Sunday, October 20, 2013

Salmon with Homemade Caper Onion Mayonnaise

Making homemade mayonnaise is a dying art but one I would love to see revived.  It reminds me of my grandmother’s cheerful kitchen, painted the same friendly shade as lemon zest and her café-curtained window with bright, warm sunshine beaming in.  The yellow yolks whipped into creaminess bring back the nostalgic taste of her warm potato salad.  Proceed slowly, and you will be amply rewarded. 

I don’t recall if my maternal grandmother ever had store-bought mayonnaise in her dark brown doublewide Admiral refrigerator.  It’s possible she did.  But I can tell you that when Sunday rolled around and she was making potato salad, she was also going to be making homemade mayo to put in it.  My mother is the same.  She says that when she was growing up, she avoided the kitchen when she saw the potatoes and eggs go on to boil, because otherwise she would be roped into making the mayonnaise and she lived in fear of the darn stuff splitting.  Now she can’t get enough of homemade mayonnaise and makes it willingly.   I imagine years of being press-ganged into service have made her an expert.  When it came time to make a sauce for this week’s Sunday Supper theme of Sauce It Up, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  My own concoction of onion and capers added to my grandmother’s homemade mayonnaise.  So I consulted the family expert.   And this is what she sent me.   Thanks, Mom!  (My comments in green.) 

For Mother’s (by which, she means my grandmother's) homemade mayonnaise:
(Yields about 1 1/2 cups or 350ml)
2 egg yolks (raw)
2 egg yolks (hard-boiled)
1 cup or about 240ml vegetable oil or more as needed (I used canola.)
Black or white pepper  (I used about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.)

For the caper onion mayonnaise:
1 recipe Mother’s homemade mayo
1/2 medium purple onion (about 1 1/4oz or 35g)
2 tablespoons capers in brine with a little of the brine
More salt and pepper to taste – you can let it sit for a while after adding in the capers and then add more, if necessary.  Remember that capers in brine are salty.

For the salmon:
One filet per person (about 6-7 oz or 170-200g each)
Sea salt flakes
Black pepper
Olive oil

Mash the yolks real well with a fork.

Using an electric mixer, add a little oil at a time to egg mixture and beat well.  Be very careful, mayo can curdle if you add too much oil at one time.   Continue mixing and adding oil gradually.   (I used a whisk and added about a tablespoon or two at a time, whisking thoroughly in between.  It took a while but I was watching The Great British Bake Off so I didn’t care!) 

Just the four egg yolks.

Adding the first of the oil.

After the third or fourth addition of oil.
Add a few drops of water to mayo as it thickens.  Sometimes I will use lemon juice or vinegar instead of the water.  As it thickens, you may have to add more than one time.  (Since I knew I was going to add the grated onion and capers at the end, I skipped this step.  If you are making plain mayo, you may need to drizzle in a bit of water if it gets too thick.) 

Continue the process until you have the desired amount of mayonnaise.  (I stopped after adding the whole cup of canola, which gave me almost a cup and a half of mayo.) 

The last of the oil going in. 
Season with sea salt and black pepper.

You have now mastered my grandmother’s homemade mayonnaise.  Well done!  (If by some chance you did pour in the oil too fast and it split, rescue it with the instructions here.   They work and, sadly, I know that from past personal experience.)

Now to make the caper onion mayonnaise, simply grate your onion very finely and make sure to collect the juice as you grate it.  I actually left the onion whole and grated half off, which is easier than trying to grate a cut onion.

Add the grated onion and the juice to the mayonnaise.

Add in the capers with a little of their juice.  Stir well, cover with cling film and, if you aren’t eating right away, store in the refrigerator.

And on to the salmon.

Season the salmon on both sides with a light sprinkle of sea salt flakes and black pepper.

Pan-fry it skin side up in a small drizzle of olive oil for a few minutes or until you can see the color of cooked pink come half way up the sides.

Turn the salmon filets over and cook for another few minutes or until the salmon is just cooked though and the skin is crispy.

