For the longest time, I had no idea how they make mayonnaise, much less what it actually was. Turns out it’s just egg, oil, salt and lemon juice. Making it is just as easy, and it’s so much better than the stuff you buy at the store
For this you probably want a food processor. Those are well worth the money in my opinion, and probably the most used appliance after the fridge and stove.
First, crack an egg in the bowl, and add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Turn on the food processor. With it running, SLOWLY drizzle in 3/4 cup of oil in. How slow? Just barely above it dripping. It takes a few minutes, but you’ll see it change to the familiar white colour and thickness of mayonnaise.
You can have fun with this recipe too. You can use flavoured oils for different tastes, or substitute the lemon juice for different types of vinegar for interesting accents. Curry is my favourite spice to add, while rice vinegar is a really nice flavour.
Disclaimer: OK, you are dealing with raw egg here. You want fresh eggs from the store, and you don’t want to keep the mayonnaise more than a week. If that worries you, don’t make it.
This one surprised me. I figured there was some long and complicated process to make vanilla extract. Turns out, not really. All you need is vanilla beans ($5 for two) and vodka (any brand is fine.)
To make extract, you need a jar that holds a cup of liquid. I used an empty mason jar. Split one vanilla bean in half, and scrape the seeds out. Put the pod and seeds in the jar. Now gently heat 1 cup of vodka on the stove. Warm to the touch is about as hot as it needs to be. Pour it in the jar with the vanilla and seal.
I’ve read various times to let it sit, from one week to six months, so I let it sit for a month. I also gave it a shake every time I went in my cupboards to stir it up a little. After the month, strain it out and use as needed. You may see little seeds in the liquid still, but that’s fine. You won’t notice them, and they add a nice accent if you use the vanilla in white frostings.
As far as taste goes, I think it’s better. Smooth would be the word I use. You will notice a difference in your baked goods, and for the better I think. Because it’s mostly vodka there is no extra taste, and it will last for years.
Pesto sounds so posh, but like many things it’s not a complicated product. Pesto is a little like mayonnaise without the egg. It’s a mixture of 2.5 cups basil, 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, two cloves garlic, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, pinch of salt, and olive oil. Fresh basil is a must here, but it’s relatively easy to find in the summer at farmers’ markets.
You just mix everything together except the oil in a food processor, and then drizzle the oil in with it running. I freeze the finished pesto in an ice cube tray for easy portion sizes, and pop them into a freezer bag when solid. Then just thaw as needed
Taste wise, hands down it’s better than the store stuff. You just can’t beat fresh versus the shelf-stabilized stuff, and it’s much cheaper to make.
Pesto is great for pasta, pizza, sandwiches, chicken and a whole list of other things.
This one is cheating a bit since it doesn’t come ready made as such, just ready grown. I used to think gardening was an “all or nothing” type activity though, and green onions proved me wrong.
So here’s what you do: Fine green onions at the store with roots still attached and healthy looking. Cut off the bottom two or three inches of the green onion. Plant them in some soil. Water them when the soil looks dry, and… well that’s just about it really.
They don’t need direct sunlight, though they do grow a little faster if you have it. I’ve got six in a pot now, and it takes less than a week for them to grow to a nice height. Cut them down, and they just grow back.
They’re mostly the same as the ones in the store as well. I say mostly, because the stalks seem to be softer (good) and the taste milder (less good). However the milder taste is offset by the fact that store ones can be hit or miss in terms of quality, and, well, the ones in my pot are free.