Garlic Aioli - or Homemade Mayonnaise

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Garlic Aioli and Mayonnaise

The idea of making your own mayonnaise or Aioli may seem daunting but I assure you after the first few times you will be an expert. It really is a simple process with one hurdle to jump.

These condiments are considered permanent emulsions (ones that will last) vs. the temporary emulsions like vinaigrette, that will separate after a period of time. 

There are plenty of ways to scientifically describe the process, but lets just say it's a suspension of one liquid in another, causing a thicker end result.  Any other additives are for flavor, or in the commercial products, for shelf life and stabilization. 

The simple trick is to add the oil or fat a few drops at a time in the beginning. Do this until the suspension in visible. This means you can start to see the thickening of the egg yolk. Once this has happened, it is much easier to add the remaining oil to create the proper consistency. 

The simple ingredients

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard powder (you can use mustard, just add it all half way through the process)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • salt/peper to taste
This should yield 3/4 cup + of aioli 
Total time: 15 minutes

This is the base recipe for any product in the category. Use a vegetable oil for mayonnaise. Use olive oil for Aioli. Add 2 garlic cloves to make garlic Aioli. The possibilities are wide and experimentation with flavors is encouraged.

The separation
Start by separating your egg.  I use the yolk only in mine but I have seen others use the whole egg. 

 I find using a non-reactive bowl to make the aioli works best for me, but I don't think it's necessary. Many others suggest using a towel covered saucepan with the bowl placed on top to keep everything stable. I have never had a problem with this, but it sounds like a good suggestion if needed. 

Add the egg yolk, and 1/2 of the lemon juice, 1/2 of the vinegar, and all of the mustard powder to the bowl. Mix these ingredients well.

Very Yellow at the start

Next add a few drops (and only a few drops) of the oil to the egg mixture. Whisk briskly to combine. Keep whisking. I mean it, keep going. The oil will start to suspend in the yolk and get a little thicker and creamier.

Your aioli will lighten as you add more oil

Now add a few more drops of oil while you keep that whisk moving. Once again. keep going. As fast as you can. The mixture should start to get even thicker and creamier.

It's starting to suspend

At about the half way point of adding the oil, add the remaining lemon, vinegar. If you are using garlic, add that at this point also.

Once you have an emulsion started you can add more oil at one time, but I suggest doubling the amount each time you add. You should be able to slow down the whisk speed as it will become easier to combine once the process has started.

After you have accomplished this task successfully, it will be an easy task to determine the status of the emulsion process. That's the hurdle. You have to do it once correctly to know if you are doing it right. I know, it sound like circular logic, and it is.

You should notice the aioli will start off very yellow and lighten up as you add more oil and mix it in. 

When all the oil is in, add the salt and pepper to taste.

It may seem like too much work to make, especially when the grocery store stocks it in nice little containers on many shelves. 

The final product
But I assure you that after you have mastered this, your food quality will jump leaps and bounds. And guests will think you went to culinary school.

Cole slaw with Homemade cole slaw dressing

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Cole Slaw dressing and Cole Slaw

What makes this dressing recipe more wonderful is the use of the garlic aioli recipe found here.  But frankly, that recipe makes everything taste better when used. 

All the good Stuff

Cole Slaw Dressing Recipe
  • 3/4 cup Fresh Garlic Aioli (recipe here)
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder (or mustard)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp celery salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pickle relish (optional)
  • salt/pepper to taste
Total Time: 5 mintes if you have aioli made, 20 minutes otherwise

Same Ingredients but I just like this photo

Mix all the ingredients together and taste for preference. You may want to add a little more zing (sour cream) or a bit more freshness (lemon juice), or sugar to make it sweeter. This is a good base and you should experiment with the ingredients to fine tune to your taste.

My photographer really likes the hand shots

Putting things together

And of course we need a knife shot

You can see the pepper falling from the grinder

All in, before the final mix

Ahh. .  Final Product Shot - Nice work Jon!

Cole Slaw

A colorful start for a colorful end result

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage (assuming it is much smaller than the green). I look for about a 8 to 1 ratio for my green to red.
  • 2/3 cup fresh coleslaw dressing
  • 1 medium size carrot
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
Total time: 10 minutes

Chop the red and green cabbage to a consistency that you prefer.  Some like a fine chop and others like longer, more stringy cuts. Dealers choice.

You can do the same with the carrots. Shred, chop, or run them down a box grater. The appearance is more aesthetic than flavor and having all the pieces look similar can be appealing. 

Start by cutting the cabbage in half, through the core.

Cut the core out by making angled cuts, trying not to lose too much of the good parts.

You can see I missed a bit and had to cut a little extra. You really don't want to eat the core.

Slice the cabbage vertically into strips and then you can cross cut to the desired shapes. 

Do the same with the red cabbage.

Action shot. That started with a John "Henry" vs the processor argument. This time John won

 Shred your carrot right into the bowl

Next add in the coleslaw dressing and mix well. Adjust with salt, pepper, and more dressing as needed. 


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         Porchetta is an Italian street food generally served out of big trucks with a tall oven that has the meat on stackable spits. As the meat cooks the fat from the above porchetta drips on the lower rack. There is a catch bin on the bottom so the fire does not flare. The juices from the catch bin are used to baste the meats.

This is old photo form Baked & Carved. We sliced the hot meat thin and placed it on our fresh bread.
         As the name suggests, it is a pork based product and the cuts of pork can vary. What does not vary is that you should use two different cuts of pork, one wrapped around the other. Between the two is a layer of spices and citrus to flavor the meat.

         Most often you will find either a pork shoulder or butt wrapped in a pork belly. The other option (one I used in the store) was a full pork loin wrapped in a pork belly.

