Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Food Detective: The Old Family Eggnog

December 27, 2011 - 12:34 pm Comments Off on Food Detective: The Old Family Eggnog

I’ve been trying for some time to find the origins of our family eggnog recipe. My grandmother, who started the tradition within our family, and my mother, who took it over for her, are both gone, and I never thought to ask either of them while I had them.

If I had a dime for all the questions I have to ask the people who are gone, I’d be pretty rich.

Anyway, after my grandmother died 15 years ago, I came into possession of her recipe box. It occurred to me to look in there to see if I could find any clues as to the recipe’s provenance. Well, I found the recipe all right, and it was written in the same hand that my aunts told me was a cousin of ours who was known for their cooking. It was labeled “Mother’s Eggnog.”

So I looked up his mother. She was my great-great-great aunt, born in 1868, and she was the granddaughter of the last messenger from the Alamo.

This is some serious Old Family Eggnog, y’all.

Christmas Recipe: The Old Family Eggnog

December 23, 2011 - 6:10 pm 1 Comment

Dear friends,

For Christmas this year, I’m sharing with you a recipe that has never, to my knowledge, been shared publicly outside my family. I checked with my aunts several months ago and got their blessing to share it.

This is our eggnog recipe. Our family has been making it for at least 50 years. I have never been able to find anything like it anywhere at all. It’s decadent, it’s boozy, and it’s amazing. Enjoy!

14 Eggs
2 cups sugar
3 ½ cups bourbon (good quality)
1 pint whipping cream
1 pinch nutmeg

Beat yolks in sugar until smooth and lemon colored. Add whiskey. Beat whites to soft peaks. Whip cream. Fold all together and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Note: It’s important to fold the ingredients together rather than blend vigorously so that the character of the egg whites and the cream remains in the final product. You want to be able to taste little bits of all of the parts when you take a sip.

The nog may be made the day before.

Merry Christmas!

New England Tour 2010

August 18, 2010 - 11:33 pm Comments Off on New England Tour 2010

Maybe someday I’ll write up a more detailed travelogue (realistically, probably not), but we just got back from a week in Portsmouth, NH, which was a lovely change from the 100+ degree temperatures we’ve been having lately. The highest it got there was about 83 degrees, and we almost froze with the 60 degree temps at night. Here’s a quick rundown of what we did and ate:

Thursday: The Friendly Toast for brunch (I had anadama toast, a New England specialty), Marginal Way in Ogunquit for sightseeing, The Rusty Hammer in Portsmouth for dinner (lobster roll #1).

Friday: Niece’s house in Northboro for lunch and a nice visit with family, Common Man for dinner.

Saturday: Red’s Eats for lunch (lobster roll #2 and still champeen!), Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery takeout for dinner (lobster roll #3).

Sunday: Excellent homemade Indian for lunch and a great visit with Gupfee and family, Salem, MA for sightseeing, Nick’s Famous Roast Beef in Beverly, MA for dinner (will never want Arby’s again), quick jaunt to Wingaersheek beach.

Monday: Ceres Bakery in Portsmouth for early lunch, wedding day, cookout burgers at the reception for dinner.

Tuesday: Flo’s Hot Dogs for lunch, Odiorne Point State Park for tide pools, Crescent Beach in Wells ME (sunburn!), Newick’s Lobster House in Dover (lobster roll #4).

Also, I schmoozed with the car rental clerk and instead of getting a mere premium-level car that I reserved through Hotwire, we got a fully-loaded Ford Flex, an SUV that included voice-guided GPS navigation, iPod integration, three zone climate control, seating for seven, and probably a ton more features we never found.

Saturday on the way to Red’s, we stopped at the first native blueberry stand we saw, which happened to be run by a very imposing older man with what appeared to be two teeth – his lower canines. He was a mountain of a man in his blue shirt and red suspenders, and he told me, “My berries ain’t been sprayed in 18 years. When I say they’re ready for a pie, I mean you can pour them right into a pie. And ain’t no spray on my berries!”

Okay, then.


December 31, 2009 - 10:19 pm 2 Comments

This year our tamales were made with:

Lard we rendered ourselves,
Feral hog we killed and butchered ourselves,
And serranos we grew in the garden.

On another note, I was baking chocolate chip cookies earlier and was moving one of the loaded cooling racks around and one of its supports collapsed and ka-WHOOSH, there was a waterfall of hot, aromatic, butter-laden chocolate chip cookies pouring off the counter and right onto the dog.

For one brief, shining moment, the dog thought that it was the BEST NIGHT EVAR and his big brown eyes sparkled with a canine tear as he ducked his head to investigate the manna from heaven and I screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! GO KENNEL!” and he realized that he probably did something very wrong to make the cookies happen and went to cower in his box as I burned my hands cleaning up Floor Cookies.

They only have a little hair on them.

Happy New Year, everyone!


