Posts Tagged ‘diy’

Wow, I’m on a fish kick lately.

This is the last one for awhile, I promise.

I just couldn’t help but take a pic­ture of this scene. Where back at home we pickle and can and roast and smoke and cure to our hearts’ delights, here it seems that some take the DIY men­tal­ity to a whole new world. Where some house­holds have their under­wear and bed­sheets hang­ing on clothes hang­ers from their win­dowsill, this house­hold has a few rows of fish tied up to dry.

I wish I was friends with this person.

I’ve started to notice that every­thing in China ends up tak­ing at least three times longer than it would at home. More hoops to jump through, more peo­ple to fight through, more steps to take with everything.

For exam­ple, yes­ter­day we had soup and salad for lunch– clas­sic right? Clam chow­der and a cae­sar salad just screams Amer­i­can, does it not? But what started as a sim­ple idea of a soup and cae­sar salad lunch became a big pro­duc­tion tak­ing an hour+ long, start­ing with home­made crou­tons and end­ing with home­made dress­ing. The chow­der I made from a can– that part took 10 min­utes– so it was a sat­is­fy­ing semi-homemade lunch wor­thy of San­dra Lee’s praise.

Any­way, rather than being a pain, this actu­ally gives me an excuse to make the things I’ve always wanted to try back home, but had been too lazy or short on time to do so. It’s easy to make home­made dress­ing, but even eas­ier to run out to the cor­ner deli to buy a bot­tle. I’ve espe­cially always wanted to make my own cae­sar dress­ing, after try­ing a good friend’s awe­somely gar­licky, may­on­naisey home­made recipe a cou­ple of years ago. The secret? Accord­ing to her, lots of pressed gar­lic and a dis­gust­ing amount of may­on­naise. Fat and fla­vor, who would’ve thunk.…

So herein lies hur­dle num­ber one: may­on­naise. It’s not like may­on­naise does not exist in China. But, the most com­mon brands sold in the store are Japan­ese, which though tasty in their own right are worlds apart from the Hellman’s brand. Amer­i­can brands are gen­er­ally only sold in the big, West­ern gro­cery stores and they’re three times more expen­sive. So in an effort to keep costs down and start my own kitchen adven­ture series, I decided yes­ter­day to try my hand at mak­ing my own may­on­naise base for a cae­sar dressing.

While care­fully select­ing my eggs at the mar­ket, I real­ized I sud­denly hit hur­dle num­ber two– raw eggs. You can make “may­on­naise” just by beat­ing oil, but in my opin­ion, it’s not real may­on­naise with­out raw eggs. Back at home, I’ve never bought into the whole “sal­mo­nella” thing, and since I was a kid ate raw eggs with hot pot, licked fin­ger­fuls of cookie dough, and as an adult had eggs shaken into drinks– no sweat. Here, how­ever, as fresh as the eggs are that I buy, I still have no idea where they come from, so can’t help but imag­ine grow­ing an extra arm if I eat them raw.

Luck­ily I encoun­tered this arti­cle on how to pas­teur­ize your own eggs at home for dress­ings and mayo. Pas­teur­iza­tion is the process which heats eggs and dairy to a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture so as to kill the harm­ful bac­te­ria which it stores, so it makes sense that this seem­ingly sim­ple process can be done at home. The trick is, heat­ing it to the proper tem­per­a­ture at the same time mak­ing sure you don’t cook or cur­dle the eggs. Most home­made processes require the use of a ther­mome­ter, but this one called for three whisks and a watch­ful eye. I have both.

This pas­teur­iza­tion uses lemon juice (or vine­gar), so obvi­ously should only be used for dress­ings, dips, or any­thing that uses raw eggs with a bit of a tangy fla­vor (like a pisco sour). Don’t use this in cookie dough, unless you like your sweet dough with a funky tang.

How to make Pas­teur­ized Eggs
from About​.com article

2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice (or white vinegar)
2 tbsp water
3 clean whisks
saran wrap

  1. Sep­a­rate the yolk of two eggs and whisk (using the first of three whisks) in a clean glass bowl. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice and whisk again. Add 2 tbsp water and con­tinue whisk­ing. Once full incor­po­rated, cover with plas­tic wrap and set bowl in microwave
  2. Microwave on high until the sur­face just begins to rise. After this, count eight sec­onds on the timer. Remove imme­di­ately, dis­card plas­tic wrap and begin to whisk egg yolk mix­ture with the sec­ond of your clean whisks.
  3. Repeat step 2 once more– set in microwave on high until sur­face begins to rise. After this, count eight sec­onds on the timer. Remove and whisk with the third of your clean whisks until egg yolk mix­ture is smooth and creamy.

I actu­ally only have two real whisks, and used a pair of chop­sticks as one whisk, because that’s what chi­nese peo­ple do (we didn’t use whisks grow­ing up, we always use chop­sticks to beat eggs. It works). Along with my mini mini whisk and my giant whisk, I had a Goldilocks and the Three Whisks sit­u­a­tion. An odd trio, indeed.

These eggs were a great start to my may­on­naise, which in the end pro­duced a great dress­ing. Since the I’m still here, with no growth of spare limbs this morn­ing, so I’m guess­ing the DIY pas­teur­iza­tion worked.

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