Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mayonnaise with Pullets and Canola

We get our eggs from a friend who raises chickens in his backyard in Fremont. He keeps a variety of types so the shell colors vary. The chickens have a nice set up and they spend a portion of the day wandering around the backyard pecking at things. We notice the difference.

Last week we were offered a dozen pullet eggs. Being a city slicker, I had no idea what a pullet egg was. A Google search told me that pullets are adolescent chickens that are just beginning to lay eggs. The egg itself is smaller and some may contain no yolk. It's hard to tell in the photo but the front two are pullet eggs and the back two regular large eggs. Some chefs claim pullets are superior to the extra large eggs we are accustomed to seeking. Here's a link if you want to read more.

I decided to try the pullet eggs in a homemade mayonnaise recipe I got from a colleague with some embellishments after doing some online research.

  • Try to have all ingredients at room temperature
  • 1 egg - I used 2 pullets
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow mustard - 1 teaspoon (mustard powder is an option)
  • Sugar - 1 teaspoon
  • Canola Oil - 2 cups
  • Vinegar or lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
  1. Combine egg, salt, sugar, and mustard in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended (about 30 seconds)
  2. With the electric mixer on high speed, gradually pour in oil. At first, use a 1/4 teaspoon measure to add the oil drop by drop. After awhile you can switch to a teaspoon. Keep mixing while continuing to slowly add oil. After the first cup is in you can start adding oil with a tablespoon but still do it slowly and make sure the oil is mixed in before adding more (this should take 15 minutes or more)
  3. Add vinegar or lemon juice to set. Keep mixing until well incorporated
  4. Leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours then refrigerate
Other recipes to explore:
Alton Brown's Food Network Recipe
Mayonnaise Recipe from Cooking with Amy

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reforming the Food System

Michael Pollan was recently interviewed on NPR's Living on Earth radio show ( It is a great interview and he ties together our fossil fuel-based food system with health care reform and climate change. It is worth a listen

... our eating habits, what happens on our plate represents our deepest, most powerful engagement with the rest of the world.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Notes on Apple Tree Care

I am confused about my apple tree. The apple tree is about done producing for the year and I have not been able to get many apples. They never seemed ripe enough to eat. I kept waiting for the skin to lose the brown color and for the green to emerge. During that time the birds and squirrels were enjoying them. What's going on is unclear to me. So I thought I would do some online research and make notes for next year.

  • Winter Pruning: Prune the tree in the winter while it is dormant. Late winter or early spring is best. After the frost season.
  • Spraying: A regular spray program is essential for high fruit quality and healthy trees. Use a multipurpose fungicide and insecticide labeled for apples. These can be obtained from a garden center and will include application instructions.
  • Spraying: A horticultural oil should also be sprayed on apple trees at the first sign of green growth in the spring to suffocate scale insects and reduce overwintering mite and aphid eggs. For homeowners with only a few trees, premixed orchard sprays are available from many garden centers. Begin applications after full bloom is over and spray every 10 to 14 days through-out the summer.
  • Fertilize: Apply one pound of fertilizer in early spring before growth begins. Broadcast it evenly on the soil surface under the entire branch spread of the tree. Keep it away from the base of the tree to avoid burning. A complete garden fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is best.
  • Thin Fruit: Apple trees often set a heavier crop of fruit than the limbs can withstand. To ensure good fruit size, return bloom for the following year, and to prevent tree breakage, it is necessary to thin the fruit. Every apple blossom results in a bloom cluster of 5 to 6 blossoms. Apples should be thinned when they are about the size of a dime. Cut off enough fruit so that the remaining apples are spaced 4 to 6 inches apart, and leave only one fruit per cluster. It may seem like very few fruit remain, but you will harvest higher-quality fruit, potentially reduce insect and disease problems, and increase the chances for a full crop the next season.
  • Fertilize end of season: Give fruiting and spring flowering plants a dose of E.B. Stone Ultra Bloom before they drop their leaves for winter and go dormant. This gives it the right nutrients to store in order to put on a better show in the spring or to produce better fruit in the coming year.