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Friday, February 7, 2014

Sourdough Toast with Spicy Mayo served with Tomato, Cucumber slices

                                            Hello reader...How is your day going? Mine is a bit hectic so far, it kept me on my toes which I kinda enjoyed. The days here have stretched themselves quite a bit to be longer, while a month ago at 5 in the evening it used to be pretty dark, the same darkness now appears around 6, an hour have extended in the day, which reminds me of the summer. I love spring which is almost now, I think of spring and I think everything coming back to life, new leaves and fresh young green.  What I am secretly wishing is for the winter not to go away so quickly.

                                                                                                                 Do you remember the stupid mayonnaise I made, which surprisingly tasted good! Well I am not exactly thinking of going back making mayo again but that doesn't mean I can’t tell you what I did with it! 3 days ago I got myself a sourdough round loaf, I picked it up from a bakery store thinking I wanted to make panzanella with it, but I kept eating it with the mayo in between with crisp cucumber and tomatoes until I realized there wasn't much left for the panzanella, so maybe next time. What the toast with spicy mayo does remind me of are the days of the spring. Like the spirit of the spring can be found on these toasts, fresh clean flavors, the amazing juicy crunch from the cucumbers, the creaminess and the subtle warmth of the mayo made me feel so satisfied.

                                                               This works very well as an appetizer, with such less work. I mean making the mayo is another story but once you have done that, it gathers itself in minutes.  They are wonderful for the summer as well as in the spring, while I am praising them here in the winter. If you have a little party or gathering of friends in your home or you just wanna have a little bite make yourself these. The crispness of the warm toasts with the creamy tamarind mayo, the freshness of the tomato…doesn't it sound appetizing! They do. And in fact you can do many things with it, put on the toasts anything that you like. And if you are serving them to your friends, you might receive a lot of compliments plus more requests for them.  

      So you are hungry? Okay I will tell you how I made them, which is so very simple, you only need some minutes. Bon appétit!

The Recipe: you will need
Loaf of sourdough bread or any bread that you have, sliced into flat discs of ½ inch thickness
Stupid Mayonnaise
Sliced thin round disc of tomatoes
Slices thin disc of cucumber
Finely chopped ½ a medium red onion, tossed with 1 tsp of lime juice.

1.       Begin by chopping the red onion, then toss them with the lime juice, leave it for 15 minutes.
2.       Slice the bread into ½ inch thick flat discs, then put them on a hot pan on a medium flame, give them around 10 minutes until both the sides crisp up to a golden brown or just put them in oven until they are almost toasts or even in your toaster, just don’t make them very brown.
3.       Slice the tomato and the cucumber into thin discs, keep aside.

4.       When the bread slices are crisp golden brown spread the tamarind mayo on them generously and then arrange the tomato and cucumber slices alternatively on them. After that just sprinkle some of the limey red onion pieces on them slightly.

                           Ah you are now ready to have your bite. Come on bite! Try to eat them warm, its fun. Oh and tell me how satisfied they made you, I will be listening to you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stupid Mayonnaise

                                                                                                                There in the middle of the night I was whisking like mad! Like a lunatic who has the hope of finding the true meaning of his existence by whisking egg yolks with oil with his range of secret ingredients and the truth will emerge out of the churned mayonnaise! Huh!  I was hoping to get it absolutely brilliant as i imagined it will be! Darn it! My mayonnaise finally curdled, so there at 12.30 in the night I threw everything away and went to sleep. Damn the mayonnaise!  And I told myself before going to sleep that I won’t touch that stupid mayonnaise again tomorrow; it got the patience jump out the window of me.

                                                                                                                                                      Next morning I realized I have neck pain, as if it could not have gone better. My mood was good surprisingly, I didn't dream of the mayonnaise. The mayonnaise has now become literally a pain in the neck; I tried to recall what I was thinking when I decided to make mayonnaise, I couldn't recall. So with a neck pain I finished my sketches and then went back to the curdled mayonnaise to fix it. I stared with a new egg yolk, adding my curdled mayo drop by drop while whisking. Now the thing  is I wasn't using any electric hand beaters, being energetic and young I took the challenge of doing it literally with my hands without any double thinking and even Julia Child suggests not to make mayo with beaters because the mixture gets so stiff it puts an enormous amount of toil on the motor. So imagine what my shoulders went through! But then if I think isn't that what electric motors are supposed to do? They are supposed to reduce the stressful repetitive work for humans, and there I was choosing the other way around. God knows why!

