December, 2010 Archive

Friday, December 31, 2010

milk punch

bourbon milk punch

Old as it may be, I hadn’t heard of milk punch before a few weeks ago but can assure you, I’ve thought about nothing else since, not blizzards, not book deadlines and not how long it will take for all of the molars to show up so we can get back to sleeping again. Nope, nothing but milk punch. An avid fan of eggnog — also, John Denver & The Muppets Chrismas album, carolers, chestnuts roasting on open fires and all sorts of things that are probably not expected from girl who celebrates Hanukah — but wary of all of the raw eggs and too impatient to tuck it away for anywhere from three weeks to a year to mellow flavor, milk punch seemed right up my alley.

milk and half-and-half
knob it

Like all great drinks, it has an equally great history. Namely, that if you’re using it to cure whatever ails as you ring in the new year (or tomorrow, as a hair of the nog that bit you and yes, I do crack myself up) you’re doing it absolutely right as milk punch was initially concocted not as what I unbiasedly believe to be the coolest thing you could mix up at a party tonight but as medication. Apparently, people drank it in colonial times (even Ben Franklin had his own recipe!), people drank it on Mississippi riverboats but then sometime around World War 2, it fell off the map everywhere but New Orleans. Ah, New Orleans, this is just one more reason we like you.

sifting powdered sugar

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

crescent jam and cheese cookies

crescent cheese cookies

Because if I don’t mention this today I believe my husband will pop out of lurkdom and tsk-tsk me publicly for it, let me own up to one thing: I snore. Just kidding! I emphatically do not snore, not even when I have had wine with dinner and a lingering head cold and it would have been completely understandable. Not even then.

farmer cheese
sieved

Wow, that was totally not what this post was supposed to be about. Let me try again, from the place where I own up to something: I often get really cranky with recipes when I cook. Why wasn’t this tested better? Would it have killed them to add this highly relevant detail? How many editorial hands did this recipe pass through and not a single one of them could have corrected this bogus weight? It’s not pretty and, tellingly, the tendency has only become exacerbated since I began writing my own cookbook. It leads to a lot of grumpiness in the kitchen. A recipe I feel would benefit from an overhaul is a needling reminder that even with a team of very able people involved, perfection is unattainable and one day someone will be standing in a kitchen wondering how nobody saw that inevitable typo in my book and lordy, is it too early for a drink?

rolled, cut and dolloped with jam

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, December 23, 2010

spicy gingerbread cookies

snowflake gingerbread

Exactly a year ago, I decided on a whim to make gingerbread cookies. I could do that back then; I had a little “baa”-ing baby trying to roll over in the living room and then he’d go no further! He’d be exactly where I left him! I mean, I still have a “baa”-ing baby but only if you prompt him with “And the sheep says?” and he is never, ever where last I left him. I digress.

mucho molasses
so much spicy

You see, I have a flawlessly executed candlelit dinner every Christmas Eve with one of my closest friends from high school and her family. This tradition is 15 years on now and I enjoy it as much as my own people’s Christmas Day tradition of Chinese and a movie. Last year, she told me that her brother and his wife had wanted to decorate gingerbread men but realized they’d have no time to bake them. I saw my window, searched MarthaStewart.com for a recipe and got moving.

making little men

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Monday, December 20, 2010

broiled mussels

broiled mussels

Welcome to the single time each calendar year I cook something that began its life in the ocean. I suspect right now that you’re in one of a few camps. You’re either thinking “You know, I never noticed it before but Deb, you really don’t have any fish recipes on the site!” Or you’re thinking, “What kind of person doesn’t eat fish?” or you’re thinking, “Lady, I just arrived here yesterday because I heard there were some cookies around and I couldn’t care less about your food hangups.” Welcome, all of you.

wine-steamed mussels

Yeah, so I have some fish hangups. But I love mussels. It’s probably because they’re usually steamed open in wine or beer, shallots or garlic, butter or, well, even more butter. It doesn’t hurt that they’re usually served with fries, and the juices sopped up with chunks of crusty baguette. Can you imagine a more glorious way to go out? They’re sweet and bite-sized and the shells make the most magnificent low clinking sounds against each other in a bowl, like very full wine glasses. The presence of those is encouraged, too.

ready to be butter-slathered

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

iced oatmeal cookies

iced

What normal people often do is take a recipe for something floury, buttery and indulgent and try to make it healthier. Maybe they use less butter. They might dial back the sugar. But more often than not they swap in a little whole wheat or alternative grain flour and at least make something with more nutrients.

dough, a deer...
scooped big

But we’ve established by now that I’m not normal, and so, I did the opposite. I took a recipe for an oatmeal cookie with oat, whole wheat, rye, millet and barley flour within and I swapped in some unbleached all-purpose flour. And I did it for you! Yes, you.

baked

Continued after the jump »


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