Here are ways to overcome missteps with mayonnaise, water melons - and snails
“GOD-FORSAKEN” Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey Through the World of Strange, Obscure and Underappreciated Wine” author Jason Wilson recently joined The Washington Post Food staff to answer questions about all things edible. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.
Q: I attempted to make mayonnaise and mistakenly added the whole egg instead of the egg yolk. Is there any way I can salvage what I mixed or should I just throw it away and start over?
A: I’ve made mayonnaise using a whole egg. Seems like you could just keep blending and adding oil until it gets where you want. Did it break and/or separate? Even in that case, you can whisk your broken mayo into another fresh yolk and usually save it.
Q: Is it okay to freeze or refrigerate muffin batter? Also, how long can it sit on the counter without becoming unusable? I made a recipe for two loaves of banana bread but decided to make mini muffins instead. Halfway through the batter, I have enough muffins for weeks.
A: I frequently refrigerate muffin batter overnight (portioned out into the pans, to be baked fresh in the morning). I forget where I saw this tip - maybe a WilliamsSonoma cookbook? - but it suggested letting the batter rest overnight so that the dry ingredients would more fully absorb the wet ones, and to guarantee moist muffins. I know it goes against most advice with baking powder activation and what not, but it works!
I would refrigerate the batter (you don’t have to portion it out, just in the bowl is fine), rather than leaving it on the counter. It’ll be good for at least eight hours.
Q: What measures are being taken to insure that snails don’t escape from escargot farms?
A: The USDA does a lot of inspection to make sure that the greenhouse is secure, and the plastic pens that the snails live in are secure and they can’t escape. The farm is essentially a quarantined facility. Ric Brewer in the Pacific Northwest has been trying to get his quarantine facility approved for several years now and it’s still not finalised, so he can only work with what’s already local. The USDA is pretty strict about snail farms. You can’t just toss a bunch of snails and some dirt in a greenhouse and start farming.
Q: Please tell this kimchi virgin the best way to begin enjoying it.
A: It’s excellent to eat as a small side dish to whatever you’re got on your plate or in your bowl - salads, noodle dishes, soups, big proteins. For something a little (but barely) more involved, I love a kimchi fried rice. And I put it in sandwiches with cheddar and an apple for something special.
Q: I bought a watermelon that left something to be de- sired. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t good. What can I do with it to make it a bit better? I was thinking of blending it, straining it, and then using the juice in cocktails or lemonade, but I tend to do that every summer.
A: I know that restaurants have tricks to deal with lessthan-ideal watermelon. One trick is to drizzle a citrussyrup on top of cut melon. It turns mediocre watermelon into . . . well, something different. Not bad, exactly, but not great ripe watermelon. – Washington Post