As a general rule

We went skiing this weekend. In my book, skiing as a general rule ought to include the following: normally attractive friends totally nonplussed by the fact that their greasy, bodyless hair has taken on the shape of a ski helmet, long underwear so beloved and worn it forms a saggy hammock reaching nearly to your knees, and, most importantly, headbonk medicine.

My father first came up with headbonk medicine when my sister and I were little girls. He was a bit of a ski Nazi. Anytime it snowed, we had to go skiing, or else he would get "ski stress," as my mother referred to the affliction. Growing up in Maine as we did, this meant we went skiing quite a bit. To ensure we skied through all fifty dollars of our day passes, my father kept a supply of Starbursts, Rolos, and miniature Snickers bars in his pockets. Anyone who bonked their head and wanted to go in could be easily enticed into another run with a reach into his jacket.

While I have come to love skiing and no longer require bribery, I still always ski with a good supply of headbonk medicine in my jacket pocket. My favorite kind is Milk Duds, which freeze into brittle lumps of caramel in your pocket and last the entire lift ride slowly melting sugar from your teeth. If you carry enough headbonk medicine, I've even found you can skip lunch on an especially spectacular powder day.

We had one of those Sunday. It snowed nearly a foot while we were out, and it was hardly worth stopping for long. We went in for hot chocolate late morning, and a quick p.b. and j. in the early afternoon, but other than that we were squatting recklessly down the hill and hitting every puffy cloud of fresh snow we could. The Milk Duds got us through the day, and even into the hot tub and through a few bottles of beer, but needless to say they weren't doing much when dinner time rolled around.

Luckily, we'd made a big pot of soup the night before, so all that was left to make was a few sides. It was a haddock and chorizo soup, with corn frozen this summer, and lots and lots of sea scallops, and saffron, and onions, and plenty of garlic. It was salty, warm, and above all, filled you up quite well. But after a day of chocolate, caramel, and elaborate hot drinks, we thought maybe a salad and some bread would be a good idea too.

That's where the blue cheese dressing came in. We had sort of a motley assortment of foods in the fridge, but the one thing we had plenty of was blue cheese. We had nearly 10 pounds, in fact, certainly enough to top a salad. So I began whisking an egg yolk while a friend drizzled in olive oil, and before long we had a greenish, virgin oil mayo.

I added a bit of smoked sea salt, a whole wedge of cheese, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. The resulting dressing was certainly not light, but it was very good. It was especially good over a wintry mix of bitter greens, with thinly sliced onions, and nothing else.


1 egg yolk
3/4 cup olive oil
1 small wedge blue cheese
cider vinegar

In a medium sized measuring cup, using a small whisk or fork, beat egg yolk for several seconds. Begin drizzling in olive oil, very, very slowly at first, whisking all the while. As the mixture thickens and turns opaque, begin adding oil more quickly, still whisking constantly. The egg yolk should absorb all 3/4 cups of the oil.

Using this homemade mayonnaise as a base, crumble in blue cheese. Stir well, and add 1 tablespoon cider vinegar. Taste the dressing. Continue adding vinegar to taste, or until it balances out the mayo and blue cheese. You won't need much of this over salad; a little bit goes a long way. It's especially good over endive leaves or spinach tossed with red onion and small pieces of bacon.

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