There has been some research that shows that kids will eat more veggies when they are paired with a dip. Now personally I have never had a problem getting my kids to eat veggies – heck B will even eat raw brussels sprouts (Blech). But I do know that a lot of people do struggle to get their kids to eat enough veggies. So I thought that this piece of research was interesting.
OK so the dips used in this experiment were Miracle Whip based, which is over processed and uses questionable ingredients. But what about a homemade dip… Maybe one based on a homemade mayonnaise.
I know making mayonnaise seems a little scary to a lot of people – they have heard stories about how it is very difficult, how it curdles easily, how it is time consuming to make, how the eggs have to be at room temperature, how they should be straight out of the fridge… you name it. Those stories are out there.
But really, it is easy… I have been making mayonnaise since I learned how in Home Ec class when I was 13… And while it has curdled on me once in a while, for the most part it works just beautifully. And if it does curdle, it is no biggie. You just start again with an extra egg, add the curdled mixture, followed by the rest of the oil and the only outcome is that you end up with more mayo than you planned on having in the first place. And seeing that it keeps in the fridge for at least a week that is not a problem in my book! But if you add the oil drop by drop it is unlikely that you will have a problem as this recipe contains mustard which is an emulsifier and helps to stop it splitting and curdling.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard (I usually use a grainy one, but smooth works well too)
1 tsp lemon juice
300ml/1.25 cups of olive oil (If you don’t like a strong olive oil taste, you may want to use a mild tasting olive oil rather than extra virgin, or even a mix of olive oil and almond oil)
2 tbsp whey (optional) – it adds some friendly bacteria. if you don’t do dairy you could use an acidophilus/probiotic capsule instead
2 tbsp flax oil (optional) – mitigates the effects of using almond oil somewhat.
unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put the egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice in a blender (you can also do this long-hand using a balloon whisk and a mixing bowl if you don’t have blender. It will just take longer. Put a damp cloth under the bowl and it will stop it moving around).
Very slowly add the oil drop by drop, blending the mixture the whole time (if making this by hand it is even more vital that you really do add the oil drop by drop – adding the oil too fast is the primary reason that mayo curdles…)
As the mixture starts to thicken, you can add the oil a little faster, in a steady stream. Don’t stop mixing (even if you are making it by hand and your arm aches… you develop good arm muscles that way!)
Taste and seasaon.
As I mentioned earlier, if it does curdle, just tip the curdled mixture back into the oil mixture, add another egg yolk and start adding drop by drop again… don’t rush it, or it will curdle again and you will end up with a ton of mayo by the time you are done!
This recipe can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for at least week…. I don’t know what the upper time-limit for keeping this is because my mayo never lasts a week! But seeing as it contains raw egg I would not be comfortable keeping it any longer.
And just to allay peoples fears of eating raw egg, yes there is a slim (very slim) chance of getting sick. But really, unless you are already sick, immune-compromised, pregnant, very young or very old, you are going to be fine. If you are in one of those groups I mentioned, I would not recommend that you make this mayo… go and buy some that is made with pasteurized eggs instead. Just read the ingredients first OK? Back when the whole salmonella-in-eggs things blew up, some 20 years ago, my microbiology professor (I was still at university at that point) calculated that you could eat a raw egg every day and still not get sick. And the site I linked to above says that the chance of encountering an egg contaminated with salmonella is 0.005%. That means that the average egg consumer will only eat a contaminated egg once every 84 years. And if you are using good eggs – organic, pastured, from a reputable source, the chance is probably even smaller than that. And seriously, I have been making this mayo almost weekly for the past 30 years (now I have just let on how old I am!), and I have never had a problem. Plus I add raw eggs to the smoothies that I eat for breakfast (to provide extra protein) and again, I never get sick.
Now you have your mayo base, go and make some awesome dips for the veggies. You can flavour this base in any number of ways… add a garlic clove with the mustard/egg-yolks/lemon and you have aioli – but your kids might not like that (it is yummy though!). Add chopped herbs to the ready made mayo – parsley, basil, tarragon, thyme are all good. Add chopped capers. Add finely diced tomatoes and roasted pepper. Add a pinch of chilli and use lime juice in place of lemon juice to make a chilli-lime mayo. And if you add the garlic clove, and then use the chilli and lime you get an awesome chilli-lime aioli that works amazingly with oven baked sweet potato fries…..