On our trip to Bread Camp in Maine, Suzen and I stopped at her cousins’ organic dairy farm in China, Maine.
That is Spencer and Page, Suzi’s cousins, there in the group shot. And that is Suzi petting the calf. Her cousins have 130 head of Jersey cows, with 65 milking at any one time. That youngster was one of fifteen been cared for in one of several barns on the rolling acres.
“He’s cute,” I said.
“He’s adorable,” Suzen said.
“We should name it,” I said.
“That’s sweet,” Suzen smiled at me.
“Let’s call it Veal,” I suggested.
The smile was gone.
We ate a lunch there in Maine with everything fresh from the hen house and the vegetable garden. Real food and as local as you could possibly be, short of having the garden in your living room.
And we left Maine that day generously loaded with food, including eggs and potatoes. The next day we were back in New York City, which can really seem to be very, very far from Central Maine. But Maine memories were abundant when Suzi took the eggs and potatoes and crafted this lovely frittata. I don’t think a chemist could really tell you why the combination of cast iron and egg works so well, but it does.
As our lunch ended the day before in Maine, I got a little irritated. Suzen was sympathetic as Spencer and Page describe the life of dairy farmers: 5 in the morning until 10 at night, seven days a week. It all sounded so burdensome. Now, I wasn’t born in New York City and I do try not to come across as one of those know-it-all city types. But as the conversation around the table continued, I lost my patience. I had the New York City answer to their workload.
“For Pete’s sake,” I said, “all you have to do is dump those Jersey cows and get real union ones. You know union. Five days a week. No weekend work.”
First Spencer then Page got up from the table. Suzen trailed behind them. But not before I got another look.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium russet potatoes, about 1 pound
- ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup diced onion
- ¼ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional but great)
In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, turning as they brown, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cheese until blended. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and cook until the eggs are set on the bottom and around the edges, about 4 minutes. With a spatula, lift one side of the frittata and tilt the pan so the raw eggs flow under the set edges. Repeat at least twice at different places around the edge until the egg is no longer runny.
Cover the frittata, reduce the heat to low and cook until set, 10 minutes. If you prefer the top browned, preheat the broiler, then set the (ovenproof) skillet under the heat just until the top is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve, loosen the edges with a spatula and slide the frittata onto a platter or turn out, browned side up by inverting the serving plate on the skillet and turning the frittata out. Serve warm, or at room temperature, cut into wedges. Serve with a nice green salad.
Source: Adapted from The Good Egg by Marie Simmons
This post is from last year, but I wanted to give new readers a chance for the experience of a lifetime. This eggnog is exceptionally rich and satisfying. Try this once, and you’ll never turn back to conventional recipes or that store-bought stuff again. Nothing can match the fresh decadence of this eggnog. And now, from last year:
I just want to say that you will thank me for the recipe below. You are very welcome.
I love Christmas. It is meant to be a fun and treasured time of life. I’m not particularly religious, but I can be ecumenically spiritual as the dark nights are filled snow.
When I, a lapsed Catholic, married Suzen, a very moderately observant Jew, we had to reach some compromises. I was happy to call that first tree a Winter Solstice Tree. And, too, for that first tree, I wanted to introduce some humor. As we dragged the tree into the house, I told Suzen to get the vacuum cleaner because you always clean the tree before putting it up. Dutifully, she went to the closet, plugged the machine in, and approached the tree.
My son was there, home from college. “Dad, your first marriage failed. Try not to screw this one up.” He went to Suzen and whispered in her ear. The vacuum was turned off. Suzen gave me a glare. Suzen and my son bonded for life. I’m still trying to connect.
At least I wanted some humor. Unlike the dreaded Christmas Grinches. They are everywhere. And the worst ones, the very greenest ones, are despicable Eggnog Grinches. You’ve read or seen them. “Oh, it’s so bad for you,” they begin. “All those calories!”
It’s the holidays for Christ’s sake. No pun intended.
There was actually an article in The New York Times last week about faux eggnogs. “Healthy” ones. One participating bartender said that eggs were not necessarily. I burned that section of The Times.
No, eggnog is not as healthy as tap water. But you drink it modestly and generally only during that time from Thanksgiving to New Years.
Not surprisingly, eggnog has a great history and total variety in how it is made. It’s a dairy-based beverage with milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs and some kind of liquor. The ingredients can vary and the assembly variations are endless. You always beat the yolk and stiffen some kind of sugar, but some recipes also call for beating the whites separately and folding them in. The cream, or the egg white, is added to thicken the beverage which traditionally is meant to leave some lasting trace on your upper lip. Brandy, rum, or whiskey can be the liquor.
The beverage originated in England. The “nog” in the name probably stems from “noggin,” a small wooden mug used for alcoholic beverages. There was, Wikipedia suggests, a tradition in England of having liquor in the milk all year round because there were very few refrigerators in London in, say, 1700.
I found this recipe by serendipity. For Thanksgiving, I suggested a wonderful Pumpkin Chiffon Cake. It’s an asymmetrical recipe: 8 egg whites and 5 yolks. I had three yolks left over. What do you do then? You google “egg yolk recipes” and you find recipeland.com with 83 pages of egg yolk recipes. I started on page 1. I stopped on page 3. There I found this recipe there for Grandma’s Swinging Eggnog. This recipe is incredible. Make this and you will never, never ever buy eggnog in the dairy section again. This is a “crossing the Rubicon” experience.
I have adjusted the recipe three ways, so I’m sharing my name on it. First, I have doubled the amount of sugar mixed with the egg yolks. I like the additional sweetness and the additional thickness it provides.
Second, instead of using light rum, I used a dark Caribbean rum, one with lots of spicy overtones — which is wise because this recipe itself does not call for dusting with any spices. If you have a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum hidden on that back shelf and you never figured out what to do with it, now you have a positive solution.
And third, when the cream is being whipped, I suggest adding powdered sugar — powdered so that there is no trace of graininess in the whipped cream.
Most recipes for eggnog suggest using a cocktail shaker. Here you need a bowl and a whisk. This drink is made by folding or gently whisking in the whipped cream.
I hope you enjoy every sip.
Brian and Grandma’s Swinging Eggnog
Yield: 8 breads
Timing: 6+ drinks
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups cold milk
- 2 cups dark, spicy rum
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
Beat the egg yolks until light with a whisk. Continue whisking and slowly add the granulated sugar. Whisk until the mixture is stiffening. If you taste test, there may be some graininess still evident from all that sugar. That will go away with the additional liquids to come.
Add the milk and rum. Mix well, then chill for at least 3 hours.
One hour before serving, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Beat in the powder sugar. Gently fold or whisk the whipped cream into the chilled egg-milk-rum mixture. The goal here is to get a good mix of cream and chilled liquid. You don’t want to deflate the whipped cream. You will end up with a thick consistency with some globs of whipping cream suspended. That’s fine.
Refrigerate for one hour. Then serve.
Source: Brian O’Rourke and recipeland.com