This is the first part in what will be a multi-part podcast about how to cook. Cooking is the center of any homestead and also the key to your own health and well being. A home cooked family dinner is, I believe, the best thing you can do for your family.
An episode about Vinaigrettes and mayo. Two seemingly completely different condiments, however the process of making them is exactly the same. They both require a process called emulsification. This is where two “un-blendable” liquids are incorporated in such a way that they will not separate where normally they would separate.
Isn’t it annoying when you get a salad and put some dressing on it and if you aren’t speedy about eating getting it all down you end up with this bland mix on the top of the salad and an unpleasantly strong pool of vinegar at the bottom of plate or bowl. This is what you avoid when you make a true vinaigrette. Another advantage of making a real vinaigrette is that you can use much less salad dressing to properly coat a salad.
Your dressing should serve to accent the natural flavors of the salad, just as sauce in barbecue should not be added mask the flavor of meat.
A vinaigrette requires 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. This is not a 100% rule, but a guideline. You should adjust your recipes based upon taste.
Your acid component would generally be lemon or lime juice or vinegar of any sort. If you wanted to make a balsamic vinaigrette you would generally use balsamic vinegar (duh!)
Oils: Generally recipes you will find advise you to use garbage commodity oils such as canola oil, and certainly almost all store bought oils will use these types of oil. I generally ALWAY use extra virgin olive oil, however I want to experiment with avocado oil and walnut oil next.
It’s a good idea to read up and research your brand of olive oil. I was pretty shocked to learn how low quality control is with olive oil these days. Check out this study.
- Only 5 brands, of brands tested, actually cut the mustard as actual extra virgin olive oil when tested.
- 65% of imported oils were found to be cut w/ cheaper oils
- 10% of California oils were found to be cut w/ cheaper oils
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vingar
A pinch or 2 of sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Optional: I enjoy a sweet element and prefer to add a tablespoon of raw honey
From this basic recipe you can add fresh herbs from the garden, dijon mustard, curry powder, whatever. Have fun with it. Here are a few ideas:
Make your vinaigrette in a blender/food processor
Beat together an egg yolk with 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, add mixture to the blender/food processor and blend. Optionally add 2 or 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs and a few squirts from a lemon
Making mayo is the same as making a vinaigrette, however the ratios are a bit different.
Here is your basic recipe. I have doubled it so that you can make enough to store in a small pickle jar in the fridge
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or other acid)
2 full eggs (some use just the yolks, but I don’t find it improves the recipe and is more work)
1 tsp of salt
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
Add everything to a food processor except the oil. Turn on food processor and very very slowly pour in the oil. After you have completely poured in the oil let it run for about 30 seconds to ensure full emulsification.
From this basic template you can add garlic to make aioli (just a fancy word for mayo + garlic generally) I prefer to add my garlic in diced by hand fresh when I am serving it as opposed to incorporating it in via the food processor. I find the garlic flavor is better maintained by a hand dice due to the larger pieces you will end up with.
I generally add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of ginger powder.
You can add fresh herbs or any dried spices.