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TIP OF THE DAY: Plan A Buffet ~ It’s National Buffet Day

As if we haven’t eaten enough from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, National Buffet Day is held on January 2. Why, oh why???

The good news is that it is easy to have a low-calorie buffet; more about that below.

The word “buffet” came to the U.S. from a French sideboard, a long, narrow, high table traditionally used in the dining room for serving food, for displaying serving dishes, and underneath, for storage of plates, flatware, etc.

The use of the word expanded from home furnishings to elaborate tables of food at restaurants. (The first restaurant as we know it is believed to have been established in Paris in 1765 by one A. Boulanger, a soup vendor.)

We unabashedly love buffets. Our favorite meal is a little bit of many foods, and we often serve party buffets at home (there’s a list of them below).

A bonus: We don’t spend the entire dinner hour jumping up from table to kitchen.

A good buffet is food-lover excitement.
 
 
BUFFET THEMES

In our home town (New York City), we can head to* buffets that focus on different cuisines:

  • Brazilian Steakhouse
  • Chinese and other Asian
  • General American Cuisine
  • Indian
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Salad (or Soup & Salad)
  • Seafood buffets
  • Sushi
  •  
    Some people avoid buffets because of fear of overeating.

    But a buffet doesn’t have to be high in calories, especially the ones you prepare at home.
     
     
    LOW CALORIE BUFFET IDEAS

    The board will be growing with even half of these recipe ideas.

    In alphabetical order, consider:

  • Build-your-own leafy green salad (different lettuces and salad vegetables); olive oil and flavored vinegars
  • Deviled eggs made with yogurt and mustard
  • Edamame
  • Grilled or roasted meat and poultry
  • Grilled or poached fish and shellfish
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Specialty salads: cucumber or tzatziki, fennel and onion, lentil salad, red cabbage slaw, three-bean salad
  • Smoked salmon or gravlax
  • Spiralized vegetable salad (check out this list)
  • Spiralized vegetable “linguine” (same list as above)
  • Whole grain salad: barley, bulgur, quinoa, etc.
  • Whole wheat party breads, crackers or rolls
  •  
    For Dessert:

  • Dark chocolate-dipped strawberries (dipped 1/4 of the way)
  • Frozen grape and banana skewers
  • Fruit compote
  • Fruit salad with optional Greek yogurt topping
  • Fruit compote
  •  

    MORE BUFFETS FOR HOME ENTERTAINING

    We’ve included party bars in this list: a table of ingredients that guests customize for themselves.

    Like salad bars†, the base ingredient is provided with numerous options for add-ons.

  • Applesauce Bar
  • Agua Fresca Bar
  • Antipasto Bar
  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Assorted Desserts Party Bar
  • Avocado Bar
  • Bacon Bar
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Breakfast & Brunch Party Bar
  • Brownie Sandwich Bar
  • Bruschetta Bar
  • Chili Bar
  • Cocktail Spreads Bar
  • Coconut Bowl Bar/li>
  • Congee Bar
  • Crêpes Bar
  • Crostini Bar
  • Éclair Bar
  • Falafel Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  • Frozen Yogurt Bar
  • Gazpacho Bar
  • Grain Bowl Buffet
  • Green Bagel Bar (for St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Grilled Avocado Bar
  • Guacamole Garnish Bar
  • Guacamole Party Bar
  • Holiday Cupcakes Bar
  • Hot Dog Bar
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Ice Cream Sandwich Bar
  • Irish Coffee Bar
  • Jambalaya Bar
  • Mac & Cheese Bar
  • Mashed Potato Bar
  • Meatball Bar
  • Mediterranean Buffet
  • Mexican Elote Bar
  • Pimm’s Cup Bar
  • Popcorn Party Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • Shandy Bar
  • S’mores Bar
  • Stuffed Avocado Bar
  • Sundae Bar
  • Sushi Hand Roll (Temaki) Party Bar
  • Taco & Wing Bar
  • Tapas Bar
  • Wedge Salad Bar
     

    THE HISTORY OF THE MODERN BUFFET

    The Swedish are credited with popularizing the modern buffet in the U.S.

    At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, the restaurant at the Swedish Pavilion’s restaurant, Three Crowns, featured a smörgåsbord—a large help-yourself selection of some of the best hot and cold Swedish dishes.

    In restaurant terms, for a fixed sum, guests could help themselves as many and as much as they want from a table of abundant choices.

    During the second half of the 20th century, the smörgåsbord—which had been referred to as a “buffet” by the American media—grew popular in the U.S.

    Restaurants debuted buffet-style lunches and dinners with multiple hot and cold dishes, set up on a long table. Diners helped themselves to whatever they liked.

