September 16, 2008

Let's Get Saucy

I found myself with a lot of time to spend in the kitchen last week. I guess that’s because I’m still looking for a job … and I pretty much have no commitments.

This time translated into a lot of recipes getting made. On top of all the aforementioned sandwiches, I was a regular Betty Crocker in the kitchen. (Although, did you know Betty Crocker never existed? Crazy.)

I decided to get all homey and whip up my own mayonnaise to go on our sandwiches. Then I wanted to use some of the tiny, soft apples we bought at the market to make applesauce. And then, well, we just had so many avocados hanging around the kitchen that the only thing to do was make guacamole.

I probably made more recipes in one week than I’ve ever made in my life. It was great, and best of all, everything was delicious.

Ooh, and there are more coming. We haven’t even gotten to the baked goods yet.

(All recipes are from Deborah Madison's cookbook.)


I had never made applesauce before and it’s so easy and sooo delish. Make it, today.

3 pounds apples, quartered

Honey or sugar

Fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, cardamom, or allspice or a pinch of ground cloves, optional

Peel and core the apples, then quarter. Put them in a pot, add 1/3 cup water, cover securely, and cook (over low-medium heat) until the apples are completely tender an mostly broken down into a sauce, about 20 minutes. Taste and sweeten with honey if the sauce is tart or add the lemon juice if the apples are too sweet. Add the spices. Simmer for 5 minutes, then cool. (Feel free to mash the apples up a bit with a fork to make a smoother sauce. That’s what I did.)

Basic Mayonnaise

I always thought making mayonnaise was extremely tricky. Turns out it’s not. Who knew? And it tastes so much better than the store-bought kind. If you make it by hand, the only annoying thing is you have to stand there holding a measuring cup for about 15 minutes and whisking with your other hand as you pour the oil in drop by drop. That’s why it did it in the blender for my second batch, and it still turned out great. But if you really want to challenge yourself, here are the instructions by hand as well.

1 large egg yolk at room temperature (make sure the egg is fresh)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or tarragon vinegar

¾ cup peanut oil or mild olive oil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

By Hand: Rinse a 1-quart bowl with hot water and dry and set it on the counter with a towel wrapper tightly around the base to keep it stable. Add the egg yolk and whisk it vigorously back and forth until thick and sticky, then stir in the mustard, a pinch of salt, and the lemon juice. Whisk in the oil by droplets until the egg and oil have begun to thicken (when one-third to one-half the oil has been added), then whisk in the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream. Add the extra-virgin oil at the end and season to taste with additional salt and a little lemon juice. To thin, whisk in lemon juice or vinegar by drops or 1 to 2 tablespoons boiling water as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In the blender: Put a whole egg, the mustard, and a pinch of salt in the blender with ¼ cup oil and turn it on. Add the remaining oil in a steady stream (be careful, it will spray a bit) until all is incorporated, then add the lemon juice.


1/3 cup finely diced white onion or scallion, including some of the green

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

1 to 2 serrano chiles, finely diced


Three large avocados, preferably Haas

Juice of 1 or 2 limes

Set aside a few tablespoons of the onion, cilantro and tomato for garnish (Or don’t, if you plan on eating this yourself instead of serving it right away). Grind or chop the remaining onion, cilantro and chile with ½ teaspoon salt to make a rough paste. Peel and mash the avocado with a fork. Add the onion mixture and tomatoes and season with lime juice and salt to taste.

If you’re not serving the guacamole right away, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep it from browning. To serve, heap the guacamole into a bowl and garnish with the reserved onion, cilantro and tomato.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Well, I knew Betty Crocker was a marketing gimmick, and so is Aunt Jemima.

It's funny how it says "Basic Mayonnaise" directly below the photo of applesauce. My first thought was, what the hell??

I used to make applesauce with the aid of a food mill (do you remember it?). This way you don't have to peel or core the apples. Just cut them up and cook them; then place in the food mill, which you crank with one hand over a bowl. The seeds and skin stay in the top and the lovely sauce falls in the bowl. I must look for it and make some applesauce too!
love, Mom