Monthly Archives: November 2014

Home Made Mayonnaise


I made some mayonnaise the other day, and was about to do something rude to myself, cause I realized, that this is so much better than any commercial mayonnaise, and why haven’t I been making this more often?

Have you ever tried making some?   I guarantee you, it’s not hard, and the taste and texture, well, hands down I think it’s better than most commercial brands.

And with an immersion blender, so dang easy to make, I’m kicking myself I haven’t made it for myself in a long time.  And when you make your own, you can customize it, however you like.   I like mine a little on the lemony side, but sometimes I like garlic or tarragon or an herby kind of mayo.

But for your basic old mayonnaise, this is the way to go.

Just 4 basic ingredients and I bet you have them all in your house.

Recipe:
1 Egg yolk
1 teaspoon Lemon juice (half a lemon works well here)
1 cup mild Oil (I like using a bland vegetable oil, but have made it with olive oil in the past, but it takes on the flavour of the oil)

1 teaspoon Mustard

That’s it.

I have to add in a caveat here, I love my immersion blender, especially the little whisk that came with it.    I use it a lot.

First off.   Separate an egg, set the white aside, you can always add it to the omelette or freeze it or do what I did, which was add it to the dog food I was making.

Sorry got sidetracked there.

Place the egg yolk in a beaker, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a little mustard.  I used some Grey Poupon Country grind, about 1/2 tsp. (sorry I didn’t measure too carefully).

Whisk the egg yolk mixture together, you’ll notice it thickening up a little, well, OK a lot.  Then start drizzling the oil in, just a drop or two to begin with.
Then the magic happens.

It starts to look a little thicker, and as you add more oil, drops at a time, it all comes together.  After you’ve managed to get about half the oil in the beaker, then you can drizzle the oil in, whisking it continually.
That’s the trick, continually whisking as you’re pouring in the oil.  And drizzle the oil in very slowly.

And after you’ve got the whole cup of oil incorporated, you end up with this luscious, velvety, smooth concoction called Mayonnaise.

Which you can use how you use regular mayonnaise, cause, umm, gee, this is real mayonnaise.

Couple of hints here.
I did say it’s been a long time since I’ve made mayonnaise, and I ‘broke’ it.  Which means it started to separate, which is not what you want it to do.
But I rescued it.
I added a tablespoon of hot tap water, whisked it through just a tad and the mayo got reacquainted and made up.
Just a little trick to keep in mind.
And if you have access to pasteurized eggs, go ahead and use them if you’re concerned with any kind of salmonella contamination.   You are using an uncooked egg yolk here, and don’t feed it to anyone who maybe be immune compromised, you know the drill.

Home made mayonnaise will keep for about three days in the fridge, but mine never lasts that long, it gets eaten.

****BTW****  Is your turkey in the fridge thawing yet?  It’s not too early to haul it out of the freezer and stick in the fridge to start thawing.    Remember for every 4 lbs. of turkey, you need to have it in the fridge for 24 hours.    So that 20 lb. turkey needs to go in the fridge today.

Nutty Persimmon Cake


Nutty Persimmon Cake

It’s that time of the year, and Persimmons are ripe and ready.   You can see them on the trees, these bright orange globes, just hanging, waiting to be picked, eaten and savoured.I stopped by a friends house the other day, and went home with a big bag of Persimmons.   They weren’t quite ripe yet, but were getting close.

The one on the left is ripe, the one on the right is not.

The kind I got was the Hachiya which are best eaten ripe, cause otherwise you pucker right up from the tannins and that’s not fun.  They’re very astringent in other words, when they’re unripe.

It’s really fun to have them sit on the counter and ripen, cause you can tell, just by looking at them when they’re ripe.    The orange globes deepen in color and get totally translucent.   At which point, “THEY’RE RIPE” and need to be eaten or frozen to eat later on.   And they really do feel like filled water balloons when you pick them up.   And so easy to get the pulp out.  Just cut off the top, or twist the calyx off, then use a spoon to scoop it out into a bowl.

Just use your immersion blender to whip it up.

(I bet you can use these in smoothies as well.)

At any rate, I wanted to find a recipe to make with them.   So I googled and read and disseminated a bunch of recipes.   I found this recipe but didn’t want to go out and buy more stuff, and I really only wanted one cake.  I also wanted to use up some of the supplies I had in the cupboard.    So I modified and played with it, and this is what I came up with.   And I found out that most of the recipes had booze in them as well, and gee, guess what, I had booze in my cupboard as well.

The whole process of putting the cake together was kinda fun as well, cause you put the wet ingredients into the dry, which is basically how you can make muffins.

I vacillated between making one cake or a bunch of cupcakes as well.  And ended up baking it in an 8 inch square glass pan.

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan, set aside.
2 cups self rising flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup American Honey bourbon
11/2 cups persimmon puree  (from 3 ripe persimmons)
6 oz. chopped walnuts
1 cup fruit cake mix or dried fruit of your choice, chopped

Sift flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, add the fruit cake mix or dried fruit, set aside.

Mix the melted butter, persimmon puree, bourbon, eggs together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour the liquids into the well.

Mix until just combined.

Pour into greased pan.  Bake for about an hour, I checked for doneness after 45 minutes, using a toothpick, and gave it another 15 minutes.

Tip out onto a cooling rack after about 10 minutes and let it cool.

