Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beverage: Holiday Eggnog

Difficulty: Easy

Prep/Cook Time: 10 min

Chill Time: 30 min

Serves (4)

I'm allergic to cow's milk, so this eggnog is made with fresh goat's milk instead of cream. A lighter and more frothy version than traditional fare, this nog is coats the palate without making you feel like you just drank an entire meal. Spiked with just a shot of rum for a bright warmness, feel free to spike yours as much as you'd like with your favorite liquor.

Ingredients: 4 large farm fresh eggs*, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup rum, 2 heaping tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, nutmeg to taste

*Use caution when using raw eggs. I always use farm fresh eggs from my parents' farm when consuming raw egg products.

Combine all ingredients in beverage mixer or blender. Blend on high until frothy (about 2 min). Chill eggnog for at least 30 min and serve with nutmeg.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Side: Apple Cider Steamed Cabbage and Bacon

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves (6)

Apple cider brings out the hidden sweetness of cabbage, and makes this dish the perfect side to your next bratwurst filled Oktoberfest. Use in place of sauerkraut as a base for meats, or let stand alone. Balance the sweetness with salty bacon, cracked black pepper, and just a little butter for some flavorful clarity.

Ingredients: 1 head of cabbage, 1 1/2 cups apple cider*, 4-6 oz bacon, 4 tbsp butter, salt, pepper, water

*Can substitute apple juice for cider.

Cut bottom off cabbage. Slice remaining cabbage into strips. Wash and set aside.

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook in large pan over medium heat. We want to take all the flavor with us, so add a handful of cabbage slices and a little water to pan with bacon. Heat over medium-high heat, scraping bottom of pan to release any remaining bacon pieces and juice.

Pour bacon and cabbage mixture into a large pot. Add remaining cabbage, apple cider, butter, and enough water to cover 2/3 of cabbage. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper (and then more pepper). Mixing cabbage occasionally, partially cover pot with lid and steam over low-medium heat until cabbage is tender (about 15-20 min).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dessert: Pumpkin Cake with Nutmeg Icing

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 35-45 min

Serves (12)

Give apples a momentary break for the fall and bring out some pumpkin goodness. With no eggs, milk or beating required, this may be the simplest cake you'll ever prepare. Serve warm or cold, and drizzle with creamy nutmeg icing to enjoy the perfect pumpkin pleasure.

Ingredients: Cake 1 2/3 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter*, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Nutmeg icing 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp softened butter, 2-3 tbsp milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, nutmeg to taste

*For a healthier alternative, substitute oil for the butter.

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl and mix with fork or wisk. Add water, pumpkin, butter and vinegar to flour mixture. Mix with wooden spoon. Pour batter into bundt pan and cook until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (about 35 min). Cake should slide easily out of the pan once slightly cooled.

For icing, combine all ingredients in small bowl. You'll want the icing to be a heavy drizzle--not a frosting--so thin the icing with more milk as needed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Entrée: Mexican Spaghetti

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time 20 min

Serves (3-4)

Mexican night? Let's be unconventional--skip the tortillas and the beef. This vegetarian alternative to a beefy Mexican fiesta is still bringing flavor to the party. With spaghetti instead of tortillas and diced tomatoes instead of salsa, we're tipping our hat to Italian charm while saying, "Vamos!" to a great meal.

Ingredients: 8 oz spaghetti, 2 small yellow onions, 1 can diced (no salt) tomatoes, 2/3 cup low salt black beans, 1/3 cup corn, 2 tbsp freshly minced cilantro, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper

Bring water to boil in 2 qt pot for spaghetti. Cook until al dente.

Slice onions. Mince cilantro. Saute onions in oiled pan over medium heat. Once onions begin to brown, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and generously coat onions in chili powder (about 2 tsp). The sweetness of the yellow onions plays perfectly with the chili powder, so don't be afraid of over doing the chili powder. Add tomatoes, corn, black beans (drained) and cilantro to pan. Stir in onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until mixture starts to bubble. Simmer over low heat, 5 min. Plate on top of spaghetti.