Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To Christmas & Back again.....

Everyone's blogs are viral with pictures of Christmas so I thought I ought to get in the act. My whole family (minus one Krumping brother) came to visit and when I was handed a slew of photos on my hard drive at the end of it all. I had to vow to a) never post another picture taken with my camera & b) get myself a decent camera.

It's a wonder you've looked at any of these photos of food. It's akin to someone making a really really BAAAAD movie trailer and expecting anyone to be interested in watching the movie.

Last night I made 2 turkeys, gravy & stuffing for my friends in Noda....was definitely feeling under the weather & am now wrapped in blankies drinking turkey soup to nurse me back to sanity. (Not likely) are some pics. I'll probably put up a few batches I'm just too fond of the photography & camera. Food pics first, family next!

Stuffing it with......stuff!! Can you see the slab of butter under his skin?
seducing my sisters' taste buds with tomato, micro arugula, EV olive oil, balsamico & flur de sel. They will never be the same!!
The 2nd stage of peppermint meringues.Fruity mess for my Rustic excuse of a gallette!But that buttery crust was a dream, baby!! Aww---ka-POW!!!
molasses spice cookies, peanutbutter cookies, & iced cardamom sugar cookies

That's it for now. Gotta go & be sick now, catch you later!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eggnog Latte.....and that's what it's all about.

The best thing about hosting an eggnog/cookie party for all your friends & their kiddos is.......
Eggnog latte in the morning, when all your kids are coming off of their cookie sugar high. This was premium eggnogg folksies. I'm not trying to brag here but seriously the custard was perfect in it's own right with vanilla beans speckling it with it's stamp of approval. I finally got my hands on nutmeg seeds to grate directly onto each portion. And a certain smart guest showed up and plunked down a tumbler on my kitchen counter when he walked in the door. "Merry Christmas, would you mind if I took some home with me?"

Needless to say, Eggnog was spilled, cookies were munched, prezzies were exchanged & it was a great noisy time!

I finally played around with icing sugar & did some of my cardamom sugar cookies with deco. I quickly found that I have the patience of a squirrel on Red Bull and raced through them uncerimoniously. Maybe I'll have the kids do them next year.
Hunter was trying to use the ice-cream scoop to scoop out my last bit of sanity.
Ah....Bruschetta for my husband who did indeed let me take off to Chiba. What a swell fellow he is. But then he's the one who got a plateful of these babies on his desk. I made these of prosciutto, tomatoes, baby arugula, EV olive oil, balsamico vinegar & grey sea salt.

Hope your Christmas cooking is turning out.......and remember when you're in a jam.......BUTTER WILL FIX IT!!

PS. Since I know this is coming, just wanna say, if you call me on Christmas with a foodie question........pretend like you called me to say Merry Christmas first & I'll be happy to help in whatever way I can.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm Alive.....again.......

Somehow I was under the mistaken impression that celebrating my recovery from the H1N1 meant that I had gotten it......but NO!! It just meant that I was so exhausted from my kids being up all hours of the night for 2 weeks that I thought I had it & consequently got ridiculously sick after drinking 2 delicious hot buttered rum drinks at midday. (which BTW made for a very cheerful sedated day) so..........NOW, I'm better and thanks to my terribly capable & good looking husband I got a day & 1/2 off to go visit w/ my fam & silly sisters in Chiba (aka, home sweet home). Where I completed my Christmas cooking shopping with, molasses, fresh cardamom, poppy seeds, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and of course a huge bar of white chocolate for cookies.

Thanks to a viewing of "Julia & Julie" I'm trying to inject some inspiration into my Christmas cooking. ("Get the AED out.......CLEAR.......Zaaaaap!! I'm getting nothing.......turn it up to 400w, CLEAR...................ZZZZAAAP!!"). I'm all jacked up on double shots of espresso in my coffee so today I'm gonna tackle Christmas cookies & menus for Christmas dinner & the two turkeys & stuffing I'm putting together for friends who are mourning the loss of their oven.

Here's a few pics from Chiba.

It's tiring being the sister of a actor, those damn paparazzi can find you anywhere.
There they were stalking out the Uchibo line.

Amy getting heavy handed with'm. The price we pay for fame!! Sigh!

Chala needs some Christmas cheer.
Midnight Cowboy hamburger at Village Vanguard in Parco.........I'm making a plug for them. Best darn burgers in Chiba!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hot Buttered Rum!!

Yes, it's true!! I tried it & I did like it. And as you can see I didn't even have the decency to wait till happy hour. And why? Because when all your kids are over the dreaded flu of flus, & finished their 1st month of school....EVERY hour is happy hour!!

