For my first post I'll start with a favourite that many people don't know how to make easily. Half the work in good cooking is having good sauces to put on things, so we always start with them. Whenever I hear the word "Mayonnaise", in the back of my mind I instinctively think "egg and oil sauce" 'cause that's exactly all it is.
Nothing beats hand made mayonnaise, the stuff in jars just isn't the dish. Once you can make it, you can try some of the derivatives listed here.
Using a Stab Mixer and a small jug you can do this with the below technique in a minute, it's one of my favourite magic tricks.
The basic rules of mayonnaise are:
1) the ratio is always 1 egg to one cup oil.
2) it needs an emulsifier.
3. it needs flavour.
* One egg
* One cup (250ml) good oil
* One largish teaspoon Dijon mustard.
* 1 tsp Good White Wine Vinegar
* 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
* Salt and White Pepper
Be prepared, this is quite a shock when it first works, it happens very quickly, but following these instructions to the letter a child can do it.
1) Pour the oil into a one litre plastic jug, or the beaker that comes with the stab mixer. Note that the jug or beaker probably has measurements on the side, use them to save cleaning up measuring things.
2. Crack the egg straight into the oil, being careful not to break the yolk, landing in the oil should cushion it's fall. Remove any shell at this point.
3. Add everything else, try and get the mustard next to the yolk.
4. This is the magic part. Leaving it switched off place the stab mixer right down to the bottom of the jug so that the cup that covers the blades completely covers the egg yolk and mustard.
Now activate it (whatever speed, we don't care) and slowly pull it up to the top of the oil.
If everything has worked for you, you should have a jug of mayonnaise before your eyes, go up and down a couple of times to catch any oil that was not mixed in.
5. If it worked for you the most important thing to do now is to taste it and add more vinegar and lemon juice as you see fit.
This sauce contains fresh, raw egg, so it must be refrigerated. Ironically my favourite thing to keep it in is a re-used mayonnaise jar... One with a plastic screw on lid will be easiest to keep clean, so buy a jar of the best you can find, eat it then compare it to what you make here. Make sure you wash it very well between uses. You'll find that for price and taste hand made is way better. Keep it for about a week.
The mustard acted as an emulsifier, joining the water from the egg to the oil, and making that creamy sauce everybody loves.
Dill Aioli / Ranch Dressing
Make the Mayonnaise listed opposite, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and as much fresh dill as you like. I like a lot, so that would be a good handful. You can cheat and add some dried dill as well, but make sure there is some fresh stuff there, the flavour is completely different, and you don't have to wait for the fresh stuff to rehydrate before it's not gritty.
Blue Cheese and Basil Dressing
Put half a cup (125g) of your favourite blue cheese into a coffee cup, half fill the cup with water and microwave for about 45 seconds. The cheese should go soft and the water warm.
Add this, water and all, with a bunch of fresh basil to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over with the stab mixer again. You should end up with something you can pour over a salad. Try rocket and/or baby spinach, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes, sliced in half. It doesn't need many ingredients.
Add three anchovies and half a cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over again with the stab mixer.
Now you know what's in it, you can understand why cooks everywhere are driven mad by people who ask for their Caesar Salad with "No Anchovies" - if the person is allergic to fish they will still be eating them in the sauce. If you think you like Caesar Salads but don't like the anchovies, think again - now you know you've been eating them all along :-)
To the to the mayonnaise made opposite stir in about 2 tsp finely chopped capers and gherkins, about 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, the finely grated rind of one lemon. I also like to add some red capsicum, slightly less finely chopped, to give it some colour and freshness.
This is the best stuff for sticking chips into. Add a big teaspoon of wasabi paste or powder to the mayonnaise noting that the powder is quite a bit stronger. You might like the wasabi flavour it a bit weaker, so add a bit, taste it and repeat until you have what you like.
Also note the powder will need to be mixed (with the mixer) a lot more, and may well need a tablespoon or two of water, as it's very dry. A lump of wasabi powder will ruin the experience of whatever you put it on.
I would keep adding wasabi until it's quite a bright green, it should have a kick.