This is a reminder, as much to myself as anyone else, that if it’s early November, it’s time to make the eggnog—specifically aged eggnog—so it’ll be ready in time for the holidays.
I first learned about aged eggnog from Michael Ruhlman, after an extinct blog post he wrote in 2008, but it wasn’t until last November (4,700 days later to be precise—note to self: set a recurring calendar reminder) that I finally had the foresight to make some in time. And it was awesome! The idea occurred to me again yesterday, and along with it came this faint recollection that I had wanted to tweak the recipe, but I couldn’t recall how. Luckily I dug up an email from last year which helped me reconstruct the memory.
The dough recipe I return to, over and over again, is from a video by Mark Bittman in the New York Times for Potato Pizza (in which potato is just the topping). In our household, we refer to it affectionately as glug glug glug glug glug pizza—after the sound Mark makes (and I imitate) to “measure” the olive oil. I love precisely weighing out the flour and then glug-glugging the olive oil with almost reckless abandon before adding just enough water for the dough to come together. Here’s my adaptation, which makes enough dough for two 11–12″ pizzas:
8–9 g (2 tsp) kosher salt
This is double what Mark recommends, but I find that a single teaspoon results in a bland crust, and 8–9 grams is in line with a typical baker’s percentage of 2–3% salt for pizza.
2 g (1/2 tsp) yeast
This is half of what Mark recommends, because I make the dough ahead of time and allow it to rise in the fridge at least overnight, often for several days. If I was going to make the pizza day of, I’d use a full teaspoon of yeast.
5 glugs olive oil
about 180 mL (3/4 cup) water
I fill my liquid cup measure with 1 cup and add water into the food processor until the dough comes together. I almost always have close to 1/4 cup remaining, resulting in a hydration of about 55%.
I wanted to make refried beans, in no small part because I had two pounds of bacon fat trimmings in the freezer, which I had saved expressly for the purpose of making lard. I didn’t really have any intended vehicle for the refried beans, but Chef John suggested nachos, so I made nachos. Of course I didn’t have tortilla chips at the time (and I didn’t want to make a superfluous trip to the store), but I did have a large stack of corn tortillas in the freezer, so I turned those into chips. But I digress.
After straining the rendered pork fat through a cheesecloth, I was left with about 7 ounces of solid bits, known in the south as “cracklings” (ignoring the fact that lard is usually made with unsmoked, uncured bits of pork fat). The lard recipe suggested using these bits in something called “crackling bread”…basically cornbread with pork bits. I had a project!
In France they call it Couscous (or occasionally Couscous Royale when it’s served with chicken drumsticks and merguez sausages along with the standard cuts of lamb). You can think of it as a vegetable-prominent, lamb and tomato and chickpea stew served atop a copious bed of couscous grains, with harissa-spiked broth on the side.