Here's a recap of the recipe:

Heat glass with hot water
3 heaping tsp of light brown sugar
Dash of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
2 oz (a shot) of golden rum
top with hot water
1 pat (tbsp) butter

Stir &........Enjoy!!

For pre-made "sugar & spice butter" for 10-12 drinks worth
1 stick (1 c) butter
2 c light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
Dash of salt

mix till butter is softened & ingr. combined chill in freezer till needed to top drinks. Also great for topping toast/french toast etc....

Please be kind & if you please rate/subscribe/comment on my YouTube channel. And if you have a Christmas recipe request I'll do my best to buy yet MORE butter and demonstrate how to turn every recipe into a sucess. Nya ha ha!!!

Though next up will be some mulled wine or glogg, soon as I can get some good cheap wine!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

FINALLY.....An EGGNOG recipe!!!

I finally wanted to get around to posting a eggnog recipe for you. Mind you when I make this I really sort of "wing-ding" it because I feel that I can do no wrong when I put a ton of whip cream & rum into something & all mistakes will be forgiven when friends are walking around with nog-stashes & cookie crumbs on their sweaters.

But seriously.....I covered a few of the basic highlights & concepts of eggnog that I like to stick to, in a noggie post 2 years back.

But for anyone who wants an actual recipe this is as close as we'll get. I wanted to make some & take some pics but I fear that'll have to wait till later on as if I break out the cookies & nog now there'll be no stopping me.

So here we go:

4 cups of milk
1/4 c of cornstarch
1/2 c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract or (if you can 1/2 a vanilla pod's seeds scraped out)

1 cup of light rum (of course if you'd like more.......)
4 egg whites
2 cups whipped cream
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp (more or less) of nutmeg

Now listen up & remember the cardinal rule about eggnog is this:

As long as you put enough rum in no one will remember your eggnog sucked. Honestly, have you ever heard someone complain about eggnog being bad?

If you're acquainted with custard at all you'll get how to put together the first 5 ingr. with no trouble. There are a few standard custard methods (the traditional method of course, doens't use any cornstarch at all) I can't stand a curdled eggish mess so I usually stick with the cornstarch method.

First put aside the egg yolks in a medium size bowl & mix'm together. Next mix the sugar & cornstarch in a saucepan & mix in the milk. Stir on med/low heat till it start to bubble & simmer. Mix for about 1 minute & then swiftly (to avoid, again, egg curdled horrific mess) pour in about 1/2 or more of the mixture into the egg yolks whisking till blended then pour it back into the saucepan & bring back to a boil & simmer for another minute till thickened. If you want your nog NOW, place your saucepan into a bath of icewater & mix it till cooled then throw it into the freezer to cool quick (don't forget about it) while you're doing the rest. Or just cover with clear wrap (flush against the custard to stop a icky skin from forming, ewww) & put it in the fridge till you need it. It'll keep for at least 24 hrs.

Now for the fluff....remember if you're parinoid of raw eggs or you're wanting to make this the night before you probably don't want to have whipped egg whites sitting in your eggnog but if you're wanting a real creamy eggnog then I stand by this method. Beat the egg whites till stiff & whip the cream up adding sugar accordingly. Now pull out your custard & add the rum to it. Mixing thoroughly (it'll tend to settle to the bottom if you're not careful to mix as you pour. Fold in your egg whites then your cream. (the egg whites will deflate a bit but will lighten up the nog enough to take in the whipped cream without deflated completely)

Top with nutmeg & serve with cookies galore. I'd be going for something with extra spice like, 4 spice cookies or cardamom sugar cookies.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Birthday Ban!

Belated & I can't promise (or don't want to) that I'll put up all pictures of birthday cakes (since some had fantastically "sell out" & "doomed for failure" themes like "Star Wars" etc...) but this one was too cute. Hunter's 2nd Birthday cake. A Kiki & Lala themed florescent cake of love!

My ultra-techincially profound way of decorating cake. AKA, slap it on baby!!

Busy mom's favorite cop out, wash charaters & smoosh them into icing.

Equals......Super duper happy little birthday boy!! TADA!!!!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Experimental video! --- FEEEDBACK please! :)

Hey there friends. Been a little while. I'm still recovering from a cold, computer adapter fail moment, H1N1 sick kids & other such excuse making. Soooo, to make for it though really I'm still cringing from viewing's a little video I made a while ago. I hope you'll forgive my humble stumble bumble attempt. I know I'm talking non-sense & looking at it now it's not as clear as I wanted (maybe I'll give it a thought before I start) . Plus I have no video editing program so that's something I wanna figure out too. Any suggestions? It's something I wanted to do & hope it'll at least make you smirk. Want to make another one soon. Any advice, tips & love coming my way is great.