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March 15, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Which came first? The yolk or the white

If you do a lot of baking or dessert making, like I do, you might have a large amount of egg yolks on your hands. There are many recipes, like my New Zealand Pavlova, that call for the egg whites, but not the yolks.

Don’t dump the yolks, because for every recipe that calls for egg whites, there is one that calls for yolks.

Like what? How about hollandaise sauce? It’s a whipped emulsion of yolks and butter, with a bit of acid like lemon juice or vinegar.

A slight twist on hollandaise is béarnaise sauce – warm yolks blended with butter, vinegar reduction, onions and tarragon.

Even better, you could make homemade mayonnaise. Yes, make your own mayonnaise!

Why? Mainly because it tastes much better than mayonnaise from a jar, but also because store-bought versions have preservatives and are made with soybean oil.

Unfortunately, most of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. And unless you are buying organic mayonnaise this is almost unavoidable.

When I make mayonnaise, I use extra virgin olive oil. Recently, I discovered the Kroger brand, Simple Truth Organic, and, even better, it’s a great value and is made from quality Italian olives. Often, we overlook the organic items because we expect them to be expensive, but this brand offers organic products with comparable prices.

Making your own mayonnaise is easier than you think. And it’s a good ingredient for so many things, not just as a sandwich spread.

Here are some different ways to use your homemade mayonnaise. It’s a simple base for so many sauces.

Tartar Sauce: Mayonnaise mixed with chopped onions, capers, gherkins and parsley

Cocktail Sauce: Mayonnaise, Worcestershire, tomato sauce

Aioli: Mayonnaise thinned with more extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chopped, roasted garlic

Creamy Vinaigrette: Add a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise to your favorite vinaigrette dressing

Mayonnaise is an essential ingredient in many salads and hors d’oeuvres. Just think what a difference homemade mayonnaise would make in the flavor or your chicken, potato or egg salad. All of your friends will rave about how good it tastes and ask for your secret ingredient. Tell them if you want, or not, but always accept their praises.

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