Test Kitchen Q & A
Mayonnaise, macaroni salad, whipped butter and homemade salad dressing tips
Q. I bought a huge jar of mayonnaise and can't seem to use it up. How long will the jar keep in the refrigerator? Any ideas for using up the mayo?
—Linda King, Dunwoody, Georgia
A. Commercially produced mayonnaise keeps well after opening for 2 to 6 months in the refrigerator. Be sure to check the "best used by" date on the jar. Why not use some of it to make flavored mayonnaise? By stirring a few ingredients into store-bought mayo or combining them in a food processor, it's easy to create a gourmet spread or distinctive salad dressing. You can also use flavored mayo in tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, deviled eggs, potato salad or crab cakes.
Or try mixing mayo with chutney and fresh thyme, pesto and fresh chopped basil and/or chopped almonds, red pepper flakes, paprika, chili powder and ground cumin, chopped pickled jalapenos and fresh cilantro or chunky salsa.
Dry Macaroni Salad
Q. My macaroni salad always tastes dry, even though I add plenty of dressing. How can I keep it moist?
— E.C., York Springs, Pennsylvania
A. Noodles are very absorbent, so either serve your salad right away or only add two-thirds of the dressing. Allow the flavors to blend by chilling the salad and dressing a few hours or overnight. Then add the rest of the dressing just before serving. Keep in mind that the longer the salad sits, the more dressing the noodles will absorb.
Making Whipped Butter
Q. I love the whipped butter served in some restaurants with pancakes. Is there a way I can make it at home?
—A.S., Russell, Minnesota
A. Let your butter soften at room temperature, then beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Some restaurants mix in a little honey, confectioners' sugar or orange peel for added flavor.
Homemade Salad Dressing
Q. I love to make the salad dressings in Taste of Home. How long do homemade dressings keep in the refrigerator?
— J.D., Lino Lakes, Minnesota
A. The shelf life of salad dressings varies somewhat. Generally, vinaigrettes can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Dairy-based dressings, like buttermilk, and dressings made with fresh ingredients, like chopped onion, fresh herbs, tomato sauce and chopped hard-cooked egg, will keep up to one week.