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Dumb Things To Do Before Starting a Diet

October 23, 2013

New Jersey is a terrible place to try to eat healthy. Not that there aren’t healthy options. It’s just that the greasy gut bomb hoagies are oddly compelling. They are disgusting to be sure, which makes it that much more surprising that I find myself addicted to them.

And we’re just a short drive from the famous greasy sandwiches in the City of Brotherly Love. Plus there is all that pizza outside of Trenton I want to try. North of Princeton are the venerable deep fried Italian hot dog shops. One of these days I would also like to buy both a Case Pork Roll and a Taylor Ham to put through the paces in a side-by-side tasting.

However, yesterday was my first mega cardiovascular workout in a long long time. I danced for over an hour and sweat like I haven’t sweat in years. Richard Simmons would have been so proud.

Now, there is really only just one thing holding me back. Because while I may be able to muster some short term resolve in avoiding some of the foods listed above, I recently made a batch of homemade mayonnaise. And dammit, I’m not going to let all of that goodness go to waste.

Yesterday, I hollowed out a boiled yukon gold potato and filled it with a scoop of the mayo mixed with garlic. You know what? I’m going to do that again today too. Because it’s so damn good.

I should probably back up a moment. After all, what was I doing making mayo in the first place if I knew I was trying to turn over a healthier leaf?

Well for starters, one could argue that homemade mayo is health food. There is no dreck in it. Mine is made with expeller pressed safflower oil and extra virgin olive oil. The eggs come from the farmers market, and are great. Then it’s just some vinegar, citrus, salt, mustard and sugar.

This was actually the first time I successfully made mayonnaise myself. Previously I thought I would try to be a badass and do it by hand, but my emulsion broke. It was a tragedy.

Having learned my lesson, last weekend I went with Alton Brown’s “Party Mayonnaise” that’s made in a food processor. Super easy. Great results. And it works well as the base for a lot of flavorful dips.

It was also appropriate since I was making this for a party. Or rather a potluck.

The dish I was bringing was a Spanish potato tortilla. You might want to call it an omelet or a frittata. But those things are different. This is a tortilla. And no, it bears no resemblance to those flatbreads that are used in assembling tacos or burritos.

For a potluck, I thought this was a smart idea. One of the things I always fret about at potlucks is getting the dish to the party hot, without having it wilt in transit. The tortilla is traditionally served at room temperature. And since it’s a classic dish for tapas, it is easy to cut up into small pieces. It also goes well with wine.

But with all of those earthy potatoes and flavor muting eggs, it could really use a bright intense sauce to perk it up a bit. Even with the bacon I added. Because, you know, bacon.

As luck would have it, I still had some jarred, oil-cured sun dried tomatoes in the fridge. My preference would be towards soaking my own, but occasionally you have to go with what’s on hand. A few tablespoons of those, a cup of Alton Brown’s “party mayonnaise” and whir in the food processor, and the sauce was done (after correcting for seasoning).

Later in the week, I combined tablespoons of the base mayonnaise with Sriracha to put on eggs. I already mentioned the garlic to pair it with potatoes. If I could get to one of the local farms, I’ve been considering getting more eggs to devil or turn into a “salad”.

All of these mayonnaise based foods are things I usually avoid. But that’s just because it’s almost impossible to find a commercial mayo that isn’t full of things I don’t want to eat.

Having a big bowl of the stuff at home is dangerous.

Fortunately, it is made with raw eggs, so it won’t keep forever. By this weekend it will be gone, and then I’ll just have to resist making another batch. That will go right up there on the list of the other temptations I’m avoiding. Did I tell you about the deep fried calzone?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2013 7:09 pm

    I just can’t bring myself to try making mayo, ’cause I know when I tried to eat it, I’d be thinking “you’re eating raw eggs, you saw them go in and not get cooked.”

  2. October 25, 2013 3:53 am

    Oh my…homemade mayo…definitely dangerous! I find myself making up things I need mayo for just so I can keep it hanging around the house! Definitely a must try for everyone…and with Sriracha..LOVE. Now I know what’s happening for breakfast….sriracha mayo and eggs! Perfect!

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