Taste the caper onion mayo and add more salt and pepper if necessary, stirring well.  Add a liberal dollop to the top of each salmon filet and serve.


For lagniappe, as we say in south Louisiana – here’s just a little something extra:
If you are only serving two with salmon, you are going to have plenty of caper onion mayo left over.  Stir some through a drained can of tuna and serve on toast.  Delicious!  I don’t know that my grandmother would approve but I think it would also be pretty good in potato salad.  The caper onion mayo will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Join today’s host and all-around good guy, DB from Crazy Foodie Stunts, and the rest of the Sunday Supper group as we Sauce It Up!

Sunday Supper Movement

Savory Sauces

Pasta Sauces and Pastas with Sauce

Entreés with Sauces 

Sweet Sauces 

Desserts with Sauces 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Browned Butter Applesauce Bars with Apple Walnut Streusel

This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!

Food Lust People Love: This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!

Baking with apples cries out for brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and fills your home with a heady aroma of autumn.   These bars turned out to be more cake than cookie so think of them as the blondie for apple eaters.  Take a big bite of fall right here!

Many years ago, when I was still a student at the University of Texas, I had an internship with the Texas Tourism Bureau.  One of my responsibilities was writing press releases about the wonders of our great state.  Information would cross my desk and I would turn it into something interesting that the wire services would, if it caught their fancy, pick up send out to newspapers to reprint.

Now this was back in the dark ages before internet so going viral meant being picked up by either AP (Associated Press) and UPI (United Press International.) I had one story that was picked up by both.

My deliberately provocative headline read: “New England Ain’t Got Nothing on Us” and it was all about the beautiful fall foliage in East Texas’s Piney Woods. Somewhere in my portfolio, I have clipped copies of the article and the furor that ensued as all of New England and other east coast states reprinted and expressed their outrage that Texas could even START to compare. Even a few west coast papers chimed in. It was great fun and my boss and I were high-fiving all over the office! Not bad for just an intern.

For naysayers and skeptics, I’m going to send you right over to See!

When I am in the US, I wouldn’t dream of sitting outside when temperatures are still in the nineties (Fahrenheit) or the mid-thirties (Celsius) but here in Dubai, after the scorching summer, this does actually feel cool.  Relatively speaking.  So I sit outside with my newspaper and a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and as I watch pendulous yellow and red dates ripen into sticky, sweet dark brown on my palm trees, I dream of the vibrantly colored leaves in colder climes. And I bake with apples.

And one morning recently we were thrilled to get a visit from a parrot. 
Browned Butter Applesauce Bars with Apple Walnut Streusel 

For the base:
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g browned butter – follow Kayle’s instructions here and make enough for the streusel as well.
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup or 100g chopped walnuts

For the streusel:
1 cup or 100g chopped walnuts
1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 7 oz or 200g before coring and chopping)
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup or 57g browned butter– follow Kayle’s instructions here and make enough for the base as well.
1/4 teaspoon salt

For drizzled glaze – optional
1/2 cup or 60g icing sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk

Step one is browning your butter.  Follow the link here for full instructions and make sure you brown enough for the base AND the streusel.  Sorry to keep repeating but I don't want you to brown half a cup and then realize!

Put the browned butter for the streusel in a medium-sized bowl.  Peel and core your apple and cut it into small pieces.

Add them to the browned butter in the streusel bowl and mix well.  This will stop your apple from browning.

Add in the rest of the streusel ingredients and stir well.  Set aside.

Now we are ready to make the base.  Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a large baking pan (about 10x16in or 24x40cm) by greasing it with butter or non-stick spray.  I like to line mine first with foil, because, since I can lift it out when cool, cutting is easier.

Mix your flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.

In yet another mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the browned butter and sugars for the base.

Add in the eggs and the vanilla and beat well.

Add in the flour mixture and beat again briefly.

Using a spatula, fold in the applesauce and then the chopped walnuts.

Pour into your prepared baking pan smooth out the top with a spatula.  Make sure the batter is even all the way to the corners.

Sprinkle on the streusel topping and bake in the preheated for 25-30 minutes or until the edges pull away from the sides a little and the whole thing is a delicious golden color.

