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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.

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Red Onions: Quick Pickled Red Onions

Our pantry is well stocked, most of the time, and that means we have a variety of aromatic veggies – onions (yellow and red), shallots, leeks (in season), garlic, fresh ginger – at our reach in the kitchen. Onions are so foundational in savory cooking that most dishes start off with the simple step of sautéing-minced onions. However, we really love pickled red onions at the moment, so no cooking is required in this recipe.

Red onions are best raw. They’re fine cooked, they’re onions, and if we need them for a dish and we’re out of the yellow ones, reds work. But the beauty of red onions is in the bright color and the mild, crisp flesh. We prefer them sliced thin when eating them raw (easier to control how much you’re getting in each bite). But if we’re grilling them, they’re easiest to handle when cut into thick slices or quarter wedges.

We eat onions because they’re delicious. As it turns out, they’re also good for us. Full of heart-healthy sulfides, onions may aid in lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Chemicals in onions also promote healthy gut bacteria and may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Onions are anti-inflammatory and a great source of vitamin C. A cup of chopped onions contains about 64 calories, so eat up.

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Pickled Red Onions

Use the red onions to top tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads, or to garnish hors d’oeuvres.

1 large red onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Using a mandolin, or a knife, slice the onion very thin, then add to a non-reactive bowl and cover with vinegar. Marinate for at least an hour at room temperature before using. Pickled onions will last a good while in the refrigerator in an airtight container.