**I sprinkled some Turbinado sugar in the bottom of the greased pan before I poured in the batter.   And it did make a lovely caramelized bottom for the cake.

I made a cream cheese frosting for the top, and piped it onto each slice.

Topping:
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff  (7 oz)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons American Honey Bourbon

Mix together, and taste.  Pipe or spread onto the cooled cake and serve.

When a recipe calls for sifted confectioners sugar, they do mean to sift it before adding it to the frosting.  I had to ‘push’ my frosting through a sieve to get the lumps out.

sigh.

I was just going to take the whole cake, let people cut a slice and then top it themselves with the frosting, but decided at the last minute that I could cut it at home, and then I took the frosting with me in a piping bag and piped it onto the cakes at Boat Club.

And that worked quite well.

I think this cake would be totally awesome served warm with some spiced whipped cream as well.

And guess what, I still have some persimmons left, and as soon as they ripen, they’ll be residing in the freezer until the next time I make this cake.   And I will make it again.

Sugar Cookies


 

Go ahead, tell me that everyone has a sugar cookie recipe that they think is the best.

I won’t argue with you, I’ll just keep making this particular recipe, my way.

Actually this past week was the first time I ever made sugar cookies.

Shocked?

I was, when I started thinking about it.   I’ve never felt the need to make them.  Everyone else makes sugar cookies and decorates them, you can buy the mix, or the pre made, slice and bake cookies, so why would I bother trying my hand at them?

I’m going to bother making them, now.   I started out making a recipe with the Mandarin Fused Olive Oil, then I graduated.

I decided to go online, and searched through my cookbooks trying to find the ‘ultimate’ recipe.
I found lots of recipes, they were all pretty basic.  Some were drop cookies, and others you had to roll out the dough.

But I was searching for one particular recipe.  A friend of mine used to make one with Sour Cream in it, and hers were so good.  But Renée is no longer with us, so I couldn’t call her up and ask for the recipe.

I want to say I made the cookies this way, because I liked hers better than most.

Recipe:

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound)
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons Kahlua  (or some of your or my home made Vanilla Extract)
3 tablespoons Sour Cream
2 1/2 -3 cups good all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (if you are using unsalted butter, if not, omit the salt)
Powdered sugar for rolling out.

Sift all dry ingredients together, and set aside.  If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using salted butter, omit the salt.

Cream the butter, sugar together until light and fluffy, then cream it some more.  Let your stand mixer do the work if you can.   Add the egg and continue to cream, then add the Kahlua and the sour cream.   Continue to mix until they are all incorporated.  Then add half the flour, mix and add the rest.  You will have a very soft batter/dough at this point.  If you feel it is too soft, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.  Take out of bowl, and dump onto a cutting sheet, and divide it into quarters, wrap well, and place in fridge for at least an hour to rest.

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

Grab the powdered sugar out of the cupboard and sift onto the surface where you will be rolling out the dough.

Take one portion of the dough out and roll out thinly, using enough of the powdered sugar to keep it from sticking too much.   Cut into desired shapes and place onto a silpat or parchment covered cooking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, turn the pan around, bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until they are just browned a little.   Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack.  Continue with the rest of the dough until all the cookies are baked.

I got the hint for using powdered sugar from Alton Brown on Food Network, and will never use flour to roll out my sugar cookies again.  The powdered sugar gave them a lovely little crispness and crunch.

Home Made Snaps or Schnapps


As you may have figured out by now, I’m Danish.

Yup, I am.

You figured it out?

Oh, OK.

At any rate, as I’ve posted here before I love my Rye Bread and Herring, and I don’t think I’ve met a Smørrebrød yet that I didn’t like either.

But for myself,  as for a lot of Danes, one of the key elements of a good smorgasbord is not only Beer, but Snaps, Schnapps, Aquavit, or Akvavit.  Doesn’t matter how you spell it. Or even say it.

Also known as ‘water of life’.   Which might be a little bit of exaggeration.

Nah.

My favourite Akvavit is Jubilaeums, by Aalborg, but since Danish Distillers was sold, it apparently is not imported into the US anymore. I can buy the Taffel Akvavit here, but I have to admit to liking the flavour of Jubilaeums better and since I can’t buy it, I decided to try my hand at making some, or at least flavouring a good potato based, in other words, neutral, vodka with some Dill, Anise and other spices.   There is a website I looked at for ideas, here and they had all kinds of ideas.  So many ideas…

But, I wanted to see if I could recreate or at least approximate the taste of my favourite.

So here’s what I did back in July.

I managed to get the last seed head from my dill plant (the rest had been eaten by the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars), placed that in the jar, added coriander and some star anise.  Sealed it up tight, put it in the cupboard and managed to keep my lips off of it for a couple of months.

It is now the most gorgeous amber colored liquid.   And it tastes good too.

I did taste test it.   I had to.

It is now residing in my freezer, waiting…

I think I see a nice piece of Smørrebrød in my near future along with a glass of snaps as well.

*** I have to add, that in my search for Jubiliaeums Akvavit I did find a distiller here in the US who makes a version that they say is similar to Jubilaeums.  It is called Gamle Ode, and they produce a variety of Snaps.  Now, I haven’t tried it, but…. Here’s a link to their website, and if you’re in Minnesota, or Wisconsin or any of the other places they distribute it to, go ahead and try it.