Monday, December 17, 2012

The Making of the Nog

There comes a time annually when Ingo and I do what we call "the making of the nog".  Usually the inaugural batch is made the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We are a bit behind this year but finished making batch three yesterday.  Who do we make this for you may ask?  Well, the majority of it is for Ingo.  He goes through about ten quarts of this all on his little lonesome.  We also bring some to friends and co-workers.  This year, I even brought some to my art class and it was a hit.

The recipe I am about to share is what we have been making for over a decade.  We have not messed with it.  It is blissfully delightful as is.

12 eggs separated
2 cups sugar
39 ounces bourbon (we use Maker's Mark)
8 ounces brandy
1 gallon store-bought egg nog
1 pint Half & Half
1/2 pint whipping cream
Nutmeg to garnish

Start by separating the eggs and putting the yolks into a bowl.  Mix on a high speed until thick and buttery colored.  Slowly add the two cups of sugar while continuing to beat at medium speed.  Once the sugar is added put the mixer on its lowest setting and slowly the liquor in a slow, steady stream until all is incorporated.

After that step, transfer the mixture to a LARGE mixing bowl.  I have to use the inverted top of my Tupperware cake carrier to accomodate it. 

Slowly add the gallon of prepared eggnog into the bowl with the mixer on a medium speed.  Add the half and half as well as the cream.

Beat the 12 egg whites to soft, firm peaks.  Gently fold them into the nog.  You will want to do this in small batches and fold and make the fluff into smaller pieces by gently incorporating into the whole mixture.  This will probably take you about ten minutes, but do not underestimate the importance of folding this in.  It is what gives this a heavenly texture.

We like to put ours in mason jars to hand out and this recipe makes about ten quart sized jars.  We sprinkle nutmug generously on the top before sealing the jar.  Make sure you shake well before serving.

Prost and Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Hiatus completus.... In other words, we're back!

After a long hiatus, Ingo and I are back to blogging.  We had a difficult year with family illnesses and the death of my dear father so we put our blog on hold.  To be honest, it has been a year since Daddy passed but my heart just wasn't into it to restart.  Now that I have mourned appropriately I will endeavor to get at least one post a week out. 

We have my stepson here.  As most of you know, Ingo is a German National.  So in order to get Erik a bit more in touch with his German side we decided to have a traditional German dinner today.  I made this simple red cabbage dish.  It's a bit sweet and sour and is a perfect companion to many different main courses.  Ironically, I learned to make this dish from Ingo's brother way before I actually met Ingo.  There is a short-cut involved in it but the taste is all there.  So without further adieu I give you the recipe for it.

Rot Kohl (red cabbage)

1 jar Aunt Nell's Red Cabbage
1 Granny Smith apple (large dice)
1 sweet yellow onion (diced)

Red cabbage with Rouladen and Potato Dumplings

To a deep frying pan set over medium high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the butter is melted add the apple and onion.  Liberally salt and pepper and saute until tender.  Once tender add the jar of cabbage (including juice) and simmer on low heat for an hour.

The apples and onion turn a lovely purplish shade and the sweet/sour aspect of the cabbage is divine.  We particularly like it with roasted pork.  But it was fab with the rouladen shown above.  I hope to get those two recipes out soon; however, I really deviated from the written recipes and neglected to take note.  I know, I know, shame on me. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

August - John Besh's restaurant in New Orleans

The chef's complimentary appetizer.  It had three layers and all were made with egg including an amazing egg custard.  The bread stick was brioche and it was topped with caviar.  Scrumptious.

The duck confit and duck liver appetizer.  Sublime.....

Amy's soft shell crab.

My redfish court boullion with shrimp and lump crab.  I wanted to lick the bowl but contained myself and used bread instead.

I will write more later.  I can tell you it was quite the tasty treat and I have more New Orleans posts to come.  Right now I am dealing with my father's cancer being very aggressive.  I need to be with my parents at this time and deal.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rotini with pesto, feta, chicken and tomatoes - What to fix when you don't want to cook.

I was hungry but I really did not feel like cooking so I decided to play Kitchen Roulette.  That is where I create something satisfying yet tasty with what is on hand.  Tonight's lucky winner a simple pasta dish. 

