Rich, creamy, and unapologetically boozy, this is an egg nog whose virtues are sung by poets. Probably. Once they’ve had a few.
LTRs (long-term readers) of this site may remember this recipe from a few years back, but we’ve updated the recipe and pictures so it’s like a whole new article! (It’s mostly the same old article.) Casual droppers-by (CDBs) won’t know any better, so for you, here’s our Christmas present to you: egg nog made proper.
If you’ve never had real, homemade egg nog, I can understand why you might be wrinkling your nose and shaking your head right now. Most mass-produced versions are pretty horrible. In fact, the only store-bought version that doesn’t make me gag is from Ronnybrook Farm, which while delicious, also costs a friggin’ fortune. You’d need to take out a bank loan if you wanted enough for a party.
Surprisingly, real egg nog is actually very easy to make and it’s a shame that so few people do it. Fortunately for me, my mom makes a killer egg nog so I know how good it can be. This version is unapologetically rich and boozy in the most wonderful way. In fact, Matt and I had a little tree-trimming party the other night and just about everyone who claimed not to like egg nog ended up slurping up several cups full. Needless to say, a lot of fun was had.
These salted caramel peanut butter bars – in miniature bite-size form – are about the best way to win over someone’s heart. They may also offer you their kidneys, liver and spleen. They’re that good.
We’re taking a week off to transition the house from post-Thanksgiving chaos to pre-Christmas jollity (move all the furniture back where it came from, vacuum the last bits of piecrust off the dog, etc, etc) so this is a repost of a favorite recipe from a couple of years ago.
This, my friends, is one of those recipes that goes there. And by “there” I mean to that place of ultimate deliciousness that defies logic and reason. It takes all the elements that make treats actually a treat and truly (madly, deeply) delivers what it promises. Sweet, salty, peanut buttery, caramel-y, chocolatey, cookie-ey. All in one teeny little salted caramel peanut butter bar bite.
I say “teeny little bite” because these are so decadent that I think they’re best as little bite-sized squares but honestly how big you cut them is up to you. I mean, if you want to serve them as two 4″x 8″ planks, that is entirely your business. Nerds do not judge. Well, unless you get your Game of Thrones noble houses mixed up. Then we are merciless and will never let you live it down no matter how many times you explain that the banners of house Tyrell and house Martell look kind of similar especially from a distance oh my god just drop it already.)
When I was growing up, an “annual” was a comic-strip-based holiday gift that kept you chuckling for about a day and a half before being stuffed into a cupboard and forgotten about. I like to think our annual Thanksgiving roundup follows that tradition.
This accurately describes our run-up to Thanksgiving this year:
September: – *glances at calendar* – “OK, plenty of time to plan our T-day, we’ll take it nice and slow this year, no need to stress” – * yawns, takes sip of tea, looks back down at calendar* – “HOLY CRAP IT’S NOVEMBER 14th AND WE’VE DONE NOTHING WE’RE SCREWED, BURN IT DOWN, BURN IT ALL DOWN”
Seriously. Our work schedules (our real work, you know, not this culinary frippery) became uncommonly strange and busy, and what with one thing and another and yet a third thing, and then the first two things again because they didn’t get done properly the first time, we didn’t stick with our disciplined scheme from previous years where we make stock exactly two weeks in advance and proceed from there armed with post-its and string and pins for the crazy wall and it all somehow comes together on the day. This year our minds were elsewhere and now November 23rd is coming up and we have to scramble.
These are what you want for a holiday party: buttery puff pastry tartlets topped with oven-roasted pears, balsamic-caramelized red onions and goat cheese crumbles. A drizzle of spicy chili-honey puts it over the top.
While we love (love!) throwing parties around the holidays, we inevitably get so busy that what we envisioned as a relaxed morning of prepping nibbles ends up being a scramble to get food on the table before our famished guests start experimentally sprinkling salt and pepper on the cats. That’s when a time-saver like puff pastry sheets becomes our best friend in the kitchen. In fact, the day before a party, we often defrost a box just on the off chance that we’ll need to make more vittles. It’s a matter of minutes to throw a few ingredients onto a pastry square and bake it.
We recently found a combination that requires a little more prep time, but is so worth it: roasted pears, caramelized red onions, goat cheese and chili-infused honey. It’s so satisfying that these tarts, maybe with a simple cheese board, are all you need to wow and satisfy your guests. The toppings can be made in advance and even assembled the day before, so all you need to do the day of the party is pop them in the oven. Easy peasy.
Also, don’t forget to check out our tips for buying and cooking pears below. The variety you buy matters!
The croque madame is a quintessential dish in the French culinary canon. Essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, this beauty is elevated by two generous layers of creamy béchamel, broiled until bubbly and golden, and topped with a perfectly fried egg. With a little help from our friends at Le Creuset, we’ve used both their new recipe book and their bakeware to put together a perfect brunch dish.
We’ve mentioned before in the blog that there are certain kitchen items that we can’t do without. We just can’t, we’d be lost and flailing. A microplane for fine grating, a silicone spatula for mixing cake batter: these critical objects are non-negotiable. Another, of course, is a good, heavy, enameled cast iron skillet. You can pre-heat it on the stove to get it to a high temperature for quick cooking, you can transfer it to an oven or broiler for a finishing step, and if you take care of it, it will last forever. Also, if you choose well, it can be beautiful enough to be the centerpiece on your table.
We’re always keen to find new ways of using our pan, and when Le Creuset asked us to make a recipe from their new cookbook (which you can buy from their site through the link) our decision wasn’t hard: we wanted to make our favorite Parisian lunch, croque madame.