Sunday, April 27, 2008

Signs of Spring

Signs of spring are showing up all around us. And then it snowed. Still - asparagus & artichokes are in grocery stores and the April issue of Bon App├ętit is in my mailbox.

I had Molly Wizenberg's "Mayo Clinic" article dog-eared for sometime. I love homemade mayonnaise and loved her essay about the stuff. All I needed was an excuse to make it.

My friend Maria was coming over, so I picked up a couple artichokes - amongst other things - and planned to try out the mayo recipe for myself.

My experience with homemade mayo has been that you want to measure out the oil carefully and use a neutral oil - like Canola.

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 salt
3/4 Canola oil

Combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and the salt in a medium bowl. Whisk by hand until blended and bright yellow. About 30 seconds. Gradually add the remaining oil (I like a squeeze bottle) and whisk constantly until the mayonnaise is thick. Add more salt if needed. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (you can add 1-2 cloves of minced fresh garlic at this time if you want aioli).

The mixing by hand route was a little tedious - I will use a hand or stick blender next time.

So Maria came over and we steamed the artichokes. This is about the easiest supper you can have.

Steamed Artichokes
2 artichokes
large saucepan with water about 1 inch high
1 Tbsp salt

Trim the stems off the artichokes and trim about 1-inch down from the top. Using kitchen shears, snip the top point (about 1/4 inch down) from each leaf.

To secure the artichokes in the pan - I use round cookie cutters. You can also use rings from an onion. Add water and salt. Cover and steam for 20-40 minutes (depending on the size of the artichoke) or until a leaf easily releases when pulled (use tongs!).

Serve with mayonnaise, aioli or melted butter.

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