Easy butterbeer for grownups

Home made caramels wrapped in wax paper

20130816_100347 by Cynny on Flickr, CC-BY-2.0.

In a small glass measuring cup, add 3-4 tbs of butterscotch or caramel, homemade, out of a squeezy bottle or just melted down caramels from Kraft. Mix in 3 ounces of spiced rum and mix until smooth.

Fill a glass mostly up with cream soda. top with caramel/rum mixture. I think this would scale; take a cup out of a rum bottle, empty out a 250 ml caramel sauce bottle, shake to stir and measure out a bit more than you would have added to your rum highball with cream soda. Buy the highest quality of cream soda as you can, it makes a huge difference. Don’t buy the stuff with the red dye in it, go clear or a neutral brown to get the real butterbeer look. You can top this with whipped cream if you like, or it would make *the best* vanilla ice cream float.

Enjoy! (responsibly)

Steamed savory egg custard (like chawanmushi if you know what that is)

Chawanmushi was one of my favourite Japanese dishes that wasn’t in the Top Five Japanese Dishes That Everyone Loves. I always thought it was too hard to make, until we made it at home.

You need:

eggs and liquid. For every 2 eggs, you need 100 ml of liquid, so like a 1:1 ratio of egg volume to liquid.

What kind of liquid? Anything. Any kind of stock, chicken and shrimp the two most obvious. Dashi, a fishy stock is yummy. Even water with soy sauce and fish sauce will do. Make sure that it’s not too bright. It’s a subtle dish and too much salt or sour can ruin it. The liquid should be warm enough to stick your finger in it and feel neither hot or cold. We used water and chicken soup powder, so really, it can be that simple.

Chopped up stuff. We kept it simple and just chopped up some green onion If I remember my japanese right, it is supposed to mean “little treasures” so it’s what’s inside the egg custard that people like, but I just like the egg custard. Traditionally, this would be chopped up shrimp, soaked shitake mushrooms, bits of boiled sweet potato, whatever you like. The steam is just going to cook the egg. Don’t expect the egg to have to cook anything else so everything that you add should be cooked and warm (not hot) before going into the cooking vessel.

Traditionally in Japan it’s cooked in teacups and steamed in baskets That’s the part that always stopped me. Then I found a recipe that called for puting a cooking dish just into a bot and boiling that. I didn’t like the idea of a glass bowl coming into direct contact with the metal pot bottom, so we put a silicone steamer basket down. You can also use a dishtowel or, if you want to get English spotted dick on it, put down some newspapers. The water is supposed to come half way up the baking dish. You can put a towel between the pot and the lid so that steam doesn’t drip down into your eggs.

Before your water comes to a boil and you’re using a steamer basket make sure that the water comes up to the half way point. Eyeball it if you’re going to use the newspaper or the towel method or just prepare yourself for an potential mess. Put the bowl into the pot once it starts to boil rapidl then turn it down to medium low. Let the egg custard steam for 10 minutes.

We used six eggs to have leftovers, so after the ten minutes we let it sit in the hot water off the heat for 5 minutes and then took it out of the pot and let it sit for another five. So, for twenty minutes cook time and about five minutes of active work, I could have all the chawanmushi I wanted.

Serve with rice or noodles. Splash with soy, sesame seeds and oil. It was even good cold the next day. You could sweeten it and add cream or milk instead of broth and have a real egg custard, but I love it savory.

Perfect microwave scrambled eggs with truffle oil

Really look at the the ingredients of your truffle oil, your bottle should contain oil and truffles. If it’s artificial, it’s been made by perfume makers and like real vanilla, it’s worth the extra cost.

In a microwave safe bowl, crack two eggs and beat with a pinch of kosher salt and the tiniest bit of white truffle oil. We’re talking less than an eighth of a teaspoon. All it takes is a drip. Scramble everything together and nuke in the microwave for 30 seconds, scramble it up, thirty more seconds, scramble that up, and then go by 5-10 second intervals until it’s 80% set. The eggs will be creamy like you spent twenty minutes coddling it over indirect heat as long as you scramble it up.

