Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friday Foodie - Eggnog

Friday Foodie





Ingredients: milk (or cream or half and half or a mix of them), egg, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg

Discussion: I comment from time to time about some food I have cooked or eaten that really stands out to me. So often lately, my conversations with friends have centered on food or drink. In the holidays while gathered with family and friends, food plays an integral role in the socializing.

Food, for me, is something to be savored. Every bite should bring a few moments pleasure to the palate. Flavor, texture, and satisfaction are the three qualities that determine how much I like the food I eat. Presentation is an issue for some, but for me it only sets the stage because when I whack it into bite sized pieces, the looks don’t really matter.

For the holidays, we will begin with a drink I’ve heard described as an alcohol delivery device – eggnog (or egg nog).

Eggnog has both flavor and texture I find appealing. I have always been a fan of nutmeg and that spice lends much of the flavor to nog. The creamy texture is at once soothing and pleasing to the mouth as it coats the entire tongue and lingers there to allow a full experience of the flavor.

The satisfaction from eggnog is not the same as a hearty meal, bur rather a comforting sense like that of being wrapped in heavy blankets on a cold winter’s day. Rum or whiskey adds to the calming sense.

Around Christmas, eggnog is available at most grocery stores, but I prefer to make my own (in fact I make it year-round). It is very easy to make as the ingredients are only milk, egg, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

I follow the proportions: 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, pinch salt, with sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.

The recipe, of course, can be adjusted based on the amount you want, but I have found that 1.5 eggs per cup of milk gives a good creaminess. I always like to include some cream or half-and-half in the mix just because of that extra bit of smoothness. Eggnog, clearly, is not a drink for dieters.

One trick I’ve found is to put the eggs in a blender, mix them until smooth then add the sugar and spices. The spices seem to stay better infused with the egg when done this way.

Keep the eggnog refrigerated, and for safety, use within two days or dispose. Historically, eggnog was served warm, but I have not had much luck getting it warm other than in a double-boiler. Both direct and microwave heating have led to lumpy eggnog and that will ruin the mood quickly.

Once made and chilled, drink as is or add your favorite libation and have a good time!

Happy New Year!

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