It’s full steam ahead as far as the holiday season is concerned. I’m not in a panic for reasons one would think, for my Christmas shopping has been complete for days now. I managed to conveniently spread out my shopping in a way that I was able to enjoy it while simultaneously dodging the crowds, the stress, and the drudgery often associated with this unrelenting task.
Rather reluctantly though, I realize that no amount of Christmas gifting preparedness can bring the snow to the balmy shores of Connecticut that I currently reside on. The mornings are dense with fog, moths flutter about the front light as though it is July, and I wonder when I will learn to not be bothered by the things I cannot control. I feel as though I am five again, waiting for the white Christmas that rarely comes. I turn the heat down low, turn up the volume dial on the CD player and let Bing Crosby’s voice transport me to the snow covered Vermont hills of a wonderful time, so long ago.
Even if we cannot have a white Christmas, I can make it feel like Christmas (enter various hand made gifts and holiday crafts here) and I can certainly make it taste like Christmas. For any local readers, you may have caught the front page of the Daybreak section this morning. Incredible, Edible, Eggnog. Bingo.
Three recipes were provided and a nice little column on the food safety aspect of it all. I took a pinch of the “Holiday Eggnog” recipe and a bit of guidance from “Chai Eggnog” to successfully craft my very own spiced eggnog. In true dietitian fashion, I used 1% milk instead of whole, and light cream instead of heavy. I assure you, the results are terrific. Cheers my friends!
Serves about 4
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup light cream
1 cinnamon stick, smashed using the side of a butter knife
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 large pasteurized* eggs
1/4 white sugar
brand or rum for flavoring if desired
grated nutmeg for garnish
Combine the milk, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, ginger and a generous pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it beings to simmer. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a sieve, discarding the solids. Wipe out the saucepan and return the milk mixture to medium heat. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar in a medium bowl for 2 minutes. Add the heated milk to the eggs in a stream, whisking gently. Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not let simmer or the eggs will scramble!
Quickly add the light cream to stop the cooking process and transfer the mixture to a pitcher. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve in chilled glasses, or over ice, adding a dash of brandy or rum if desired and top with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.
*Pasteurized eggs are commercially pasteurized using a low heat process that destroys Salmonella while maintaining the appearance and nutritional integrity of the egg. Other options include cooking the eggs, milk to an internal temperature of 160 F and allowing it to cool completely prior to carrying out the rest of the recipe. One last option is to use an egg substitute but I don’t have information for an appropriate amount. You might be thinking…that the addition of alcohol will make the eggnog safe. My advice: don’t count on it.