Meanwhile, measure the powdered sugar for the glaze into a small bowl and add milk one teaspoon at a time, stirring well, until the glaze is of drizzling consistency.

Remove the applesauce bars from the oven and allow to cool completely before drizzling on the glaze.  I prefer to use a piping bag for more even drizzling but you can do it with the spoon or fork.  Whatever works for you.

Food Lust People Love: This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!

Food Lust People Love: This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!
Just keep drizzling till it's all used up.  You can't have too much glaze. 
Now cut that applesauce bar goodness into squares.  I got 48 2in or 5cm squares.

Food Lust People Love: This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!


Food Lust People Love: This cakey bar is made with browned butter, walnuts and applesauce, then topped with apple walnut browned butter streusel. Browned Butter Applesauce Bars are the perfect fall snack!

Join our hosts Laura from The Spiced Life and Rebecka from At Home with Rebecka and my other fellow Creative Cookie Exchange bakers by baking and sharing your favorite apple cookie or bar!  It’s the best way to celebrate autumn!

To join in the fun, just complete the steps below:
1. Write a blog post with cookie recipe and original photo using apples.  We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.
2. Post the Creative Cookie Exchange badge somewhere on your blog so others can join in the fun.

Creative Cookie Exchange

3. Make a good faith effort to visit and comment on the other cookies in the Linky party. We all love cookies so that should be easy!
4. LIKE the Creative Cookie Exchange Facebook Page
5. FOLLOW the Creative Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board
6. LINK your blog post below using the Linky tool

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes.  Be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration for this month's theme, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chive Boursin Muffins #MuffinMonday

Savory muffins are a wonderful addition to a lunch or dinner table breadbasket.  Or make them in a mini muffin pan to serve with evening cocktails. 

This week our ingredient of choice was supposed to be blueberries but regular readers will recall that last week I baked in a bit of a panic as I rushed off to a blog workshop.  The ingredient for last week was cinnamon and I thought blueberries would go nicely.  And indeed they did!  But when I sent in the photo to my fellow Muffin Monday baker, Anuradha, the return email said, “Is this one for next week?”  I must confess that my response was a curse word.  One that is allowed on US television, but still.  And then she kindly agreed to change this week’s ingredient to chives!  I love those green onion tops and almost always have some in the vegetable drawer.  They liven up salads, add color to stews and who doesn’t like a healthy helping on a baked potato?   They are also one of the main flavor boosters (or perhaps their slim French cousins, ciboulette) of herb and garlic goat cheese.  Strictly speaking, I didn’t use the name brand Boursin, but Chive Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese muffins seemed an unbearably long title.  Boursin gives the correct idea of how these muffins will taste and, of course, YOU can use the real thing.

If you are serving a savory muffin to non-Americans, you might want to prepare them for that fact.  Not to paint whole nations with one sugary brush, but I have been informed that the rest of world assumes a muffin is sweet.  Was my informant correct?  I’d love to hear your opinion and experiences.


2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or 1/2 teaspoon regular sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil
1 cup or 240ml milk
Medium bunch of chives or green onion tops (Mine weighed about 3/4 oz or 20g after I cut the white bulby ends off.)
200g herb and garlic goat cheese – slightly frozen.  This is very soft cheese so it doesn’t really crumble or cut well.  I find that if I freeze it for an hour or so, I can cut it up with a sharp knife just before folding it into the muffin batter. That way you still end up with some solid bits of cheese.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup normal or 24-cup mini muffin pan by greasing it thoroughly or spraying with non-stick spray.

Chop your chives.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, chives and salt flakes and stir well.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and eggs.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Chop your sort of frozen cheese into crumbles and small chunks.

Fold the cheese into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

For full sized muffins, bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Mini muffins will take less time so keep an eye on them.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.  Because of the cheese, you may have to run a knife around some of the muffins to remove them nicely.

See that golden brown?  Best part of the whole muffin!

These go just as wonderfully with a glass of beer or wine as they do with a cup of coffee.