Holiday Recipe: Eggnog Ice Cream

Is there one thing that is the epitome of the holidays for you? When I was a kid, that first eggnog of the season, right before Thanksgiving was it. The holiday season was here for real!

Now eggnog is here much sooner, but for me, it’s still a clear signal that the holidays are upon us. As much as I love eggnog, I never made it from scratch until yesterday, when I made this eggnog ice cream for the first time.

While I do enjoy eating raw cookie dough as I bake, I must admit that the multiple raw egg yolks freaked me out a bit. But I got over it. Especially since I added alcohol, which feels like it cleans it up a bit. Maybe?!?

Anyway, as long as you have an ice cream maker, this recipe is pretty simple. The recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown one that I found on NPR back in December 2006. Way back at the beginning of the century! And now, we’re zooming into 2020 in a mere two weeks! But eggnog is timeless.

This recipe was adapted based on what I have at home and my personal taste. I had some half and half that I needed to use up and I happen to have vanilla oat milk. I don’t have bourbon, but I do have vanilla flavored vodka, so that’s what I used. I also added some additional flavor extracts and a bit of salt, because the mixture tasted somewhat bland. The final result is delicious!

I hope you try this recipe and adapt based on what you have at home as well. Happy Holidays!

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Eggnog Ice Cream  (makes 1 quart)

INGREDIENTS:
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2  1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup vanilla oat milk
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup Pinnacle®️ Whipped®️ Vodka

INSTRUCTIONS:
You can use the directions in the original recipe or the way I have done below.

Beat the egg yolks well in a large bowl. Use what you have — a stand mixer, an electric hand mixer (what I used) or a manual hand mixer. Add in the sugar and beat well. Add the remaining ingredients and use a whisk to combine. Chill mixture in the freezer for about 40 minutes. Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and use as directed. Place ice cream in an airtight container and put in freezer for several hours.

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Radio Host: Tom Ashbrook

On Point with Tom Ashbrook, radio and podcasts.

For those of you who regularly listen to the radio and podcasts, you’ve probably heard  On Point at least a few times. If not, you’re missing out! Please tune in!

In my opinion, the show has widest range of topics of any show I’ve encountered. Ever. With in-depth analysis and callers from every walk of life. From the latest news stories to food, books, music — you name it. Tom has covered it. Or he’s about to.

One thing that I especially like is that people of color are regularly included as part of the discussion. Not as a gimmick. Not because diversity is being forced. But because we are part of the fabric of America. Inclusion has been part of the show for as long as I’ve listened to it.

Two shows that I especially enjoyed recently and I hope you’ll check out are: Rediscovering African-American Roots And Cuisine, with Michael Twitty and Black Motherhood In The Spotlight.

Since today is September 11th, it seems especially fitting to have Tom “here” today. That date was also the genesis for his show.

On Point was born in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, when the country was looking for answers and impatient with old certitudes. We still carry that urgency today: to test, challenge and probe. And while we do it, to celebrate the people, arts and ideas that make life a joy.

Today is also an important date for me. It’s my birthday and the 3rd year anniversary for the relaunch of this blog on this domain.

So let’s resume this ongoing series with the 15th interview of You Pick Six and learn some more about Tom.

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What is a favorite childhood food memory?
I grew up on an old family farm in Illinois. As kids, we were put on the big tractors early, and in the hay fields, and we really worked. Coming back to the house from a big day in the fields, I was crazy for all the fresh stuff right in from our garden – asparagus, snap peas, tomatoes, sweet corn. The flavor and fragrance of absolute freshness was so sublime. I can still taste it.

What is a favorite dessert?
Hands down, peach cobbler. But only the genuine, old-school article. I had aunts who were almost Amish. Mennonites, with the big bonnets and all. And they made peach cobbler that had flavors I can’t even name. Subtle, exquisite, caramelized flavors that were other-worldly. They made symphonies with peach cobbler.

How did food become an important part of your life?
Food is an important part of everybody’s life, whether we treat it that way or not. It literally shapes us and our pleasures. When I left home, my palate exploded. Oysters in Boston. Beef tartar in Washington. So many kinds of yogurt and fish in Sweden, the “old country” in my family. Being a midwestern farm kid, there were so many revelations waiting. I went from naive love to amazed appreciation.

A favorite fruit plate from Les Sablons in Cambridge.
A favorite fruit plate from Les Sablons in Cambridge.

What is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
Rajahmundry, in south India. I was nineteen, traveling alone way off the beaten path. Looking for an old ally of Gandhi’s who had become a dissident and was lying low on an ashram upriver. I ducked into a very simple restaurant on the main street and managed to use my newly-acquired language skills in Telugu to order an okra curry and raita. Everything was served on a huge banana leaf. That curry blew my mind. Flavor so robust and delicate at the same time. I still dream about it.

What is some of the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Thank you, Jesus.

What inspires you?
The human capacity for reinvention and kindness. A few years ago I lost my childhood sweetheart to cancer. I grieved so hard. And ate almost nothing but broccoli and sardines for a year. Weird disaster food, but it kept me alive. Many people helped me profoundly, but then I met one who brought me fully back to life. And an important part of that happened in the kitchen. She made me a happy near vegetarian. Now we cook together every night.

