Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 14 - Jasmine Rice and Mayonnaise

I thought I'd be taking today off, but it turns out that my kitchen will be off-limits this Thursday (painters) and then I'll be spending the weekend in Florida with my parents. (Dinner in their glam kitchen, perhaps?) Given these circumstances, I thought I shouldn't waste a perfectly good cooking day. Plus, I was hungry. :-)

Jasmine Rice (p. 412)

I've cooked rice before. Everyone's cooked rice before, right? But I knew Martha would show me how to do it better.

The two ways that Martha's method veered from the package directions were: Martha suggested that I rinse the rice (until the water ran clear), and Martha said that if I changed the rice:water ratio from 1:2 to 1:1.5, I'd get a fluffier rice.

As usual, Martha was spot on. The rice was perfect. Fluffy, not even slighty gummy. Steamy and delicious. Just needed some salt and pepper. (Dinner tonight was rice with the discarded chicken left over from Basic Chicken Stock. Five pounds of chicken is a lot!)

Jeff: A
Martha: A

So, there I was, I was eating my chicken and rice and talking on the phone with Annie about the pros and cons of emulsified salad dressings. (Her husband, Charles, swears by a James Beard method that involves coating everything with oil and then tossing the other dressing ingredients into the salad.) And as we were discussing the wonders of emulsification, I thought, Why don't I make some mayonnaise??

Mayonnaise (p. 95)

Now, mayonnaise is one of those things that I think very few people have made. And after having made it, I'm wondering why that is. Yes, it involves a certain amount of concentration and arm work, but by combining a little mustard, egg, lemon juice and salt with a cup of oil, in short order you have this miraculously creamy pile of mayo, seemingly from nowhere!

This homemade mayonnaise tastes so completely superior to store-bought, it actually seems like a wholly different animal. Now, I should qualify this by saying that I only ever buy low or non-fat mayo, which, of course, tastes horrible (until you mix it with canned tuna, after which it tastes fine). But the mayo that I made following Martha's recipe tastes like... well, it tastes like France to me, and if something tastes like France, that can only be a good thing. Yes, it's oily, but it's also light and delicate and tastes... the word I'm left with is "fresh."

For the first time in my life, I'm trying to come up with ways to use more mayonnaise.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again...

Look at that creamy, yellowy, mayonnaise-y goodness!

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