mayonnaise musings

I think I need a muse. It appears that I’ve become so distracted by “my life” that when I’m actually able to carve out a little time for “my self” I’m at a loss. I need inspiration, a creative catalyst, a bit of meaningful illumination. Seriously, I think a muse is the answer. (And just for future reference, if you should one day decide to search ‘creative muse’ on Craigslist be prepared to be surprised.) Okay, so back to my slump… I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for a new post ever since my last one two months ago. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, frankly the cooking is the easy part, it’s that I haven’t had the time to test, photograph and come up with a few snappy lines about the amazing thing I just made. So instead I’ve been pondering and considering, waiting for the ‘spirit of the whisk’ (not a real thing but it should be) to transcend upon me and simply biding my time until it does. After all you can’t rush transcendence.

I was standing in my kitchen the other morning drinking coffee and checking email when the strangest idea popped into my head: “I should really make mayonnaise.” That was it, nothing more. “Huh… Should I?” I thought to myself. I’ve made plenty of perfectly-good-as-store-bought-but-took-the-time-to-make-anyway condiments in the past (including Hollandaise the fancy cousin of mayo), so why not mayonnaise. Why not?

As it happens at the same time I was have my little egg and oil emulsification epiphany the NY Times was running a recipe for Classic Deviled Eggs written by the same co-author of the cookbook I based my mayonnaise recipe on; Sheila Lukins. Was my food processor a portal to the after life? Was Shelia trying to tell me to keep on truckin’? The answer remains unclear, but then you already know my stance on rushing the mystical, her mayonnaise however was a thing of ethereal beauty.

Simple Homemade Mayonnaise
You can totally adjust the tang of this mayo by playing with the amount of lemon juice you use.


2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in the bowl of a food processor and allow to run for 1 minute.
  2. With the motor still running slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube, allowing the eggs and oil to emulsify. Scrape down the sides, pulse a few more times then transfer into a airtight container. Store in the refrigerator, it will keep for 5 days.

*adapted from the new basics cookbook



Play-Doh Trickery

My daughter likes to play with play-doh. And by that I mean she LOVES play-doh. I on the other hand do not particularly enjoy it (which is of course ironic since I majored in sculpture in college). But I like to see my children happy so when she asks to take it out I usually agree and become the official play-doh pancake maker/spaghetti cutter.

I’ve seen recipes for homemade play-doh before and I’ve always thought to myself “Why bother? The folks at Hasbro do a fine job.” Well I’ll tell you why; good ‘ol fashioned girl-time time dammit. I’m always trying to entice my daughter to spend a little quality time baking with me, but the minute the measuring is done she’s off to smother the dog, annoy her brother or get herself into some “Santa’s not going to bring you any presents” kind of trouble. However, since she’s the type of little lady who’s never met a craft she doesn’t love, I imagined that making play-doh might actually hold her interest for more than 5 minutes. We could whip up a batch and then we (she) could play with it till her heart’s content. Kinda like cooking, kinda like crafting, kinda like tricking her into enjoying my company. Ha ha, score one point for Mom!

This play-doh recipe was crazy simple to make, required ingredients that most everyone already has on hand and went from slop in a saucepan to dolphins, pancakes and outrageous orange spaghetti in no time flat. If you’re looking for a way to occupy a few hours one afternoon I highly recommend making play-doh. Then kick back with a little online shopping or that book you’ve been wanting to read while the kids enjoy their creation.

Homemade Play-doh
You can make this play-doh in just about any color you can imagine. We decided to go with green, orange and blue.

new play-doh

1 cup water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
food coloring*
1 cup flour

  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food coloring in a saucepan and heat 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s warm.
  2. Remove from heat and add the flour, stir until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a cutting board and knead until fully blended and smooth. (The dough will be quite hot so it should be kneaded carefully and by an adult.)
  3. Form the finished dough into a ball and let cool for 5 minutes before exploring your creative side. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

To make orange = 10 drops red food coloring 14 drops yellow
To make blue = 20 drops blue food coloring + 3 drops red
To make green = 15 drops green food coloring + 5 drops blue

*adapted from family education