Youth Engagement

It is always a pleasure and an honour to cook for youth of all ages. I believe that having a positive relationship with food needs to start at a young age, the effects of which will last a lifetime.

I recently had the pleasure of witnessing a kid step outside his food comfort zone. He asked what something was and proceeded to try it. I shared with with him why I love radishes and why they are one of my favourite  snacks when I’m out working in the garden. I must admit that for the longest time I thought all kids were picky and not open to trying new things. Since I started spending time cooking with and for youth, my experiences have taught me the opposite is true.

When raw vegetables are a difficult sell, I find having a tasty dip can help in the introduction of new textures and flavours. I have found success with mayonnaise-based dips. When doing this I make my own – it has no artificial preservatives and I can control the flavour of the end product. It may seem intimidating at first but it is a rewarding experience.

Hand-beaten Mayo
Note: If you have a food processor the same steps can be followed.

Ingredients:

3 egg yolks
1 Tb vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp prepared mustard
1 ½ to 2 ¼ cups of an oil of your choice (For a beginner I recommend using 1 ½ cups of oil)

Directions:

I am paraphrasing Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is the recipe I learned to make mayonnaise with and a great place to start for any cook.

The sauce will turn out better when everything is at room temperature. So to prepare, I often let my eggs warm up on the counter.

I use a stainless steel bowl and a pot that it will fit in. I line the pot with a towel and place the bowl in it. This will provide you with a stable base for making the mayonnaise. I also prefer to use a balloon whisk with many wires on it. This will help incorporate air as you whisk and speed up the process.

Separate yolks from whites. Save the whites for another preparation (like meringues). Beat the egg yolks for a minute or so with the wire whip.

Add the vinegar or lemon juice, salt and mustard. Beat for 30 seconds more.

The yolks are now ready to receive the oil. This is where the magic happens. The vinegar has made the yolks able to bond with the oil, otherwise they would be incompatible. Start by adding your oil drop by drop, you must not stop until the sauce has thickened. This should happen after ⅓ to a ½ cup of the oil has been incorporated and it is thickened to a heavy cream. The crisis is then over. You may take a brief rest.

The rest of the oil can be added in larger increments, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Be sure to blend well after each addition.

When the sauce becomes too thick or stiff, beat in a couple drops of vinegar or lemon juice, then continue with the oil.

If the mayonnaise has split, you can save it and start a new emulsion with eggs and lemon juice. Repeat the first step of adding the oil in drop by drop then slowly whisk in the split mayonnaise.

For more details and a more in-depth look at making mayonnaise, type into your favourite search engine: “julia child mayonnaise recipe.”

If you have difficulty please send me an email at citytoland@gmail.com.

For the Vegetable Dip

Now that you have your mayonnaise base, add equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream with an assortment of soft herbs like chives, parsley and chervil.