11.24.2008

The world of spicy mayo



[still working on this post]

I've enjoyed a variety of mayonnaise based sauces with mostly Japanese food, but have always wanted to try them with other food combinations, however never had them on hand. Now that Japanese food is so broadly available, so are its ingredients, but I am not so keen on trying the masses of brands to find something that can be so simply prepared at home and tuned to resemble the tried and tested restaurant mayos.

I know of three kinds I want to replicate:
  1. Spicy Mayo (red) - this is what's most commonly refered to as spicy mayo and usually made with cayennee or chilli pepper varieties.
  2. Wasabi Mayo (green) - this mixture is pretty common as well.
  3. Horseradish Mayo (white) - this isn't frequently available at japanese establishments, however is frequently sold as a sandwich ingredient.
Red.
  • 10 drops or 1/2 mL of cayenne pepper sauce (such as tabasco)
  • 1 tbsp of kwepie japanese mayo (available at asian grocers; this is much closer to a home made mayo then the standard store brands. It is more liquid in texture and tastes more of yolk. If you are unable to find this, I would suggest making your own mayo from scratch)
  • ...surpize ingredient: a teeny! dash of artificial sweetner (I used equal. The use of this completely depends on the hot sauce you choose.)
    I have to write a disclaimer to this one. I dislike artificial sweetner with a passion. The only reason I had it in the pantry is because my mother-in-law prefers it with her tea. Sweetner in general has a very distinct taste that is almost overly sweet and has a strange power to balance acidity in small amounts. This is why I dislike it so much in tea; but exactly what made it a perfect addition to this sauce.
Green.
  • 2 tsp wasabi root powder
  • 2 tbsp of kwepie japanese mayo
  • 1 drop of lime essential oil (I made more of this sauce so it could withstand the addition of the lime oil, you could make less if you can figure out how to get 1/2 a drop :o) )
White.
  • 1 tsp horseradish root powder (this isn't as readily available as the wasabi powder, but really is the only way to go to get the smooth consistency of the sauce)
  • 1 tbsp of kwepie japanese mayo

11.22.2008

Still prepping...

I am not sure if it was the simplicity of the previous post that I decided to spike a few more things. I started with the dried bing cherries and moved onto prunes and tea leaves. I have only eaten one rum raisin. I swear. But the other stuff, well, let's just say taste tests are an important part of cooking. The preparation is just combination of ingredients listed, and like in rum raisin, the dry fruit is first scalded and steeped.

The bing...or rather, the bada bing
  • 1 cup of dried, bing cherries
  • 1/2 cup of vodka
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
Using lemon here was a choice I made since I have a few ideas of how I am going to be using this. I wanted cherries to be spiked but with a kick of acidity, unlike the rum raisins.

Prune-licious
  • 2 cups of prunes
  • 1 cup of rum
  • 1 cup of table red wine
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp of steeped through whole tea leaves
As I was making this, I realized that in taste it started getting close to the Dominican "mamajuana" drink, sans the root. The tea really adds a kick of bitterness here that the root would have imparted. This would be perfect for a meat sauce.

11.21.2008

The Prep Work


It occured to me that in order to really make something standout in a dish you have to know what you're putting into it. I mean really know what you're putting into it. Sure, fresh ingredients and a little ingenuity is good, but the basic components don't stop there. A well made dish takes a good sauce...just look at the French Laundry cookbook. Keller really outdoes himself. There is no way to compete, but there is a way to make sure a dish 1) can be simplified with a little leg work ahead of time and 2) that it is an interesting combination of flavors.

So, I am on a quest to stock my fridge with sauces, bases, and anything that can stand up to a month of refrigeration while I think of how and where to use it all.

Today is RUM RAISIN day. Yes, simple as it may be, I figured it's a good place to start. I am going to do this one blind. I don't want to know (until I finish the recipe) how everyone else makes it. I want to make it how I think it should taste. That may offend some - but I'll let my palette do the talking.

I start with a cup of raisins. Scald them in boiling water and let stand for 1 minute. Drain the water. Place in a glass (at least I did) jar. Add 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup. Add about 1/2 cup of 120 proof dark rum just to cover. Let steep on the counter for about 1 hour and then move to the fridge for about 1 week.

Ingredients Used
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 2 tbsp of real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of 120 proof dark rum