It's been a bad week for me and my sauces. Nothing has gone right and everything has split.
On Tuesday night I tried my hand at making mayonnaise for the first time. By hand. It's one of the skills I want to have before I die.
If you don't know, mayo is just an emulsion of egg yolk and oil (with a bit of acid to help open up the egg proteins and get them all tangled up with the oil). The trick is to incorporate the oil as slowly as possible, or so I've been told. I got together my ingredients (egg yolk, 3/4C canola oil, 1 tsp lemon juice + my trusty whisk) and started beating. I beat the yolk and then put in a drop of oil and beat it again. I did this repeatedly, until 1/4 of the oil was incorporated. Things were starting to look good at this point; my mixture was really really thick. I started adding the oil a little bit more aggressively, perhaps a tsp at a time. All the recipes I've read say to pour in the oil in a thin stream, but I couldn't figure out how to do that while whisking and holding onto the bowl. At about the 3/5C of oil things went down hill. The mixture started to break; after I stopped whisking, the oil would seep to the top. I was hungry and hopeful, so I continued on and used up the whole 3/4C. Adding more oil didn't help (my head knew that would happen, but there was still this irrational hope that it was wrong). I threw it into my prepared chicken salad mix, added some store bought mayo and ate it anyways.
Tonight was no better. I made myself macaroni and cheese but my cheese sauce split. Another bust.
My cheese sauce is basically roux, milk and cheese. My downfall this time around was the type of cheese I used. Have you ever wondered why you don't see macaroni and blue cheese sold anywhere? It's because it's hard to make a smooth sauce with blue cheese If the temperature of the sauce gets too high, the proteins can clump together leaving clumps of cheese and water. I made the mistake of adding the blue cheese in with the gouda and colby and now I have leftover mac and cheese that is really watery with tiny clumps of cheese dispersed throughout.
So that's been my culinary week (and it's only Thursday). Tomorrow I make something that's harder to screwup.