    The idea extended into homes, too: certainly, our grandmother and mother entertained with buffets.

    But centuries before then, in the U.S., the concept began at taverns and inns with the “groaning board,” or simply “board” or sideboard—a piece of furniture that held victuals for guests to help themselves.

    Those victuals were, in most cases, just the basics: meat, potatoes, bread, butter, soup.

    Across the pond in Scandinavia, however, the Brännvinsbord anticipated the evolution of the modern buffet.
     
     
    The Brännvinsbord (Schnapps Table Or Brandy Table)

    During the middle of the 16th century, the Brännvinsbord emerged as a Scandinavian meal concept.

    In Sweden and Finland, the merchant and upper classes served a schnapps table (brännvinsbord), a small buffet placed on a side table to accompany brandy or liqueurs as a mid- or late-afternoon refreshment of schnapps or brandy (the difference).

    In more affluent homes, foreign spirits such as cognac and whiskey might also be served.

    This pre-dinner nibble was somewhat analogous to the modern American Happy Hour buffet or cocktail hour. As a way to stave off hunger prior to dinner, it could be compared to the English custom of afternoon tea (with alcohol instead of tea).

    The Russian tradition of zakuski is a variation of the brännvinsbord.

    The Brännvinsbord was set up on a side table where guests gathered for a pre-dinner drink. It was separate from the formal dinner that followed; and could occur from two to five hours before dinner itself.

    The sideboard traditionally held five types of food:

  • Different types of bread with butter
  • Cheeses
  • Salted fish, such as smoked or salted salmon or pickled herring
  • Sausage, smoked or dried meat, cold cuts
  • Two types of spiced brandy, e.g. cumin, dill or wormwood
  •  
    Men and women might be served in separate rooms, where the women were often offered a sweeter brandy or liqueur (and each group could converse on topics of their specific interests) [source].

    By the 18th century the concept had become quite popular; but the old concept was at the cusp of peaking and expanding.

    Around the beginning of the 19th century, it developed into a more extensive buffet—or in Scandinavia, the modern smörgåsbord.

    During the expansion of the European railroads throughout Europe, after 1830, the smörgåsbord buffet increased even more in popularity.

  • It was served as an appetizer in hotel restaurants (like the antipasto bar at Italian restaurants.
  • It was offered as fare at railway stations, before the advent of dining cars.
  •  
    The old Brännvinsbord concept survives as an permanent exhibit in the Nordic Museum in Stockholm [source].
     
    The Smörgåsbord Enters The 20th Century

    During the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, restaurants stopped serving smörgåsbord as an appetizer and began to serve it as a main course [source]).

     


    [1] This Swedish smorgasbord was prepared for Midsummer Eve, a national holiday in Sweden. Here’s the scoop from Play And Go (photo © Play And Go).


    [2] Part of the buffet at Hibachi Grill in Jersey City, New Jersey (photo © Hibachi Grill).


    [3] Part of a healthy home buffet (photo © Michael Connors | Stock Xchange).


    [4] A veggie-centric healthy home buffet (photo © Nancy Louie | iStock Photo).


    [5] Turn store-bought or take-out Mediterranean food as a home buffet (photo © Nanoosh | NYC).


    [6] Part of an antipasto bar (photo © Yulia Davidovich | iStock Photo).


    [7] Our favorite restaurant buffet, at Fogo de Chao (photo © Fogo de Chao).


    [8] An Indian buffet at Clay Oven Indian Restaurant (photo © Clay Oven Indian Restaurant | Canada).


    [9] Chinese buffet at Asian King in Texas (photo © Zomato).


    [10] Dessert buffet at Ichi Umi, a sushi and Japanese food buffet in New York City (photo © Ichi Umi).


    [11] Another dessert buffet (photo © Agnes Csondor | iStock Photo).

     
    With enthusiastic mention by the media, smörgåsbord became known throughout the world. The word often used was buffet, which was much easier to pronounce and remember in the English-speaking world.

    Jump to the U.S. in the 1940s. The American version of smörgåsbord, the buffet, began in Las Vegas at the Buckaroo Buffet restaurant
    Customers could dine on unlimited salads, meats and seafood for the price of $1 (which equated to $17.51 in 2017 [source].

    Today, Las Vegas may be the buffet capital of the world, with its famous all-you-can-eat buffets at major hotels, with seeming endless choices, including desserts.

    The 1980s, large chain restaurant buffets emerged: Golden Corral, Hometown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Pizza Hut, Ryan’s, Sizzler, Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes. Mom and Pop buffets followed.