         This is not an easy process to replicate at home for a few reasons. One is the size of the end product. Unless you have a large party to feed, or plan on plenty of leftovers, it may not be cost effective. 

         It is, however, quite a display and the presentation is fantastic. 

         The picture above does not properly represent the scale of the end product. This is a whole pork loin (not the tenderloin) wrapped in a whole pork belly. The end result is at least 2 feet long and about eight inches high. It is wrapped in twine and cut in half after the four hours of roasting.  

         The outer layer gets crisp like bacon and all the fat from the belly flavors the loin. Just a pork filled joy and a true sensation for the palate.

End result of this recipe, a home version that can serve 6.
           This is my home version and I think you will find it both tasty and fun to make. I use a piece of the full pork loin and bacon for the outer wrap. If you can find sliced pork belly, I recommend that for the outer layer. It can be done on the grill or in the oven, but be warned that if you use a higher fat content piece for the outer layer, you may get more smoke than your oven can handle. 

          You can buy pieces of the pork loin but I tend to buy one whole and cut it down to the size I want for the meal (Depending on the number of guests). The rest I will split between chops, cubes (for kabobs), and other large pieces for roasting. 

Here's what you will need. I but the whole loin and cut it up for other uses.

  • 1 -12" to 16" piece of a pork loin (not the tenderloin)
  • 10 pieces of bacon (preferably uncured)
  • 1 whole orange - sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tbsp toasted fennel seed
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
  • Salt/Pepper
Special tools: All these are optional
  • Butcher's twine
  • Rack for roasting
  • Pan to catch the fat
Total Time: 2 hrs.

In this recipe, we are going to cut the pork loin "Jelly Roll" style.  

After we open up the loin we will add the spices and the orange slices. Next we will roll it back up and wrap the whole thing in the bacon slices. If necessary we will tie it with twine to hold everything in place. 

The cutting: Don't be afraid. Almost any deviation from the perfect cut can be masked by the rolling and the outer layer of bacon. It will be fine. 

It doesn't like to cooperate, but have a stronger will.

Any way that works, get as much off as possible.

If you are using a whole loin or a cut piece from the butcher, you will most likely need to remove the silver skin. This is an outer layer of fibrous skin on the outside of the meat.  It it tough and stringy and is best removed. 

I cut some chops for a later meal.

 Now we are going to open up the piece for our Porchetta. Place the pork loin on a cutting surface with the cut end facing you. Make a cut about one inch from the side of the loin that is your dominant hand (assuming you will be cutting with this hand). 

Cut down 3/4" to 1" deep, leaving less than 1/2" from the bottom of the loin. Spread the little flap you have created away from the larger piece. Angle your knife edge so the sharp edge is towards the large piece of pork and the top dull edge is away, creating an obtuse angle with the knife and the pork. Keep cutting and rolling the pork piece away from the knife.

From here you will drag the knife towards you, scoring the point where the larger piece of loin meets the thinner edge, pulling the large piece away with your non-knife hand. 

A "Not so Flat" piece of pork loin.

Continue to do this until the you have a nice piece laid out on the table in a rectangular form (or as close to it as possible). 

I repeat. Don't worry about any empty spots or uneven sections. It is going to happen the first few times at least.  Unless you are a trained butcher, then it will be perfect most of the time. 

Now that we have somewhat of an even rectangle laid out on the table, it's time to flavor the pork.  I often lay out the bacon first but it's not necessary as the piece should be easily moved after you roll it up.

Pork on Pork, ready for spices.

Garlic, Oh so important.

Since the meat will cook for about an hour, the garlic will become sweeter with time.

 Start by rubbing the top with the crushed garlic. Next add salt, pepper, rosemary, and toasted fennel. Lastly, layer the orange slices to they slightly overlap. 

Nice and thin slices will help with the Jelly Rolling.

Toasted fennel will add a little extra flavor as it brings out the oils.

Just about ready to roll.

The artistic shot.

Roll it up, keep everything inside the "meat roll".

Leave a little room on the edges as the oranges will spread as you roll up the loin. Time to roll up the "Pork Jelly Roll". Turn the loin with the short side facing you and roll as tightly as you can. 

Next step is to lay out the bacon on a flat surface, if you haven't already done so, as I have in the photos. checking the length of the pieces to be sure they will wrap around the loin. If not, overlap the bacon a bit so it will create a tight wrap. 

Ready for the heat!

If the bacon is layered too much you may not get the inside pieces cooked and crisp in the end product. 

If using an oven be sure to place a drip pan under the meat to catch the fat. If you have a rack with a catch pan, this will work best. You can use the fat to baste the Porchetta. Yeah, that's right. Baste the the pork rolled in more pork with pork fat. 

If you don't have a way to separate the fat from the bottom of a pan, be sure to rotate the Porchetta a few times during the cooking process. It should hold up if the wrapping is tight enough. 

Direct heat side with a small barrier to protect flare ups
Place the pan with the meat in the oven or on the grill (whichever you are using).  Close the lid of the grill to keep the heat consistent. 

Best to roast at about 375 in the oven, and about 425 for outside grills. The consistency of the readings on most outside grills is suspect in my opinion, and the higher heat will help when you open the lid too often to check on the meat.

If using a rack and the fat is collecting in the pan, find a way to baste to the meat every 20 minutes. If the meat is directly on the pan, give it a quarter turn instead. 

Nice grill marks. But you can finish it the oven if you started it outside.
The meat should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes (in either cooking vessel), but most importantly, the temperature should be 135 degrees F. You can pull it out at about 130 degrees, and let it rest for 10 minutes as it will keep cooking. 

Knife in action, 

The finished product. I like to serve it with some greens.