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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bonus Recipe, July 4th: Homemade Mayonnaise

Seasonal Recipe
Homemade Mayonnaise

Adapted from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn (Norton, 2005)
Makes 1 cup

Sure, you can buy mayonnaise in any grocery store, but the fresh, homemade version is so much tangier and more flavorful, you'll want to use it in so many more places than just as a simple sandwich spread. The key here is to use a flavorful farm fresh egg and a neutral oil. Mayonnaise can be made with olive oil, which is quite delicious, but it "goes crazy," as the Italians say. If you insist on using olive oil, be sure to use it all within a few hours; it may not last until the next day.

If your emulsion breaks, all is not lost. Start with a new yolk and fresh oil to get another emulsion started, then slowly add in the broken mayonnaise. Take it slowly, adding just a few drops of oil to start, add the rest in no more than a thin stream, and you should have the best mayonnaise you've ever had in no time. Should the thought of all this whisking put you off, you an also make mayonnaise in a food processor or a blender, though you may need to double or triple the recipe to ensure that there is enough liquid in the bowl when the emulsion is starting.


  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, strained of pulp
  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • Fresh minced herbs, finely minced garlic, or other flavorings (optional, but highly recommended)
  1. Combine the yolk, salt, pepper, water, and a few drops of lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisk the ingredients together.

  2. Transfer the oil to a container that can pour a wire-thin stream; the squeeze bottles used to hold ketchup and mustard in an old-fashioned diner work especially well. While whisking vigorously, add the oil, starting with just a few drops at a time. As the emulsion forms, and the mixture starts to look creamy, you can increase the oil addition to a thin stream. Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.

  3. When the emulsion is finished, it should be thick enough to hold its shape, though you can thin it to your taste with the additional lemon juice or water. The tartness of the lemon helps offset the richness of the mayonnaise, which is one reason this version ends up so much tastier than anything in a jar.

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