                                                                             I think I have solved the problem if I look at the process of making mayo from another point of view, rather than approaching  to make mayo with the mindset that “Oh I am gonna make home-made mayo with my own hands with the oscillating fear in mind that any point of time the mayo might curdle ruining all my hard work”, we need to approach mayo making with this mindset “ well I am gonna have a heavy arm workout, I need to some solid arm workout and after the workout I will have mayonnaise in my hands !” Walla! Do you see what a difference it makes!
                          I must tell you this dear reader that I have found the perfect way to make mayo and not getting you mad and shouting at everyone at the end of it. The secret is to “FAIL FIRST, CURDLE FIRST”. Once you have failed first the fear of curdling had got out of your mind which is relaxing. So begin by whisking adding oil drop by drop to the egg yolks, but then don’t forget that you are supposed to fail in this, you are supposed to curdle it by doing it wrong. So once you have done the wrong thing, take a little break and start with a fresh new egg yolk! In that way you will get less irritated and less mad at yourself, which is so cool. What will still be the same is the amount of hard hand-work, the mixture gets so stiff the whisk literally stand in it! So whisking becomes a real challenge.

 Anyways I am not gonna suggest you to make mayo by yourself because if I do you will end up cursing me! So just read it and forget it, don’t try to make it.

By the way my mayonnaise turned out to be very tasty, that’s the only positive against 4 negatives. I flavored my mayo with tamarind chutney which gave it a light brown color and amazing tanginess, roasted cumin powder, some asafetida/ hing adding its beautiful flavor and lastly a touch of honey. So it is a very special mayonnaise. If you were here I would have given you to taste it. Bon appétit!       

The recipe: you will need
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp of Tamarind pulp or Tamarind Chutney
1/4th tbsp of Asafetida/Hing
1 tsp of honey
½ tsp of cumin powder
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Pinch of red chili powder
225 ml of soybean/groundnut /sunflower oil
¾ tsp of salt
½-1 tsp of white wine vinegar
Freshly milled black pepper

Plus 1 extra egg yolk for the FAIL FIRST process

TIPS: Use a small basin with a narrow base, also try to choose something heavy which will move less as you whisk.  Place the heavy basin or mortar and pestle (I did it in mortal and pestle itself) over a damp cloth so that it will remain steady. Warm the basin or bowl slightly before you start to make the mayo, it ensured that mixture won’t curdle easily.

1.      1.. First crush the garlic in the slightly warmed mortar n pestle with a little salt, then add the egg yolks, freshly milled black pepper, tamarind chutney, cumin powder, hing, red chili powder, salt. Mix this entire together very well.  Then with the whisk in one hand, and the jug of oil or sauce dropper filled with oil in another hand add a drop of oil and mix it in.

2.    2.   Then add another drop of oil and mix in it. The key to successful mayo is every drop of oil must be well incorporated before the next drop is added. Now you might ask this will take the whole day! No it won’t, half an hour. After you do this for a couple of minutes, you can add the oil in a very thin steady thread while whisking and it will be fine. Mayo mostly curdles in the beginning when you add too much oil too quickly. Also as in my case my mayo curdled at the last stages when I was thinking Oh! Now it won’t curdle but it did too much oil too quickly. Also mayo will curdle if you surpass the maximum proportions of ¾ th cup of oil per egg yolk. So the oil has been added in droplets until the sauce is commenced to thicken. So the key words are “WARM BOWL”, “DROPLETS OF OIL WHISKED EVERY TIME UNTIL THE SAUCE THICKENS”, and “MAX. ¾ TH CUP OF OIL PER EGG YOLK”.  So after some minutes when you have added several drop of oil to the mixture, it will go very stiff, when it gets there add the white wine vinegar, it will thin the mixture down.

3.      3. Now start pouring the oil in a very very thin and steady steam while whisking all the time, take a little break in between. We are humans not some motor! Stop sometimes, whisk really well making sure all the oil is incorporated. So like this when you have finished all the oil, taste it, season with salt if you think it needs. Now add some more freshly milled black pepper and the honey and whisk in. if you think your mayo is very thick just add 2 tbsp of boiling water and whisk in.       

         So now if your mayo is curdled like mine, be happy, this is what we aimed for remember. Take a break, come back and start with a fresh egg yolk in a warm bowl. Beat it well, then add 1 drop of the curdled mixture, whisk and add one more drop, whisk. Do it for a couple of minutes and just keep doing until all the mixture is used up. There you have it! So if you have done it and in your hands you have the perfect mayo I am gonna pat your shoulders and shout “you are a hero, you have made mayonnaise! Bravo!”

That’s all folks. Don’t forget FAIL FIRST.