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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Guest Paul Ross: Food writing, eggnog and life

Special Guest
I had a great guest on the show last week and I didn't have time to do a proper post, so here it is ... a bit late. Paul talked about holiday beverages and gave us all kinds of great food history. When discussing Eggnog Paul says "There are tons of recipes out there but almost all employ a mix of the following ingredients: cream and/or milk, sugar (or other preferred sweetener), spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg are the most common) and eggs (some now go with a pasteurized or powdered product). Of course, you can use a pre-made mix (there's even Rice Nog for the dairy-free) and add the alcohol of choice. Latin takes on this treat include: Rompope, Coquito, y Bilia con Pisco. If you want to remain a purist, but do not want to worry about salmonella, here's a cooked-then-chilled version.

Egg Nog

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
6 whole eggs
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbs hazelnut liqueur
1 tbs sugar

Mix granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons water and lemon juice, then boil until the mix turns dark amber in color (about 5 min). Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup water. Beat milk and eggs together in a separate bowl and pour into the mix. Lower heat to medium low and cook for an additional 10-12 min. Pour into a serving bowl and stir in vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Refrigerate until cold. Just prior to serving, beat cream, liqueur and confectioners sugar together until soft peaks form and then mix into eggnog mixture with a whisk. Drink while sitting down.

Holiday Punches

These can be cold or hot and tea-, soft drink-, fruit juice- or even milk-based. Mulled or hot ones now interchangeably replace ye olde Wassail which was served to carolers. Once you've decided on your liquid base, the traditional spice choices are cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice and the alcoholic components can be rum, brandy, sherry, port, liqueurs, vodka, wine and hard ciders. An added benefit of a hot crockpot filled with holiday brew is that it does double-duty as potpourri!


(NOT limited to year-end festivities but a welcome addition to any party.)
Basic: (ALL ingredients are proportioned strictly to personal taste) Gin (many choose the sweeter Holland type), citrus juice, carbonated water and powdered sugar. A Fizz is customarily served in an ice cube-filled highball glass.
The legendary Ramos (or New Orleans) Fizz also incorporates: heavy cream, egg white, both lemon and lime juice and orange flower water.
Decoding the rest: Golden Fizz (egg yolk only); Royal Fizz (a whole egg); and the Diamond Fizz substitutes sparkling wine for soda.

The full story of holiday egg drinks and more recipes will appear in the December online issue of Drink Me magazine.

Paul Ross