Rotini with chicken, pesto, feta and tomatoes
rotini boiled al dente
chicken thighs boiled with garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt
ready made pesto
feta cheese (crumbled)
fresh, chopped tomato
freshly grated parmesan (optional)

I had everything on hand at home.  We had boiled the chicken thighs (our favorite parts) the day before.  All I had to do was open a box of rotini.  Gourmet?  No.  Homemade?  Technically, yes; however, I had lots of help with the ready made pesto.

To plate I spread a generous amount of pesto in the bowl and then added a tablespoon or so of crumbled feta and a sprinkle of parmesan.  I added the steaming rotini and tossed it to coat it.  I added the diced tomato and sliced chicken and another spattering of feta and parmesan.  Dinner was served in less than fifteen minutes.

I enjoyed it.  What's not to love?  Simplicity.  Ingo's comment was he could have done with a little less pesto.  To him it was bit too garlicky....  The nerve!  Hasn't he noticed the name of our blog?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ribeye Steak with Bleu Cheese Butter and Walla Walla Onions - Our Titans victory dinner

Ah, it is football season, my favorite time of the year.  If it were cooler out it would be perfect.  But our Titans beat the Raiders and all is good in the world.  To celebrate we grilled.  For us, the steak of choice on the barbecue is a ribeye - especially one that is nicely marbled.  We selected one a bit over a pound to share.

In my opinion a good steak needs nothing more than to be liberally sprinkled with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  If it needs more than that, well, it's not my thing....

To accompany tonight's hunk of cow I decided upon twice baked potatoes.  I love them and hardly ever make them.  I don't know why I don't so I decided today is time to remedy the situation.  I took two large baking potatoes, rubbed them with olive oil, sprinkled a generous amount of coarse salt on them and introduced them to a 400 degree oven for an hour.

The recipe we followed was from September's "Bon Appetit" in an article that featured a recipe from Portland,Oregon's Laurelhurst Market.  It is below....

1 pound ribeye (1 - 1 1/2 inches thick) sprinkled with on both sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  Grill to medium rare then remove and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Bleu Cheese butter
3 tbls softened butter
3 tbls crumbled bleu cheese
1 1/2 tsps grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tsps chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 tsps freshly ground pepper

That was the original bleu cheese butter recipe.  Being the cheese and butter fiends we are, I manipulated it a bit.  I use 4 tbls each butter and bleu cheese.  The peel of one large lemon (I did not measure), a hefty pinch of ground Italian seasoning and about 2 1/2 tsps of freshly ground pepper.

Using a fork, mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Season and let stand an hour before serving.  Can be made 24 hours in advance.

Walla Wally Onion Rings
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup beer
2 tbls vodka
Canola oil
1 large sweet onion thickly sliced

I changed this one too.....  I added no vodka and almost an entire bottle of beer instead.  It is thick batter.  I might add a smidgen of sugar next time although it was very tasty as it was.  I started these when the steaks began the resting stage.

Whisk flour, salt and baking powder.  Add beer and whisk until blended.  Pour two inchs of oil into a large, heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees.  Working with two to three rings at a time, dip into batter, shake off excess and gently drop into hot oil  Fry until golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels and salt.

Twice Baked Potatoes
2 large baking potatoes
olive oil
coarse salt
sour cream
shredded cheese
ground pepper

Rub potato skins with olive oil and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.  Wrap in foil and bake for an hour in 400 degree oven.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Slice in half and scoop out leaving skins intact.  Add a generous amount of sour cream, cheese and pepper and mash.  Place back into skins and top with more cheese and put back in 400 degree oven until cheese is melty and slightly browned.

We plated it with the onion rings as a garnish although I polished them all off without a second thought.

We enjoyed it completely; however, next time I can do without the compound butter.  I found it better suited for fish.  We think we are going to try it that way.  We'll keep you posted.

