I know…Christmas is over. And I know…eggnog can be kind of controversial. It seems you either love it or you hate it. But here, we love it. I’ve made it several times since Christmas because we enjoy it so much. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to perfect my recipe, and I think I’ve finally got it just the way I want it.
4 cups milk
10 whole cloves (more if you like the taste of cloves as much as I do!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
Combine milk, cloves, 1 tsp. vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Raise heat and slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into the eggs. Pour back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about 1 hour.
Stir in cream, 2 tsp. vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight.
We have made A LOT of waffles this year. Right now, one of our favorite kinds is a spiced waffle of my invention (more or less). It’s the perfect warm treat for a cool fall day!
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. hawaij (if you can’t find this spice blend, you can mix and measure from 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon…this blend is also great in coffee!)
2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, and then slowly incorporate into dry ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.
I’m no expert on Chinese food, but I do know what kind of fried rice I like, and I’ve been trying to replicate my favorite fried rice for almost two decades now. I’m not claiming it’s authentic, but it is tasty, and it reminds me of the restaurant I used to like to eat at before it closed!
3-4 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
5 cloves minced garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup julienne carrots
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the diced onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant Add the garlic, ginger, white part of green onions, and carrots and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs until almost set, then add to vegetables in bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil, adding an additional Tbsp. of oil if necessary. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps. Add the remaining green onions, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Transfer to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.
I’m always on the lookout for a new soup recipe, and when I saw one for a potato-parsnip variety, I was intrigued, because I both really like potato soup and the flavor of parsnips. I made a few changes so it would suit us a little better, and in the end, it was a huge hit (and also a very pretty meal!)!
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
32 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Crème fraîche or Mexican crema, bacon bits, and chopped chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425.
Toss potatoes, parsnips, onion, and garlic with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 40 minutes.
Combine vegetables with broth in large stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.
Return to pot and combine with milk and cream and add salt and pepper to taste; heat though without boiling.
This recipe is so simple, it really doesn’t even need to be written down, but it was a huge hit with my whole family, and took very little effort, so I thought I’d share. It’s not only great in tacos, but also an excellent quesadilla filling!
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup taco seasoning
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
Place chicken in slow cooker and cover with taco seasoning and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until cooked through. In last hour of cooking, shred chicken and return to slow cooker, mixing with sauce.
This has been the year of the small kitchen appliance. There was the Soda Stream. And the waffle maker. Plus the omelette maker. But I’m not sure any small appliance has gotten more use than our new Ninja blender, which I was very excited to get, because I pretty much burned out the motor on our old, faithful Osterizer.
Our favorite thing to make in the blender is smoothies (although it has gotten plenty of use making soups and sauces, too!). And while we may not be into healthy green smoothies, our favorite recipe is easy to make and delicious, and there are so many options…we love trying new combinations of yogurt, fruit, and juice!
16 oz. yogurt
4 cups frozen fruit
2 1/2 cups juice
Place all items in blender and mix on high until smooth.
I have a confession to make. I’ve bought canned/jarred spaghetti sauce for years, but I don’t really like it. It doesn’t matter which kind we tried, I always thought it was too sweet, and didn’t have enough flavor. So I decided to try making my own. I already make excellent bolognese sauce (which takes all day to cook, so it’s not a an everyday occurrence)…how hard could it be? After tinkering with recipes a bit, I came up something I (and everyone else in the house) really like! Oh, and did I mention that the recipe is super easy? I call that a culinary victory!
29 oz. stewed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or 4 tsp. dried)
Black pepper to taste
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
One large white onion, diced
1/2 cup red wine
In a blender or food processor, combine the first eight ingredients and blend until smooth.
In a large skillet, sauté onion with salt in olive oil until soft. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add tomato sauce and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve on your favorite pasta.
Preheat the oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the baking chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (cookies should be about 3 inches apart). Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven.. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
If you’re looking for the perfect addition to waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or anything else you think needs a fruit topping, this blueberry sauce is for you!
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. butter
Combine water and cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Stir in sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in blueberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries burst, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.
I’ve also made this recipe with strawberries, and it’s just as delicious. Instead of waiting for the berries to burst, gently smash the strawberries as the sauce cooks.