I always think of Steve Martin in the opening of The Jerk, when I tell people I make my own condiments at home. I want to adopt his funny accent and say, “my grandma taught me….” But, that’s not even kind
Making mayonnaise is so simple that it is ridiculous to buy it in the store, with all its chemical preservatives and weird oils that are not natural. At its core, mayo is nothing more than egg yolk, acid and oil that has been emulsified. The key is to mix the egg and acid together, and then, while blending, add the oil in a slow stream and it will emulsify before your eyes until it is the thickness of mayo.
Ingredients are sort of up to you. (Except the egg yolks, no wiggle room there.) Acids can be vinegar or citrus juice. Oil can be any kind of oil that you like – however, olive oil has a VERY strong flavor, so I never use it. My favorite oils to use are walnut oil, grapeseed oil and wheat bran oil. All are fairly flavorless and stand up really well.
You also want your mayo to have some flavor. Most people add dry mustard powder, as do I. You can also add honey, curry, cayenne, anything you want. I’ll give you the basic recipe, then you play with it.
You can do this in any blender. Or, do it straight into a small mason jar using a stick blender, which is what I do because it is one less thing to clean and I don’t lose any mayo to the bottom of the blender.
2 egg yolks
4 Tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice, or a mix of both (I use white wine vinegar that I culture at home, so it’s “alive.” I highly recommend using an unpasteurized vinegar because it is a great natural preservative.)
Big pinch of dry mustard powder
Big pinch of salt
Small pinch of sugar – totally optional
1 Cup (or so) oil. (If you use soy, I will pretend that I don’t know you and snub you if I see you on the street.)
Mix everything except the oil.
Turn ON your blender and slowly stream in the oil. Stop when it gets thick. You may need to use a little more or a little less oil, depending…..
This will keep for a couple weeks, in the fridge. And, since it only takes 5 minutes to make, if you’re out, it’s quicker to make it than to run to the store.
While we’re at it, ketchup is just as easy, and you can play with this one until you like it also. Like mayo, the basic ingredients are simple: tomato, acid, sugar. The flavors, beyond that, are up to you.
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée (or fresh tomatoes, if you can.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (or honey, or molasses, or maple syrup)
1/2 cup cider vinegar (or lemon juice, or wine vinegar, or whey)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Any other spices you want – pepper, curry, paprika, chile powder….
Brown the onions (and any other aromatics you may want to add, depending on how you’re using the ketchup) in a saucepan.
Add everything else.
Cook it down for an hour or two.
This will keep about 3 weeks also – a little longer if you use an “alive” vinegar and add it at the end so that the vinegar doesn’t get cooked.
Still going? Wanna do mustard? Mustard, even more so than ketchup, is just a free-for all. Really, all you need is dry mustard powder and the acid of your choice. But, as you probably know, you can add anything you want – honey, beer, spices, herbs. It’s almost not worth giving you a recipe, but I will. Read it once, then do whatever you want.
You can also start with mustard seeds and soak them overnight, then blend them yourself. Obviously, this takes more time, but the resulting mustard will be much more mild, which is great if you have kids – or wimpy adults – around.
Either way, mustard really benefits from being allowed to relax overnight before being eaten. (Don’t we all!)
Dry Mustard Powder
Liquid (Beer, wine, champagne, lemon juice, water….)
Salt or any other seasoning you want.
Mix it together until it’s a little more watery than you want it to be. Let it chill overnight.
If you want to use whole seeds, just soak them overnight with the liquid of your choice, and mix in the morning. And really, you can add anything you want to this – dried apricot bits, fresh herbs – go to town!
Don’t mean to give you short shrift on the mustard recipe, but it’s really that easy. And I have a dozen eggs waiting to be deviled (which is how this all started, I was out of mayo, had to make some, got smarty pants about it on Facebook and my beloved friend Willie asked for the recipe. I can’t say “no” to Willie.)