Wednesday, May 8, 2013

stress relief, two ways

When I'm under stress, there's something incredibly gratifying about making homemade mayonnaise. I don't know what it is - perhaps it's the act of whipping something by hand until my arm feels like it will fall off. But most likely it's about creating simple magic in the kitchen.

It's amazing how you can transform the humble egg yolk with a few other simple ingredients -- salt, a little water, a little lemon juice, and vegetable oil (and some arm muscle) -- into something so luscious and decadent. Even the word for the process to make mayonnaise sounds luscious: emulsion (in general terms, a mixture of ingredients that generally don't mix - like oil and water). Come on, say it to yourself. Doesn't the word "emulsion" sound like something so silky-smooth?

Ok, I know, I'm a bit strange like that. Kitchen chemistry just fascinates me. I actually never liked chemistry, but I bet if I learned chemistry in the context of food, I would have aced that class.

I use Michael Ruhlman's foolproof method and recipe, though I usually go a bit heavier on the lemon juice. And I added some fresh lemon zest for good measure. Occasionally I might add some minced garlic and chopped fresh rosemary -- so good. After making homemade mayonnaise a few times, the store-bought kind just doesn't compare. Since we actually don't use mayonnaise very often, I just don't buy it anymore, but every now and then I crave mayonnaise. I can't wait to slather it on toast with some slices of fresh summer tomatoes.

homemade mayonnaise

But, the problem with making homemade mayonnaise is when one makes it after dinner for no apparent reason, and decides that some roasted baby potatoes would go so well with it, and proceeds to roast said potatoes with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then dip them in the mayonnaise... after dinner.

Or one can also go to Krav Maga class, which is what I did last night, after work.

I don't know why, but I always feel somewhat nervous walking into the class. I arrived early, and for a while I was the only female there (aside from the receptionist). Thankfully another woman arrived and we talked for a bit before class. The Padded Guy (see the back story on my previous KM update here) saw me and jokingly told the other woman, "Watch out for that girl," [meaning, me] "...she's vicious." Haha!

The other girl and I decided to partner up for the drills. I know it's important to also train with men - who are bigger and stronger - but I'm almost always the smallest one in the room anyway, so man or woman, they tend to be bigger than I am.

But the nervousness goes away. We are all just learning and doing the best we can.

Last night we did "focus mitts" for punching and elbow strikes, as well as kicks, knee strikes, and defense for choking. We also practiced a situation in which you had to do punching practice on focus mitts and then someone comes up to you from behind to simulate a choking situation - in which case you had to defend yourself against not one, but two people.

After all that punching, I realized I needed something like these:
hand wraps, photo from here

...Otherwise, I might come in to work and have people look at my knuckles and wonder what kind of fights I'm getting into. :)

And despite my nervousness coming into class, I always - without a doubt - feel so great afterwards. Tension just seems to dissipate with every punch, strike, and kick.

A yoga class would have been perfect after this, but they weren't offering it on the schedule that day - so I just drove home, took a shower, and laid in savasana for several minutes. Aaaaaahhhhh....

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