I have a few staples at the holidays and eggnog is one of them. Thankfully there is no calorie counting allowed during the holidays. I made this recipe last year and have been thinking about it ever since. It is worth the effort the taste and quality is above anything you can buy in the carton. I suggest making it at least two weeks ahead of time. It is quite boozy, so the longer the nog ages the mellower the flavor of the liquor. Rumor has it the eggnog can last for a year in the frig. But no worries it will be gone before that.
“The word nog was an Old English term for ale, and a noggin was the cup from whence it was drunk.
Although most Americans think of eggnog as something they get out of a milk carton during the two-week period leading up to Christmas, eggnog descends from sack posset, a strong, thick English beverage built upon eggs, milk and either a fortified wine (like Madeira) or ale. It was a highly alcoholic beverage, often served so thick it could be scooped. It was also very much an upper-class tipple, as rich folks were usually the only ones who could procure the proper ingredients.”
12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
1 pound sugar
1 pint half-n-half
1 pint whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup Jamaican rum
1 cup cognac
1 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid “ribbon.”
Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t age it a year, but I’ve just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.
I just wanted to share this pretty cherry pie picture we had on set the other day. The amazing stylist Karla Spies was preparing it in the studio and I had the pleasure of getting to watch her and see all the trade secrets. First of all its really a mash potato pie with a layer of cherries on top, so I guess a savory sweet pie. And the other tip I learned was she made her lattice pie crust on a sheet of wax paper and then put it in the freezer so she could lay the whole top on perfectly. Then let it thaw out and crimp the edges.
It was a thing of beauty, of course those stylist always make it look so easy. Perhaps this will inspire you for those thanksgiving pies that are right around the corner.
Take the time to celebrate any occasion, these champagne floats are sweet, bubbly and creamy. Pick your favorite sherbet flavor scoop into the glass and pour some champagne over the top and watch all the sparkly bubbly action that comes to life with your first scoop. Or you can wait for the sherbet to melt and sip. Ice Cream and bubbly could be for breakfast or dessert.
I am lucky enough to have this served to me when I visit Wild Country Maple Syrup farm. This recipe transforms bacon into a sweet and salty candy treat with a nice thick chewy bite. Great to snack on its own or use in other recipes. I recommend a bloody Mary garnish.
1 pound sliced bacon
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll baking pan with foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
Combine maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle the maple syrup over the slices of bacon and grind Black Pepper on top and for some more spice sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crisp.
Let cool on a rack for a few minutes to let them dry and stiffen up.
This is a new pizza I photographed that is in now in the grocer stores. I thought I would share this today because I thought it was a great new product. It has all natural ingredients with a nice flaky cornmeal crust. One of my favorites is the mushroom, I recommend adding fresh arugula to the top right out of the oven. Give it a try.
Hot Off the Press: a new magazine start-up called Our Green Plate—focused on farm to table and food culture in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. #ourgreenplate
I had the opportunity to do some recipe photography for the magazine. It was so much fun to work with the art director Brian Donahue at BeDesign Inc. and Karla Spies the amazing food stylist and set design collaborator. The recipes are delicious and perfect for the bounty of cucumbers harvested from the garden.
7 1⁄2 tablespoons or a scant 1⁄2 cup vodka, preferably organic
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cucumber simple syrup*
1 cucumber 1 lime
lemon bitters (optional)
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Cut the lime into eighths. Place 4 cucumber slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and add the simple syrup. Squeeze in one of the lime pieces and muddle them together.
Fill the shaker with ice, add vodka, cover and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add 2 or 3 drops of lemon bitters and garnish with thin slices of cucumber.
*For cucumber simple syrup, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water together in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat, add 6 or so cucumber slices. Pour in glass jar and store in the refrigerator up to a week.
This is a very flexible recipe; you can make it with or without the herbs, and omit any herb you don’t like or don’t have. If you just have parsley, that’s delicious too. If you like it extra garlicky, add another clove. Bottom line: it’s basically impossible to mess this recipe up!
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1⁄2 cucumber, English preferred
1⁄2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste or put through a garlic press olive oil
Peel and grate the cucumber on the large holes of a grater. Place in a small sieve and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then squeeze out all the excess water. Mix the cucumber in a small mixing bowl with the Greek yogurt, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon juice. Allow to rest in refrigerator for an hour or more before serving to develop flavors. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with a little olive oil drizzled on top (optional).
This Lemon lime shrub is a refreshing beverage to sip on as the temps and humidity keeps rising. The discovery of shrubs continues for me,. I found this recipe and many more in this book by Michael Dietsch, this is a great resource for process and recipes.
I mix this lemon lime shrub with sparkly water and either vodka or gin for a simple cocktail. With shrubs I suggest using a milder vinegar like a champagne or white wine and start by adding the vinegar in small quantities and continue to taste till you like the flavor.
5-6 lemons (yields one cup of juice)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
3/4 cup champagne vinegar
remove the yellow part of the lemon peel. Juice the lemons.
add the lemon and lime juice to vinegar and the oleo-saccharum. Blend to combine. put in jar and shake to blend. allow 3 to 4 days for flavors to meld.
In addition you do a process called oleo-saccharum with the peels of the lemons to add some more in-depth flavor to the sugar with blending the oils of the lemon peels and the sugar.
With a vegetable peeler remove the rind of the the lemon, careful to remove the white pith. And use the remaining zest.
place zest in bowl with sugar. Muddle the zest with sugar with a wooden spoon.
cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour or longer. After remove the peels and discard save the oily sugar to use in the shrub.
the sugar will add some zesty flavor to your shrub.
The rhubarb patch in the garden is ready for harvest and one of my favorite things to make is pie. This recipe is sweet and tart, what I like is there is only natural sugar in the pie. It’s made with maple syrup, lemon and ginger. Very simple ingredients and easy to make.