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Thank you so much for participating Tom!

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Photos: Provided by Tom Ashbrook.

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Updated 2/16/2018: Tom Ashbrook is no longer hosting On Point.

WBUR + Legal Sea Foods = Dinner!

Legal Sea Foods dessert with dinnerMaybe a month or so ago, I was driving and listening to WBUR, a local NPR station. They were fundraising and giving out Legal Sea Foods gift cards for donations. A great idea for dinner!

I’m already a sustaining member, so I didn’t think I’d be eligible for anything. Then they said that even a tiny increase in the monthly amount would be enough to get a gift card. Since that fits my budget, I thought it was a nice excuse to do some good and go to Legal Sea Foods.

Last night, my mom and I went to dinner at their new Braintree location. It had been a while since we went out to dinner together, so it was real treat for us. The service was excellent and so was the food.

We both enjoyed our seafood dinners, but I was focused on dessert from the beginning after reading that they were featuring a cognac pumpkin cheesecake. It was delicious! The size was rather small, which was both good and bad. I wanted more, because it was so good. But I also didn’t feel as guilty eating it since the portion was quite reasonable.

My mom ordered the Boston Cream Pie and I had a taste. Okay, a few bites. I loved it too! Trying Boston Cream Pie at different locations, like Bostonia Public House and Parker’s Restaurant, is becoming a thing with me. I wonder what place prepares it the best? That will take some diligent research and remembering to order when it comes time for dessert when I’m out at dinner.

I like seeing the different variations of our official state dessert here in Massachusetts. Earlier today there was a nice segment on CBS Sunday Morning about Boston Cream Pie, which is actually a cake. I’ve never made it myself. Maybe that will be a thing at some point too.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Craving Boston: A New WGBH Food Blog

Craving Boston food blog

If you read the full post all the way down to the bottom, some of you may remember reading about a surprise announcement coming up. Well, here it is! Recently, I’ve become a contributing writer for Craving Boston! A new food blog! I’m so excited! For those of you not from the local area, WGBH is one of our local PBS and NPR media outlets.

I’ve been a WGBH sustaining member for several years and a fan for even longer. Most of my life actually! As a kid, watching Sesame Street on WGBH may have been one of my first ever long-term television watching experiences. So I’ve come full circle.

Craving Boston is a food blog exploring the deep connection between the New England region and its cuisine.

My first article for the food blog, Prison Gardens Grow Food and Skill Sets, came about because I learned about the large vegetable harvest from the garden at Bridgewater State Hospital.

Also, I have been thinking about the issue of incarceration. It’s been in the news a great deal lately. From President Obama being the first president to visit a prison to Pope Francis visiting inmates as well. A Washington Post article quotes the Pope’s words.

This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation.

The New Garden Society provides “therapeutic and vocational horticulture training” to the students as part of the facility’s Horticulture program. The Horticulture Society of New York talks about the benefits of gardening.

Horticultural therapy is an ancient practice that uses plants and gardens as tools in human healing and rehabilitation. Its benefits include stress reduction, mood improvement, alleviation of depression, social growth, physical and mental rehabilitation, wellness, and vocational training.

Since today is Halloween, I am especially reminded of a statement by one of the students. He said that he hadn’t seen a pumpkin in 20 years. I cannot even imagine that.

Seeing pumpkins is a signal for the change in seasons and something that we take for granted this time of year. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most important.

I hope you’ll click over and take a look at the full article. Happy Halloween!

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Screenshot: WGBH

Creative Mornings: Boston

Copley Square BostonThis week had a lot of emotional and work-related ups and downs.

But, I did manage to look up and notice the beautiful sky in the middle of it all. When I’m feeling like this, I know that I need to get my mind right. To stay positive and be mindful.

As I write this post, I’m listening to The Lively Show. The show is an interview with Lynn Robinson and focused on intuition. It’s quite a good pick-me-up and helping me stay in the right mindset.

A few months ago, I learned about a breakfast lecture series for the creative community called Creative Mornings. These free morning lectures are held in different cities all over the world and are quite a wonderful resource. I encourage everyone to go if you get a chance. From what I can tell, each month there is a different theme for the talks.

I was finally able to attend a Creative Mornings event in Boston a few weeks ago. The stars aligned and I had the time and found a lecture that interested me.

It was amazing how it worked out. I had just listened to an On Point podcast called, Zen And The Art Of The Free Throw, where George Mumford was interviewed by Tom Ashbrook about how he teaches mindfulness to athletes to help them perform at a higher level. They also discussed his new book, The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance.

It was just a day or two after hearing the interview, that I received an email that Mumford would be speaking at Creative Mornings in Boston. I registered right away!

When I attended the event, which had a theme of Collaboration, I thought they were giving the book away to attendees. But it was only to a few people and I didn’t get one. I put it on hold at the library and have been number one in line for weeks waiting for it. Maybe I’m not meant to read it yet, since I am finishing up another one. It feels right to write this post now, so I will probably write about the book after I read it.

Click here to see some more photos taken by other people. I had a great time and learned a lot at the event. Looking forward to attending more!