Monday, May 11, 2009

a big bowl of failure

Lately, I've really sucked at cooking. There was the salty shortbread issue, a bland chicken tomato problem that was so awful I couldn't even write about it here, and now my aioli failure. (I can also add a batch of chocolate drop cookies that called for margarine but I refuse to buy margarine and used butter instead. I was told by my resident food critic, the Dirty Fisherman, that I was wrong and shouldn't always insist on using butter for everything. This from a man who lives on bean burritos and turkey burgers when I'm not around. Also, butter always wins.)

I took a picture of it, but really who wants to see a bunch of really oily mayonnaise? Nobody.

I followed a recipe for traditional aioli from Larousse Gastronomique. The encyclopedia of french cooking. Also known as the book that is NEVER wrong and ALWAYS awesome. It sucked a big one this last Saturday.

I was feeling that adding garlic and lemon juice to regular old Best Foods wasn't good enough for my cockle fritters. I looked up four (4) aioli/mayonnaise recipes and finally settled on Larousse's. There were 4 cloves of garlic, 1 egg yolk, and 1 cup of olive oil. It was perfect after 3/4 cup of oil, but the recipe said 1 cup. That 1/4 cup of oil curdled what should have been a bowl of bliss. When aioli fails it's called curdling.

After scooping all the oily goo out of my Cuisinart (throwing it away was not an option because olive oil costs about $20/liter here and I am frugal) whirring another yolk and adding the mixture to it. I was about to huck this mess out the door.

Julia Child saved the day. You can save a problem like broken or curdled aioli by mixing 1 Tbsp yuck aioli with 1 tsp prepared mustard and whisking vigorously. Then you add your abomination of an aioli 1 tsp at a time and whisk until you have a perfect aioli. It totally worked but my wrist is sore today.

So, in conclusion Julia Child kicked the crap out of Larousse. Really, Larousse learn to convert or something.


  1. Last week I made a potato and goat cheese gratin but the liquid never reduced and after over an hour in the oven all I had were crumbly potatoes in a rather unappetizing curdled broth. Over the weekend I was going to make mini quiches, except that for some reason pie crust decided that we had been friends long enough and it turned against me. No quiches. Oh, and in terms of your aioli, I 'made' Lebanese garlic sauce (toum) a few weeks ago. I'm half Lebanese, which makes this even more shameful. It never came together, the garlic was so overwhelming that I couldn't even use it as a base for a salad dressing, and I left that experience so distraught that I may never try again.

    Isn't failure FUN??! :)

  2. Oh gosh. It's pretty lousy, but at least I get it. (I'm half french so french food know-how should be running through my veins.)

    Failure is fun. It's at least hilarious.