February 26, 2009 - 4:58 pm Comments Off on Garden

The best part about working in the garden with the kids is that you can squirt them with the hose when you’re done. But then, with pre-meditated coldness, they insist on giving Mommy a big hug afterwards. The chumps.

Finally got the radishes, carrots, peas, and onions all set. Need to see if we can find some strawberry seedlings at the garden center, and maybe some spinach. The next batch goes in late March – stuff like cucumbers, squash, edamame, tomatoes, peppers, and corn. The viney melony/winter squashy stuff we’re going to plant in the front, unoccupied flower beds just for grins, because the watermelons took up so much real estate in the square foot garden last year.

Popcorn trick

October 28, 2008 - 9:45 pm Comments Off on Popcorn trick

I just discovered the neatest trick.

You know how, when you get a bag of microwave popcorn out of the microwave, your instinct is to hold it by the top and shake it? Well, turn it over and hold it by the bottom. All the unpopped kernels will come out of the slit.


May 25, 2008 - 2:25 am Comments Off on Yum

My husband and I have been to Restaurant Jezebel several times, the latest of which was tonight. I keep meaning to blog about it and keep forgetting.

Today was our 10th wedding anniversary, so I made reservations for Jezebel and let them know we had a celebration. When we got there, we were seated promptly in their dark, cavernous-but-cozy dining room which is decorated with pictures of nekkid women. The kitchen is open to the restaurant and you can watch Chef Vora back there working his magic.

Jezebel is a little out of the norm in that they don’t put any pressure on you to order, switch courses, or pay the bill. To some, this seems like poor service; in reality it’s just a departure from the American norm of quick table turnover. You can sit and enjoy coffee and conversation until they close without being pestered to leave. It’s rather nice once you know the score.

Our waiter, TJ, was one we’ve had before and he’s wonderful. He asked if we would like to order some champagne for celebrating, so we did. We also got the table noshes: a tray of sauteed olives (wish I had the recipe for this), some bread, and a plateful of olive oil with a baleful balsamic eye in the middle for dipping.

For starters we both ordered the foie gras in sweet chili glaze. To be honest, one of the reasons we went to the restaurant in the first place was to thwart the austin anti-foie protesters who have targeted several places around town for both picketing and vandalism. Many issues with that – too many to go into other than to say why don’t they protest restaurants that don’t serve free-range beef and chicken? Because it’s hip.

Anyway, the foie gras was at an absolute peak tonight. I took a bite and it transported me. I closed my eyes and just let it take me away. I wanted to cry, it was so good. It’s a nice portion, too – probably 3-4 oz. Last time we went, I ordered it and they brought it out with the apology that it shrank more than anticipated during cooking and they would bring more ASAP; they brought out almost twice as much as what my husband got.

Tonight TJ asked if I’d like a little sauternes to go along with the course, and I happily said yes. The pairing was sublime.

Between courses was a palate cleanser of aloe vera sorbet. I’d have to say this was the only slightly flat note of the evening. It was refreshing, yes, but it was way too much like dining on hand lotion. I never realized that’s what aloe vera tasted like. I always thought it was just lotion fragrance.

My main course was lamb two ways – rack of lamb in a pumpkin seed crust and braised lamb shank. It came with a side of fresh greens (like watercress) and some horseradish mashed potatoes. TJ offered up a nice wine pairing with the dish, and hubby got himself a beer because he’s so not into the wine thing. His dish was a napoleon of filet with roasted tomatoes and a chipotle hollandaise. Both entrees were wonderful.

For dessert I ordered a creme brulee and hubster got the lemon curd mousse. His was ZING very lemon. Mine was really nice and creamy vanilla. TJ gave me some 40 year port to go with it.

With the check, they gave us a hand-written thank you note for spending our anniversary with them. The only liquor on the bill was the bubbly and beer – everything else was comped, as was hub’s dessert.

I have to mention the ladies’ room. It’s really a sight to behold. Once your eyes accustom to the even deeper gloom in there, you’ll notice that the walls are covered in astroturf. There’s a squashy purple velvet armchair in the corner and another nekkid lady on the wall. There are baskets with feminine items as well as tooth flossers.

In short, this is our favorite restaurant in Austin and probably the world. I really, really hope they stay afloat. Give them a shot if you have a special occasion.


November 29, 2007 - 7:28 pm Comments Off on Tally

Some numbers:

2 – accounts hacked last week
? – number of days the cat box was broken while we were out of town, necessitating a game of “Piss and Seek)
2 – toilets clogged up the other morning
2 – children sick at the moment

In lighter news:

3 – feral hogs came home in the cooler
34 – pounds of meat from said hogs were boiling on the stove today
11.5 – pounds of usable meat in the fridge
10 – pounds of pork trimmings from the meat market yesterday
3 – quarts of lard rendered from said trimmings
lots – of yummy cracklins from the rendering process
9 – pounds of meat still needed for tamales
60 – dozen tamales to go (and maybe more)

Tamale recipe for kids playing along at home.