It was all in all a great meal.  Our view wasn't too shabby either....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pickled jalapenos - A recipe from my Grandpa

Grandpa always had a jar of pickled jalapenos.  It was an old Nescafe instant coffee jar.  He even traveled with it going so far as to put a jar in his carry-on luggage when he visited.  I vividly remember that he brought it out at every meal, pulled out a pepper, finely diced it and put it over all his food.  Being a foodie from an early age I had to know what it was he was doing.  Furthermore, I had to have some.  My Grandpa politely told me that "girls don't eat jalapenos".  Well I would have nothing with that!!  Of course I got my way.  I was a wily nine year old.  Plus he was trying to show to me that I would not like it.  Grandpa was right, I didn't like it.  I LOVED IT!!  So now that he had a companion in his jalapeno habit, he taught me how to make them so I could have some with me at all times just like him.  I have only tweaked the recipe to add one thing - carrots...  I adore the semi-crunchy sweet/spicy orange rounds and usually scarf them up first.  You can add pearl onions but that is just not my thing.  Maybe it's yours.  You can add it to a martini to bump it up a notch or three.

This batch is particularly special because the jalapenos come from my very own backyard.  Now that you know the history of the pickled jalapeno, I present you with the recipe from my late Grandpa, Salvador Lozano. 

I started with my freshly picked (and subsequently washed) jalapenos and organic carrots I picked up at The Fresh Market

8 jalapenos
1 bunch carrots (peeled and cut into fat coins)
5 cloves garlic (peeled and gently smashed)
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
4 -6 bay leaves (I used all my broken leaves)
1 tablespoon sea salt
17 ounce bottle olive oil
17 ounces white vinegar
17 ounces water

First you empty the olive oil into a sauce pan.  Fill the empty bottle with vinegar and add it then do the same with cold water.  Add the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt, and carrot.  Slice one jalapeno in half and add to pan along with the other whole jalapenos.  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer 10 - 15 minutes until the carrots are at your desired tenderness.  I usually go with about 10 - 12 minutes because I prefer a bit of a bite on the carrots.

Discard the bay leaves.

Take a slotted spoon and ladle the veggies into clean mason jars.  I divide things up as evenly as possible.  I include the garlic and peppercorns because I am sassy that way.  Add the liquid and make certain all the veggies are submerged.  Be sure to leave enough room for the lid.  This will keep in the pantry for six months.  I do not think I've ever had a jar that long because I usually have eaten it all. 

The recipe above yielded two full pint jars and partially filled a quart jar.  It left me with a lot of extra liquid.  I kept about a quart of it and I use it to add a little heat to greens or a pot of pinto beans.  Trust me when I tell you it packs a punch and a little goes a loooong way so use your imagination.  Leave me a comment if you come up with some fun, funky way to use the liquid.  Oh!  Gently shake the bottle of liquid to blend before you add, trust me on this.

Now that I've shared just a smidgen of my past with you I hope you will try this.  You just may discover what Grandpa knew and taught me, jalapenos are good on just about anything.  Try it in scrambled egg tacos, over a grilled chicken breast, on fresh corn...  Add a dollop in the next time you make guacamole or salsa.  You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pork burger

I had a pound of freshly ground pork that was just begging to be grilled.  I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it since the original thought was to use it for meatballs.  However, it is too hot to turn on the stove so I decided to make burgers and have Ingo do the cooking outdoors.  Even though it was too hot to turn on the stove I did suck it up and make a fresh loaf of bread. 

What I decided to do was with the pork was this:

1 pound ground pork
1 Vidalia onion (grated)
4 cloves roasted garlic finely diced
2/3 cup bulger
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup diced flat leaf parsley
1 egg
2 tbls freshly grated reggianon parmesan
1 tbl Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Add the boiling water to the bulger, cover and leave alone for a couple of minutes.  Then place in a sieve and rinse with cold water.  Squeeze to remove excess water.

Add all ingredients into a bowl and lightly mix.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours then form into four large or five medium/small burgers. 

Grill on lightly oiled aluminum foil on indirect heat until browned well on both sides.  Unfortunately we left them on a bit to long but they were still tasty.

We served them up on thickly cut sliced fresh bread.  First I generously spread it the slices with olive tapenade, dotted it with bleu cheese crumbles and put sliced roasted red pepper on it. We put that on foil over the grill until it was a bit melty.  Yum! 

PS:  Pardon the bad photo.  It was dark and the flash was not cooperating.