Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 lg organic egg yolk*
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sunflower oil (or canola oil)

1/4 tsp pepper
1 packet stevia
Pinch of paprika

Combine yolk, salt, water and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Start whisking vigorously dripping the oil very slowly, in the beginning. Be careful not to incorporate too much oil initially or it will separate and you will have to start over. Continue whisking non-stop, using a towel under the bowl to stabilize it.

Slowly add more oil - you will see the mayonnaise start to thicken. Continue until all oil is incorporated and the mayo is thickened. Season with salt and pepper (and add additional lemon juice, if desired).

If using an immersion blender:
Place egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and salt in the bottom of an immersion blender cup. Pour oil on top and allow to settle for 30 seconds. Place head of immersion blender at bottom of cup and turn it on. Tilt and lift the head of the immersion blender until all oil is emulsified. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week.

*Pasteurized or irradiated eggs are safe to use in raw preparations - so be sure to use organic eggs to prevent risk of salmonella poisoning.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


One of the things I used to love about my childhood was family time. Grandmothers are often the glue that holds the family together and the Johnson family was no exception. My grandmother used to gather everyone together on Sundays and holidays so we could enjoy family time. And sadly, since her transition, those moments of family, food and fellowship rarely take place any longer.

During my childhood, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house. I must say that initially I would go with dread, because as a young child I always wanted to go outside to play. And there were no kids around her house, nothing to do in her neighborhood and just not many things to get in to, other than the sweets she always kept around the house. To make bad matters worse, my piano instructor lived across the street from her. And I always felt like I had to hide from her lest she make me come over and start rehearsing for my next audition. Because there was nothing for a young person to do, I ended up spending a lot of time bonding with Nana at the kitchen table, watching her tidy up around the house and learning how to find my way around the kitchen.

My grandmother was a serious baker and did most, if not all, of her baking from scratch. I used to love watching her cook and bake. Breakfast at her house would often consist of homemade cinnamon buns, biscuits, scrambled eggs, livermush, grits and/or applesauce.

So today I had a healthier version of grandma's breakfast and, I must say, my biscuits might give Nana a run for her money! She would be proud.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup of buttermilk

Whole Wheat Biscuits

2 c white whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 packet stevia
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cold unsalted butter
1 c milk (I used unsweetened hemp milk)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add milk, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.

Pour dough out on a floured surface and knead for a minute. Create ball with dough and roll it out. Do not knead too much or biscuits will be tough.

Using a round cutter, cut out your biscuits and place on baking sheet. Do not twist cutter from side to side when cutting biscuits. Bake until tops are browned, about 12-15 minutes. Brush each biscuit with melted butter and serve warm.

Spending time with Nana, having Sunday and holiday dinners, catching episodes of the Edge of Night and As The World Turns at the kitchen table, watching how she cooked with love and soul...and not to mention the soft peppermint sticks and Brach's candy mix in her living room candy jar...Priceless.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Red Beans and Rice

Popeye's Chicken just opened in Charlotte - and in the mall no less. All day long I kept hearing about people going to partake in the fried chicken and red beans and rice. So that has somehow influenced me to prepare my own red beans and rice today, along with some buttermilk cornbread.

Brown rice, unless it is wild rice, is not one of the favorite items on my clean eating list. I am not a fan of the grainy, firm texture. I don't like soggy rice; but I do like for it to be fluffy as opposed to firm. However, I decided to try a brand of brown basmati rice from Trader Joe's that turned out to be perfect for this dish. Even better, it cooks in 15 minutes, whereas most brown rice has to cook for at least an hour.

Brown rice is nutritious, a good source of energy, contains fiber and is fat burning!

Red Beans and Rice

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
medium yellow onion
1 small  green bell pepper, diced
1/2 c red pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced (optional)
1/4 c parsley
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight 
4 cups water
2 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced

Cooked white or brown rice
Green onions, garnish

Heat oil and sautée garlic, onion, green and red pepper and celery for 3-5 minutes. Add seasonings and beans.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add andouille sausage.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.