    In 1997, the upscale Fogo de Chao Brazilian steakhouse chain opened its first U.S. location 1997 (it now has has 57 locations worldwide).

    It’s buffet heaven: an immense salad bar of top-quality items accompanies unlimited beef, lamb, pork and poultry carved for you from skewers at tableside.
     
     
    The Future Of The Buffet In The U.S.

    According to Business Review at Berkeley, an independent student-run website, even before Covid the buffet concept was in trouble.

    They claim that:

  • In the 1990s and early 2000s, consumers became more health conscious. While many buffets have healthy options, Buffets typically aren’t considered “healthy options” by most consumers, and even though salads and seafood are often part of a buffet, it is felt that buffets encourage overeating.
  • The target demographic, baby boomers and increasingly aging, and shrinking as a result. Buffets don’t particularly appeal to millennials and younger generations. They aren’t considered hip, aren’t considered healthy, and can’t easily tap into the influence of social media, making them unappealing to the average younger consumer as a result.
  •  
    Another article in the trade industry periodical and website Restaurant Business, from 2020, discusses the challenges to be faced by buffet offerings post-Covid.
     
    As we said up-front, we unabashedly love buffets and no matter what happens, we will hunt down the best—or prepare them ourself!
    ________________

    *This article was written during the Covid restaurant shut-down, and refers to happier times—with hopes for return to normalcy.

    †There are different levels of “salad bars.” Some may just have salad ingredients. Others expand the concept with cheeses, meats, seafood and more.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bacon Jam For National Bacon Day


    [1] Homemade bacon jam (photo © Grognar | CC BY 2.0 license).


    [2] Ready-to-eat bacon jam from Vino de Milo. You can buy it online (photo © Vino de Milo).


    [3] Brussels sprouts with bacon jam: a hors d’oeuvre, appetizer or side (photo © Pampered Chef).


    [4] Shredded short rib and bacon jam on crostini (photo © Opacity | CC-BY-2.0 License).


    [6] Fancy: St. Andre triple-creme cheese fondue, topped with polenta, topped with bacon jam (photo © Rawrz | CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0-license).


    [7] Chunky homemade bacon jam (photo © Tvol | CC-BY-2.0 License)).


    [8] Bacon comes from the side or belly of the pig. (chart © The Healthy Butcher).

     

    December 30th is National Bacon Day (and if you need to celebrate even more, International Bacon Day is the Saturday before Labor Day).

    We’re celebrating with bacon jam.

    Bacon jam is a sweet and savory condiment that adds a little something extra to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

    Numerous uses for bacon jam follow, as do recipes.

    You don’t have to make it from scratch these days. In the last 10 years, artisan food producers have been selling jars of their own bacon jam recipes.

    Vino de Milo’s Maple Bacon Onion Jam is one such offering, made in small batches with a strong focus on quality.

    With layers of flavor, the recipe is built on a beef base with roasted onions, apples, brown and white sugars, balsamic and cider vinegars, nitrite- and nitrate-free bacon, maple syrup, hickory smoke and a splash of Merlot wine.

    One word: yummy!
     
     
    USES FOR BACON JAM

    One of our favorite uses for bacon jam is for company canapés/crostini*: store-bought chicken liver mousse or paté, topped with store-bought bacon jam.

    We prefer a base of toasted baguette (or for canapés, the narrower ficelle, a skinnier baguette).

    But for an easy-peasy solution, buy some nice crackers. This time around, we simply purchased a box of fig and olive crisps at Trader Joe’s.

  • Breakfast & Brunch: in omelets; a garnish for pancakes and waffles; a spread on biscuits English muffins, toast
  • Cheese Condiment
  • Hors d’Oeuvre: canapés, crostini/bruschetta (the difference), chicken liver mousse bite (per above), deviled egg garnish
  • Plate Condiment: with chicken, fish, pork chops
  • Sandwiches: burgers, grilled cheese, ham, poultry, roast beef
  • Sauces: add to pan sauces or enrich other sauces
  • Surf & Turf: with scallops, grilled or poached fish
  •  
     
    BACON JAM RECIPES

  • Bacon Jam Recipe With Premium Bacon
  • Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Jam
  • Inexpensive Bacon Jam (made with your bacon drippings)
  • Skillet Bacon Jam
  • Stout Donut Holes With Bacon Jam
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF BACON

    How about a shout-out to those ancient Middle Easterners who domesticated† the wild boar as early as 9,000 B.C.E., in the Tigris River basin. (The boar was domesticated independently in Asia.)

    To these brave and hungry hunters and boar-wranglers, we owe ham and bacon—although the modern bacon we know and love wouldn’t appear until the mid-1700s.

