ago, I open up my Bon Appétit magazine and in it is an article by Molly Wizenberg AKA Orangette and it is all about MAYONNAISE!

Molly is a more than adept chef and a superb writer. I adore the line "...it sat atop a knife with a soft, endearing slump". It is just so visual. And I was just salivating at the end of the article (as her writing has done for me each time actually). I decided right then and there that I would try her recipe right away! How can I have a blog about mayonnaise (garlic or otherwise) without supplying a recipe that is completely from scratch. But then Danielle needed this and Nicholas needed that and there is the house and Miss 'N Nick Designs... Life has a habit of getting in the way of things sometimes! Plus, I really didn't need any mayonnaise or have anyone who would eat it. But I did finally just decide to do it. Who cares if I need it. I just wanted to try it out.

Molly's recipe calls for canola oil but suggests using extra virgin olive oil if you want to make aioli. I did not want to add the garlic to the whole recipe as I thought the kids might prefer it without the garlic. So I proceeded to make the plain mayonnaise but used the olive oil instead of cannola so that I could add the garlic later.

The emulsification was not that difficult actually. Molly says to add the drops one at a time but even if I had the patience, my 3 year old assistant did NOT. Still it came together and was smooth as I whisked. It is hard to hold the bowl still while whisking with one hand and pouring very slowly with the other. Maybe you need an assistant? Or a bowl that adheres to the tabletop?

My end result did not appear as a "...thick, silky sauce..." Rather it was VERY thick and slightly gelatinous in nature. Maybe I (with my zealous assistant) over whisked the eggs? Also as you see in the contrasting photos below, mine is much more yellow. Of course, I am not the photographer that Ms. Wizenberg is. And I did use the extra virgin olive oil too.

The taste of my mayonnaise was good but perhaps a bit strong. I think the extra virgin olive oil was overpowering. Perhaps light olive oil or a better brand would have produced a better or more subtle flavor. Next time I will try it with canola oil and see if it is lighter and more "silky." I didn't ever add the garlic as I was rather over the whole thing by that time and had had enough of the mayonnaise. I did mix it up with some chicken and onions, placed it on a bit of romaine and added the tomatoes. This was rather nice and made a nice snack. Danielle said it was yummy on crackers and bread.

But I was disappointed. Disappointed in the taste. Disappointed in the appearance and my inability to replicate Molly's photo and enthusiasm (or abilities as is probably the case). Perhaps with a little practice....

I will continue to look for or practice the homemade aioli and keep you all abreast of my progress. If you want to read the article from Bon Appétit, you can find it here: http://www.epicurious.com/bonappetit/features/mayo_clinic
And the recipe is here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/241868

If you have any tips or suggestions, please feel free to share. I would love to hear your stories!

PS. Lisa just posted a wonderful sounding mint mayonnaise on her blog: What We Eat. It sounds wonderful with the lamb. Great photos too Lisa!


Sherry said...

I've been making my own mayo for a few years now because of allergies. I make mine with egg, lemon juice, dry mustard,and oil. It's fun to experiment with different oils, and I often use a combination. The blender works great for making it in, if you can stand the noise. (But your way sounds nicer with a helper.)

Nicole said...

Thank you Sherry! I will try that. Sounds great.

In all truth, this was not the first time I made mayonnaise. I have made aioli on a couple of occasions before. And each of those times I did use a blender. I had some problems with the emulsification once or twice... but one time it came out soooo amazingly perfect! I forget what recipe I used. It was the Sunday after 9/11 and so many horrible and frustrating things happened that week. I just cooked for 2 days straight and all the food was amazingly perfect. Funny. That was pre-children and pre-marriage when I cooked a lot more. Now not only do I not have that time but I hate to make so much food that no one will eat. My kids are still so young and not very well rounded and unfortunately my husband is a very VERY picky eater so it is no fun to experiment for him.

taste memory said...

thanks for insight about the mayo - i have made it once but under a guidance of a chef @ a class ~ he made it so easy that i tried to repeat @ home and flustered.

i have allergies to store bot mayo, so the homemade definitely a lot more digestable.

actually i have been an avid buyer of veganaise (grape seed oil extract) - looks, smells and tastes like mayo - but no egg at all....let us know when you nailed the aioli~sure you will!

yes i recall the times of pre-kiddies and pre-hubby....remember all i had was my handbag & designer shades walking out the door....now i shlep STUFF & have my trusty bent up shades from target ;-)

Nicole said...

I hear you about the shades! Boy I can barely see out of some of mine with all the scratches! Sad. I miss some of the "ME" time I used to have but wouldn't give it up for anything. These kids are amazing.

But the weird thing is I used to think that I was so busy and had no time for this or that when single. HA!!! Now with the kids... a WHOLE other story.

I feel so bad for you foodies with allergies. I am blessed to not have any know allergies at all! (knocking on my wooden desk right now as well as the noggin). I swear I could eat an old tire and not get an upset stomach! I can be soooo sick with any illness and still eat.

Lisa Conmara said...

oh i've always wanted to try making aioli but its so intimidating and disappointing if it fails - i think i'll follow your tips there and i'll let you know!!!
i know how you feel about the difference pre-kids pre-husband with experimenting - it is definatley no fun if you go to all the trouble and no-one will eat it!
someone should start a "dinner party club" - wouldn't that be fun!