Is Lent a good time to write a love letter to one’s vices? … I’ll take that as a “maybe,” which works, because one of mine happens to be being inappropriate. So here we go.
–Intervention marathons on Netflix for HOURS (time isn’t wasted if you’re knitting, too). I love you. Thanks for all the fun facts about drugs.
–Teen Mom. Teenagers? Bad decisions and even worse attitudes? Sleveless AND sideless t-shirts? Sold. Sold so much.
–Jersey Shore. 30something-year-olds? Bad decisions and even worse attitudes? Sold again. So hard.
–Buffalo hot sauce, you’re the most beautiful neon-colored preservative sludge I’ve ever seen. Buffalo sauce, don’t ever change (unless the FDA tells you to).
Speaking of preservative-laden goopy things: Do you like ranch? I enjoy it occasionally, mostly with equally terrible fried things (especially if there’s also buffalo sauce). So, this is a science project. We’re demystifying this stuff, by making it entirely from things that, though not quiiiite healthy, are at least recognizably food. This is the kind of ranch you could give to Michael Pollan as a gift.
Also, as if that weren’t good enough news, it’s SO DELICIOUS!
It wouldn’t be Pollan-friendly if we didn’t make mayonnaise from scratch. Technology is here to save us… Mostly our fragile little modern arms from all the whisking. I wonder how much time has been spent, in the history of civilization, whisking oil and egg and lemon juice into mayonnaise. It was probably worth it.
With a blender or food processor, all that’s really required of you is adding the oil–steadily and slowly!
Luscious, velvety smooth, sweet sweet mayo. In high school history class, the guy who sat behind me would eat mayonnaise straight out of the little packets… You’d think (hope) that people forget these things. I do, most of the time. But I didn’t forget about the mayo… Sorry, Mayonnaise Guy.
Phase two: Gather everything for sweet, sweet, velvety smooth ranch dressing!
This is all real food, and real delicious. Soon to be whisked by human hands. No gums, -ites, -ates or syrups of any kind!
Both condiments will keep in the fridge for about a week, although I put some mayonnaise in my tuna sandwich about three weeks later and lived to tell about it. (Obviously, we’re not particularly big on mayo around here, but the ranch disappeared much more quickly.)
1 cup homemade mayonnaise, recipe follows
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup or so buttermilk (to desired consistency)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce (optional but awesome)
Crush garlic clove with the side of your knife and mince, then sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and use a fork to mash into a paste. Dump into a mixing bowl and add everything else, except for the buttermilk, and stir to combine. Stir in buttermilk until the mixture reaches the consistency you’d like (go thicker for dipping sauce and thinner for salad dressing). Serve well-chilled.
(recipe from Alton Brown)
(Raw egg note: Don’t do this if you’re worried about salmonella or other food-borne illnesses. To reduce the risk, Food Network says you should ”…use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.” )
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pinches sugar
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil, safflower or corn (I used a 50/50 blend of canola and Greek extra-virgin olive oils)
Dump all ingredients except for oil in a blender or food processor; pulse until well combined. Turn blender or processor on at a medium-highish speed and add the oil in a slow and steady stream (stop as needed to scrape down the sides).