Yogurt and mayonnaise are two refrigerator staples most of us would never think of making. Well, I thought it was high time I made them from scratch. Not only do they taste wholesome and fresh, but I like that they are kind of a kitchen science experiment.

Yogurt and mayonnaise are two refrigerator staples most of us would never think of making. Well, I thought it was high time I made them from scratch.

Not only do they taste wholesome and fresh, but I like that they are kind of a kitchen science experiment.

My third recipe is creme fraiche, which means “fresh cream” in French. Creme fraiche is a decadent type of sour cream with a creamy texture and tart flavor. It is very expensive in the store, but it is easy and inexpensive to make at home. And this time of year, it tastes wonderful over fresh fruits, puddings or warm cobblers.

HOMEMADE YOGURT

4 cups organic milk (whole, 2 percent or low-fat) 3 tablespoons organic yogurt starter (or a good-quality yogurt with active culture will do)

Pour milk into a very clean, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Gently heat milk until it reaches 185 degrees when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat, and allow to cool at room temperature until the thermometer reads between 105 and 115 degrees. Whisk in the yogurt starter. Pour the mixture into a clean, sterilized quart jar with a tight-fitting lid. Wrap the jar in a thick towel and set aside for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove towel and place jar in refrigerator to chill. To serve, mix with honey, maple syrup, fruit or vanilla extract. Use within two weeks.

*Whole milk makes for a thicker yogurt. If you opt for reduced-fat versions, you will notice more water separated from the finished product. Just pour off the water before using. Makes 4 cups.

-- “Garden Gate To Dinner Plate, Farms and Foods of Ohio,” by Marilou K. Suszko

HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

2 egg yolks 1 whole egg 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard Pinch of salt Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice 2 cups corn or other vegetable oil, or best quality Olive oil

Combine egg yolks, whole egg, mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and half of the lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 1 minute.

With the motor running, dribble in the oil in a slow steady stream. When all the oil is in, shut motor off, and scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula.

Taste mayonnaise, and correct seasoning if necessary. If you are using vegetable oil, you will probably need the remaining lemon juice. Scrape mayonnaise into a storage container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Mayonnaise will keep safely in the refrigerator for at least five days. Let it return to room temperature before stirring. Makes 3 cups.

Flavored mayonnaise

Tomato-Basil Mayo: 1 cup homemade mayo, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil, dash of Tabasco, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Mint-Yogurt Mayo: 1 cup homemade mayo, 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, rinsed and patted dry, 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, all stirred into mixture after processing.

Honey-Mustard Mayo: 1 cup homemade mayo, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons mustard.  

Mayonnaise Nicoise: 1 cup homemade mayo, 1 tablespoon capers, drained, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon anchovy paste, 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced, large pinch of oregano, processed until smooth.

-- “The Silver Palate”

HOMEMADE CREME FRAICHE

1 cup heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized) 1 cup dairy sour cream

Whisk both together in a bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let stand in the kitchen or other reasonably warm spot overnight, until thickened. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, after which the creme fraiche will be quite thick. The tart flavor will continue to develop as it sits in the refrigerator. Good for at least two weeks in refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Use as a thickener for soups or sauces, as a dessert topping, or in boiled recipes as it will not curdle. Stir a few spoonfuls into butter-warmed vegetables for a simple sauce. Whisk some into salad dressing for extra flavor and texture.

-- “The Silver Palate”