30 August 2011

Day 12: No Pain, No Mayo

I discovered a new workout: hand-whipping mayonnaise. It's better than the Lap-Band at toning the shoulders, plus it comes with the bonus of having mayonnaise to slather on sandwiches or dip fries in, if you're a kooky European-type person who's into that kind of thing.

I'm actually not much of a mayo person unless it's an aioli, which I learned is simply basic mayo made with olive oil, plus garlic. Which, yes, I have enjoyed whilst eating some lovely, crispy fries.

After my recent hollandaise fail, I was concerned I'd also screw up the mayo. Thankfully, mayonnaise needs no cooking, just the ability to stream oil into a bowl while whisking as if the continued rotation of the Earth, and by extension life itself, depended on one's ability to emulsify egg yolks with oil.

I actually went lefty because it took so long and my shoulder started to hurt, but the result is much tastier than store-bought mayo and head-and-shoulders better than Miracle Whip, which I'm pretty sure contains neither miracles nor whip. I'm starting to think, in the culinary world, pain and taste are never too far apart.
Vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, oil. Whisk until arm falls off. Voilà.
We also watched our chef instructor make two different roux for two different sauces; white roux for béchamel, blond roux for velouté. While I've made roux and béchamel a few times in the past, I did learn a good rule of thumb for roux: after mixing the fat (e.g. butter) and the flour together, a proper roux should have the consistency of wet sand.

Velouté and béchamel sauces.
Another neat little factoid is the difference between a gravy and a sauce. A gravy utilizes natural fat, like pan drippings from a roasted turkey, while a sauce uses butter or lard. Sure, that's not the type of information that makes one a genius cook, but it's one of those things that always gnawed at me, like the difference between a stock and broth.

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