August 23, 2010

A Letter to Sam & Ella. An Apology to Everybody. And Mayonnaise.

First, my letter to Sam & Ella:

Dear Sam & Ella,
Please go away. Please leave all of the chickens alone so that people can eat their eggs without worry.
Homegrown Countrygirl

Next, my apology:

Dear Everybody,
I am sorry that I am posting a raw egg recipe in the midst of one of the greatest egg recalls of all time. I must have lost my mind. Please, please forgive me.
Homegrown Countrygirl

At least this nationwide egg fiasco gives us a chance to talk about something...

If you have the opportunity to raise a few of your own hens, give them plenty of space. Take good care of them. Feed them well. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water. Keep the hen house clean. Wash your hands after handling your chickens. Practice good common sense. And relax. Sam & Ella will probably never visit you.

Salmonella is most likely to show up in eggs from chickens that are kept in overcrowded conditions... the kind of conditions where the chickens are jammed up next to each other in small cages, they can't spread their wings, they may be hungry and thirsty because they can't get to their food and water, and they never see the outdoors...

... the kind of conditions that we don't like to think about when we pick up that Styrofoam container of eggs in the supermarket.

Unfortunately we don't all have the opportunity to raise our own hens.

Sometimes you can find homegrown eggs at a farmer's market. Or you may be able to locate some country folk selling their own home raised eggs. Or you might be able to find a small independent egg producer through Local Harvest. You might even get to tour the hen house and meet the chickens who are laying those eggs.

If you can find a reputable source of fresh salmonella free eggs, where you like the living conditions of the hens you have met, then you might want to make your own mayonnaise. It only takes a few minutes and it's not at all difficult to do. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

The trick is to prop your mayonnaise making bowl up on a small folded towel. This is a very high tech procedure, as you can see here:

Here's another view of it:

Drop an egg (yolk only) into the bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. (In the bowl above: one egg yolk and one teaspoon of lemon juice.)

Add whatever spices you might like in your mayonnaise. I like to add add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper.

Whisk the yolk, lemon juice, and spices together briefly with your wire whisk so that it looks frothy.

Measure and set aside 1/2 cup of oil. I usually use canola oil.

Add 1 teaspoon of the measured oil to your frothy egg.


Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.

(I find that it is easiest to just move the whisk back and forth across the deepest part of the bowl rather than trying to whisk in a circular motion.)

Add another teaspoon of oil.


Keep adding 1 teaspoon of oil at a time, whisking a great deal in between.

After a few minutes (seriously, just about 3 minutes) the mixture will start to firm up. Keep adding the oil, one teaspoon at a time, whisking in between, until the mixture is the consistency you want. At this time you can add a few teaspoons at a time.

Keep adding oil (whisking back and forth in between additions of oil) until the whole 1/2 cup of measured oil is added.

Wah-lah! You've made mayonnaise!

The whole process only takes about 10 minutes. It's not THAT much hand whisking.

Yes. It is quite yellow. Our chickens make eggs that have very yellow yolks.

If you'd rather use an electric beater, follow the exact same process. Just use the electric beater instead of whisking.

I find that the mayonnaise seems glossier, or waxier, when I use an electric beater. I like the consistency of the hand whisked mayonnaise better.

The entire list of ingredients to make mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
a sprinkle of salt & pepper or any other spices
1/2 cup oil

Now I think I need to write another letter...

Dear All Cardiologists,
I am sorry for promoting cholesterol but I really can't control myself. This mayonnaise is really good. Would you like to try some?
Best Wishes,
Homegrown Countrygirl

No comments: