Whipping up a batch of Mayo

Now that we are coming into summer with Memorial Day just around the corner, creamy potato salads, grilled burgers, and plenty of other great picnic foods have finally returned to our tables and plates. Mayonnaise is a one of those condiments/ingredients that most people buy store bought, and until recently we were included in the group. Last week, we were out of the stuff in a jar, so we decided to make our own. The ingredient list is short and the technique is pretty straight forward, but it’s work. Whisking while slowly pouring oil into the bowl drip-by-drip is hard work. Seriously!

There are some things that demand a little mayo, like that potato salad, fried chicken sandwiches and grilled cheese. Seriously, for the best grilled cheese sandwich, spread mayo on the outer sides of the bread instead of butter or oil. Since mayo is mostly oil, it frys up the bread and creates a nice crunchy crust. Trust us, you’ll agree.

Most mayo recipes suggest a neutral oil like canola or safflower. We had neither, just regular extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil is a little grassy and peppery, but delicious for our needs and works well for sandwiches and salads.

Whip up a batch the next time your out of your favorite jar, or if you just need a good one arm workout.

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Olive Oil Mayonnaise
adapted from Good Eats

1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
A pinch of sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil

In a glass bowl, combine the egg yolk and dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice and vinegar.

Whisk half of lemon and vinegar with egg yolk mixture until blended and then start whisking oil in drips into the egg mixture until it starts to thicken into an emulsion. Increase the stream of oil while you continue to whisk vigorously (you may sweat a little), making sure not to add the oil too quickly. Once all the oil is added, you should have a nice, creamy but soft mayo. Let sit for a couple of hours at room temperature, then refrigerate.

Burgers, Anyone?

Once you kill a cow you got to make a burger. –Lady Gaga

What’s the best burger you have ever eaten? And please don’t say McDonald’s, Wendy’s or some other fast food franchise mess. In our opinion, those places are garbage pits. To us, the best burgers are the ones we cook at home. Why? Because we know what’s in them and we have a special ingredient that makes them the best they can be–Butter. We don’t fry them in butter, we add a small pat, about a tablespoon, in the center of the burger and then press a little indentation in the top of the rounded patty with our thumb so the burger will cook more evenly. Since it’s difficult for us to barbecue at our apartment, we use a grill pan to fry them up. Grilled for 3-4 minutes on each side, we end up with a medium rare burger. Since the burger meat we use is grass-fed, and from only one cow, we’re not worried about getting salmonella. If we were to purchase hamburger meat in the grocery store we would cook it longer, until it’s well-done. The reason for the well-done burger is that there are so many cows being made into hamburger meat and because it’s all mixed together if even one cow in the bunch is sick it will ruin hundreds, even thousands of pounds of meat—not a pleasant thought but true. Even with a well-done burger though, the little butter trick gives it a little extra fat so it doesn’t get completely dried out.

Burger toppings can be anything your heart desires, but for a really nice burger try caramelized onions and blue cheese. If you want something traditional there’s always that big slice of real cheddar cheese. Throw on some crisp bacon, sautéed mushrooms and barbecue sauce and it’s a big messy feast. This 4th of July, however you top your burger, try the “butter in the middle” tip. It will keep your burger nice and juicy even if you use store bought hamburger, and if you do, make sure you cook it until it’s well done!