If your microwave takes less than 2 minutes to heat up a mug of water, maybe try 1 30 second blast and then cut it down to 10-15 seconds a go. Our microwave took a minute and ten seconds. I was really impressed. As long as I stopped and whip the eggs up, it was better than I could do in a pan without any oil or butter but for the divine truffle oil.

I reheated the oven roasted waxy potatoes that I chopped up and fried in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper in a cast iron pan for 10 minutes to get a bit of a crust on the potato before throwing them in the oven for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes. These can be done in 45 minutes if you’re in a rush, but it’s not going to get that crispy exterior and creamy center without the extra hour. Excellent food either costs time or money, and these potatoes only cost time.

Homemade eggnog (or Why I didn’t get any editing done yet today)

Elisabeth and I are having guests over and the small shop we went to didn’t have eggnog so we decided to make our own.

I don’t know how deep this conspiracy goes, it could go all the way, but Dairyland has been lying to us! Soylent eggnog in the dairy section tastes NOTHING like real eggnog, and it wasn’t even that hard to make with the use of a few power tools. Two egg whites were added to a warm liquid and so probably didn’t get completely cooked all the way, but they got more cooked than sunnyside eggs and the yolks were completely cooked in the custard. I bought the eggs from the chicken lady yesterday so they couldn’t be fresher and did I mention the cup of rum? Not yet? There’s a lot of rum in it. Everything got a little bit of sugar. I had about 3/4 of a cup of powdered sugar Elisabeth made for her cookies by pulverizing table sugar so there wasn’t any cornstarch in it, but I think the starch, if anything, would make it just a little more creamy.

First, in stand mixer I whipped two egg whites with a bit of sugar and then, without cleaning the bowl I whipped up some cream. Maybe 1/2-3/4 of a cup? That got covered and put in our uninsulated mudroom. Then I went to work on the custard.

In my blender, I whipped up six eggs and the two yolks (waste not, want not. My blendtec went to town on it. I beat them on the batter setting three times so they were very thick. I added a bit of sugar and vanilla. While that was going on, I heated two cups of cream in with two tablespoons of mixed spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg that I ground in a magic bullet. I should have doubled what I originally ground because I strained the spices out when I strained the finished product, so just pretend I ground enough to make 4 tbs of ground everything)

When the cream was just coming to a boil, I added the eggs to a large measuring cup and scooped in the cream a ladle at a time, beating the crap out of the eggs. This is called tempering, but also, making sure you don’t make sweet scrambled eggs. When all he hot liquid went into the eggs, everything went back into the pot and I cooked it until it hit 160.

I heated up 2 cups of whole milk in the microwave, dumped that into the pot with *cough* 1 cup of lemonhart rum and strained it. Then I mixed the egg whites and cream with a tablespoon of more spices to replace what got strained out of the eggs and the whole thing is cooling down in the fridge.

It tastes rich, spicy and alcoholic while being velvetty on the tongue. It seems like a lot of work, and probably was, but the three steps, whipping the egg whites and cream, making the custard, straining and adding everything else really didn’t take all that long, and there was very little actual work. The most effort was making the custard. Obviously it can’t be enjoyed as much as even the whole fat eggnog from the store, but tastes amazing.

Pate and sour cherry stuffed pork tenderloin

Elisabeth and I have been living together for so long we sometimes get synced weird cravings. (I can promise you’re we’re not pregnant) Tonight, it was pate.

Split the pork tenderloin lengthwise but not cutting all the way through

Slather with the pate on both sides (I only slathered it on one. It was still awesome. Would have been awesomer on both)

stuff the middle with sour cherries (we had frozen container of pitted cherries in the freezer, could use sour jam cherry, even)

Salt and pepper meat

Tie back up, roast @ 350 for 45 minutes or until 160 degrees. Chop up some potatoes. The potatoes may need to continue cook while the meat rests. Slice and nom.