Food Archives

I like to eat, I like to cook, and I like to blog about the both.

Time to Make the Eggnog

This is a reminder, as much to myself as anyone else, that if you’re reading this in early November, it’s time to make the eggnog—specifically aged eggnog—so it’ll be ready in time for the holidays.

Ingredients for a batch of aged eggnog (Maker's Mark bourbon, half-and-half, eggs) sitting on Jeep fender
Picking up the ingredients for our 2022 batch (already had sugar and vanilla)

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.

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Glug Glug Glug Glug Glug Pizza

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:

I’ve also been incorporating some of the techniques from Adam Ragusea’s video, Making New York-style pizza at home, and his followup a year later, New York-style pizza at home, v2.0.

Pizza in portrait mode
A pizza in portrait mode

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Lasagna offcuts

There’s nothing more photogenic than homemade pasta—even the offcuts in pursuit of lasagna.

Homemade lasagna pasta offcuts
Lasagna “leftovers”

Spreadsheet cornbread

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!

Crackling bread
The finished product

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Couscous à la française, inspiré de l’Afrique du Nord, pour Stéphanie

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.

I watched a handful of YouTube videos to familiarize myself with the dish, some in French, some in English in the French style, and some in English in the Moroccan style. One of my favorites fell into that third category, Couscous with Seven Vegetables / كسكس سبع خضار by Cooking with Alia.

Screenshot from Couscous with Seven Vegetables by Cooking With Alia
Screenshot from Couscous with Seven Vegetables

With that research under my belt, combined with what I had on hand, what I was able to find at Trader Joe’s, and what Stephanie prefers (lamb 👎, chickpeas 👍), I cobbled together the following recipe.

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