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It’s time for some strong words. Sometimes, the truth hurts, but I have confidence that together we can help you see the light.
IF YOU HAVEN’T HAD MY FAMILY’S EGGNOG RECIPE, YOU HAVE NEVER HAD EGGNOG.
There, I said it.
Now, swallow your denials. I know, you’re a worldly sort. You’ve been around, tried an eggnog or two in your time. Some from a store. Maybe a soynog (*shudder*). If you’ve been fortunate, you may have even had a loved one concoct something from scratch.
I am here to tell you: I’m about to rock your eggnog world. Forget the pale competition. No matter how much cinamon and nutmeg you tart those other pretenders up with, you’re not drinking the real thing. One swallow of this recipe, and you will be converted. Choirs of angels singing and the whole she-bang.
And with that… we draw back the curtain, and share with the world the secret family recipe:
THE ONE AND ONLY GLORIOUS EGGNOG
2/3 c sugar
4 turkey egg yolks (…or, 5 chicken egg yolks if you don’t have a turkey rancher’s regular supply of the big bird’s eggs!)
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. whole milk
1 c. cream
4 egg whites
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. whipping cream
26 oz good quality dark rum
Beat sugar and egg yolks together in a heavy med-largish pot. Add salt, milk and cream and cook (stirring constantly over medium heat) until mixture coats spoon. Chill.
Once completely chilled, beat egg whites until foamy and gradualy add 6 tbsp of sugar. Gently fold stiff egg whites into custard and mix with rum. Chill 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, whip the cream, and dot on the surface. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Serve in a c. 1955 crystal punch bowl, no more than 1/2 c at a time (Janelle: “you only need a 1/2c at a time… unless you’re a super-lush. Berry and Eva, govern yourselves accordingly!”). It’s strong and totally delicious.
Stay tuned for post-christmas photos.
From the snowbanks of Saskatchewan,
Deanna and Janelle
It’s National Noodle Ring Day.
I’m all about comfort food. It’s just that the food that comforts me is wild mushroom risotto with sherry and truffle oil; or the upcoming (watch for it) oysters, duck and champagne dinner Della and I have planned for Boxing Day.
There are recipes all over the internet for baked noodle rings with cheese sauce (it’s apparently a German recipe). I thought I’d spruce it up a bit by making an authentic baked macaroni and cheese (in a ring, of course). Perhaps drizzle in some truffle oil (that would definitely comfort me). But I couldn’t do it. It’s too close to Christmas. I tend toward a certain “curviness” as it is, and as I have only a few precious Christmas calories to spend, I prefer to spend mine on eggnog. Vats of it. I could go on and on about eggnog. Deanna will be blogging about eggnog on Christmas Eve, and I eagerly anticipate her recipe.
So instead (shameless cheater that I am), I made a ring with whole-wheat spaghetti and my Mom’s spaghetti sauce (with a few adjustments of my own). Less calories than mac-n-cheese, leaving room for those vats of eggnog.
Spaghetti Sauce is the “Betty” to Bolognese’s “Veronica”. It’s the girl next door of pasta sauce: uncomplicated and friendly, it will give you a hug at the end of a long day and listen to you complain about your life with love in its eyes. This sauce is the height of simplicity. It was often a birthday dinner in our house (who doesn’t love spaghetti?).
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
A note on the dried herbs: you will recall that I grew up on the prairies. When I was growing up, you couldn’t buy fresh herbs in the grocery store year-round. Also, I’m surprised to discover that fresh herbs can become bitter in a sauce that’s simmered over several hours. I like to use the dried and then finish with fresh just before the end.
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, small dice
- 3 stalks celery, small dice
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 2 lbs extra-lean ground chicken or turkey
- 3 C sliced mushrooms
- 1 large carrot, peeled & grated (feel free to add other diced vegetables as desired)
- 2 T dried oregano
- 1 T dried basil
- 1 T dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1 bay leaf
- 3, 16-oz cans whole plum tomatoes, with juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 T fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme or a combination)
- tomato paste (if required)
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the onions and celery and sauté until the onions are translucent and starting to brown (5-7 minutes).
- Add the garlic and chicken or turkey. Sauté until lightly browned, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break apart the chicken into small chunks.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned and moisture has cooked off.
- Add the carrot, oregano, thyme and rosemary and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the carrot is softened.
- Add the tomatoes, using your wooden spoon or spatula to break them up a bit (don’t worry, they’ll have lots of time to soften up). Add the bay leaf.
- Don’t salt and pepper it yet – it will reduce and the flavours will intensify.
- Simmer gently (do not boil the hell out of it) for 3-5 hours with the lid off. (This way you’ll thicken the sauce to the point that you shouldn’t need tomato paste)
- When thickened (or when you give up), add the fresh herbs and cook for another hour with the lid on. If your sauce is watery, add some tomato paste to thicken. Taste your sauce and add salt and pepper as required.
- Then… put it in the fridge overnight. (Yes, that’s right. The best spaghetti sauce has had some beauty rest before the big show. Come on, do you think Betty would try to seduce Archie after a long, tiring day?)
- The next day, slowly heat the sauce to simmer (not boil).
Serve with spaghetti and fresh parmesan.
If you want to make the recipe more “Mom-thentic” (for all of you shameless bacon-eaters out there):
- skip the olive oil. Instead, dice -8 slices of good bacon and sautee until browned.
- add the rest of the ingredients as above, but
- use ground beef instead of chicken.
P.S. Sage, the apron was a sturdy blue jean. Jim has a matching man-apron in the same fabric.