Monday, December 27, 2010

I cooked eggnog (the cooking is, apparently, optional).

Re-appropriated glass milk bottles from my two favorite dairies!

At last week's Pasadena Farmers' Market I bought a pallet of eggs from a local guy (not as good as my mother-in-law's friends' eggs, but definitely tastier than any store bought eggs I've tried!). This week, I had not baked enough pies or cookies calling for so many eggs to consume them before our trip out of town to the folks. Another food-oriented dilemma we had was an abundance of milk and half & half in the fridge only days before the journey.

Oh what to do?


Creative cooking is something we call "Christenson-ing" in our circle of comrades, after our ingeniously creative beer-brewing, recipe-discovering, you-tubing gourmet friends. Instead of planning on discarding our invevibly expiring dairy products, I intended to Christenson some eggnog to take with us on our journey.

I started with this recipe, deemed the "Amazingly Good Eggnog Recipe" which called for cooking the eggs sightly instead of the traditional raw egg yolk ingredient. I made some adjustments having learned a few tricks recently regarding dairy (i.e. light cream can be replaced with half & half and good old fashioned vanilla ice cream can be used for heavy cream) and used mostly half & half instead of milk and cream. Having sampled the awesomeness of this eggnog, I can definitely say that the half & half replacement was successful - particularly for those who add milk to their thick 'n heavy store bought nog like myself - but I can see why the milk is parted into cream portions and milk portions; that is that the two seem to deal with the spices and eggs flavors differently, the milk giving you the smooth start and the cream giving you the lingering sweetness. In any event, here is how I made the recipe which turned out GLORIOUS and absolutely perfect to my taste buds!
(also, I tend to like a little more spice, so you can reduce all the spices by 1/2 a tsp)

(imagine that the palett on the left is FULL of eggs from the Pasadena Farmer's market ;) )

.5 g. of half & half
(or 1 qt milk & 1 qt light
1.2 c. or sugar
5 whole
1 tsp of nutmeg
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp of
12 egg COLD
(*optional: rum)

quick instructions:
1) whisk together the yolks and sugar
2) combine 1 tsp of vanilla, nutmeg, &
half the half&half (or milk) over heat until it boils
3) reduce heat to medium and add the egg yolk mixture slowly
4) stir vigorously for 3 minutes, remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour
5) Finally, add remaining unused ingredients, stir, and refrigerate overnight

extended instructions:
1) Begin by separating the yolks from the egg whites. This is most easily done when the eggs are cold as room temp eggs may have more delicate yolks (you can use the egg whites for whipped topping or meringues later - just
make sure they stay away from ANY moisture).
2) On the lowest setting in a large sauce pan or broad stock pot, combine half of the half & half (or 1 qt of milk) on the stove with the cloves, 1 tsp of vanilla, and the cinnamon for several minutes (5-10 min).
3) Slowly bring to a boil over the course of another 5-10 minutes and let it boil for 5 min. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO SCALD!
4) While you are GRADUALLY heating the milk, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk thoroughly.
5) Reduce the boiling milk to medium heat and the yolk mixture gradually. Continue to stir it for 3 minutes, keeping it from thickening.
6) Remove from heat and let stand for an hour.
*7) Add the nutmeg, remaining vanilla, the rest of the half & half (or the light cream) stir together.
8) Bottle and let sit overnight. (It can be chilled in freezer and served an hour later, but if you let it sit for at least 6 hours in the fridge, it gets so much more creamy and flavorful!)
9) Serve directly from the refrdigerator!

*1-2 shots of Sailor Jerry's per 12 oz can be added after the chilling stage (1 shot = rummy overtones, 2 shots = grandpa's favorite eggnog) OR
you can add 1-2.5 c of a light rum in the 7th step. I don't like the rum to overwhelm the flavor of the eggnog (which is delicious without it) so I recommend only 1 cup for the whole recipe.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I made a biscuit wreath.

I love biscuits and I love wreaths so this was a ridiculously and easy joyful craft for me!

I first saw the idea on A Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving, but after scouring downtown San Luis Obispo for leaf shaped cookie cutters, I settled on some fun shapes that the Sheean household already had at hand.

The only ingredient needed for this quick n' easy, pretty biscuit wreath is Pillsbury/Trader Joe's pre-made grand biscuits.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I made a cuttlefish!

Dear reader,

If you are not Casey Fay, you may read on.
Otherwise, you are going to have to turn back now because the following post is about the incredible Christmas present your girlfriend got you.
If you stumbled upon me because you were Googling yourself and found your name and illustrations on my blog, then you should be totally embarrassed that I caught you!! And that I'm going to tell Ashleyanne of your narcissistic tendencies.


P.S. It's ok for you to look at da pie stuff. But nothing else!

A dear friend from my favorite moments of high school put in a custom order on Etsy with me last month after having shared via facebook our mutual of cephalopods. As it turns out, she - like me -is in cahoots with a super nerdy wonderful illustrator! Casey Fay is the author of the should-be/soon-to-be renowned children's book Wonders of the Sea: Cephalapods (currently sold out - DANG IT) and the illustrator of many awesome quirky, colorful, animal adventure pieces (I want this one so bad!)

For this Christmas, his lovely lady wanted to bestow upon him a gift celebrating his affection for these wonderful invertebrates of the sea. She enlisted my services - seeing as I manifest my own love for cephalopods by crochet hook - with a special request for a brightly colored cuttlefish. I hope my handiwork reflects Mr. Fay's whimsical imagery justly:

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