    While boar and pig meat were cured from earliest times (smoked, salted and/or dried). But it wasn’t until the early-to-mid-18th century that a transformation began that distinguished “bacon” as the side of pork (the pig’s sides), cured with salt.

    The Word “Bacon”

    The word “bacon” originally referred to all pork. It derived from the Old High German “bacho,” meaning “buttock”—the part we call ham or leg of pork.

  • When the word evolved into the 14th century Old French “bacun,” it referred to all back meat.
  • The 16th century Middle English word “bacoun” referred to all cured pork, not just the back meat.
  • Later came “Canadian bacon” (also known as back bacon and Irish bacon), a very lean and ham-like cut from the loin.
  • In the U.S., bacon came to be cut from the fattier pork belly (and is known as streaky bacon in the U.K., describing the streak of meat in the strips of fat).
  •  
    Bacon Evolves Under English Farmers

    Numerous food historians credit pig farmers in the English countryside for noticing that some breeds of pig had meatier sides.

    The British system for making bacon became widespread in the 18th century, and spread to other parts of Europe.

    As mentioned earlier, by the 1700s in England, bacon was defined as meat cut from the side of the pig and cured with salt.

    According to The Oxford Companion To Food, the first large-scale bacon curing business was established in the 1770s in the county of Wiltshire, in south-central England, by one John Harris.

    According to some accounts of the history of bacon, John Harris of Wiltshire set up one of the first bacon curing shops in the country. The place has certainly become known for its production of bacon.

    In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Asian pigs were introduced to Europe, and crossbred to create breeds with qualities that made them better as bacon pigs, lard pigs, ham pigs and so forth.

    Today there are more than 70 breeds in commercial production worldwide.

    Some English bacon terminology:

  • If you come across the word gammon in books or films from the U.K., it refers to the entire side of bacon.
  • A rasher is a thin slice of bacon or ham for frying or broiling or a portion of three or four slices.
     
    FOOD TRIVIA: The phrase “bringing home the bacon” purportedly originated in the 12th century, when a church in the English town of Dunmow, an ancient market town in the southeast England county of Essex, offered a side of bacon to any married man who could swear before the congregation and God that he had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day.

    You can interpret this as a sexist contest, since wives were deemed to be so quarrelsome that only a man with the patience of a saint (or a deaf ear) could hope to win the challenge.

  •  
    ________________

    * A canapé is a type of hors d’oeuvre, a category of small, single-bite food. It is traditionally a small piece of bread with a topping. Crostini, made of a topping on toasted bread, can be considered a canapé if the bread is small; i.e., one bite rather than a larger piece of bread.

    †Because pigs will not allow themselves to be herded like goats and sheep, they were part of agricultural settlements rather than the herds of nomadic peoples.

      

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    RECIPE: Luscious Steak Tartare

    We love steak tartare and order it whenever we find it on the menu.

    We “collect” photos of creative steak tartare platings, and do our best to recreate them at home.

    This one (photo #1—we’re making it for New Year’s Eve) is from New York chef David Shim, of Michelin-starred Cote, a Korean steakhouse.

    His tongue-in-cheek name for the dish, Steak & Eggs, pays homage to the caviar eggs on top of the tartare.

    The recipe is part of a dish swap that saw eight restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles swap their favorite creations, sending a taste of their signature dishes to the opposite coast.

    The series also supports Relief Opportunities for all Restaurants (ROAR), an organization providing direct assistance to restaurant workers, the charity partner of San Pellegrino’s “Destination Dining Series: An East Coast, West Coast Signature Dish Swap.”
     
     
    RECIPE: STEAK & EGGS, AN INNOVATIVE STEAK TARTARE

    This is a recipe for an experienced cook. You will need good knife skills to brunoise the beef. If you need to brush up, here’s a video on how to brunoise. Remember to sharpen your knives!

    You’ll need ring molds to shape the portions of tartare.

    If your budget doesn’t allow for sturgeon caviar, use any of the affordable caviars, from salmon, trout or whitefish to these additional affordable caviar types.

    This is a real treat, so happy eating!

    Ingredients For The Steak Tartare (Per Serving)

    These portions are meant to be small appetizers—just a bite of a first course, with other equally scrumptious courses to follow.

  • 17g beef tenderloin, trimmed and brunoise
  • 1.5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10g caviar
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chives, finely chopped/minced
  • Ice
  •  
    Ingredients For The Toast (Per Serving)

  • 1 loaf of brioche or milk bread
  • Butter, room temperature
  •  
    Preparation For The Steak Tartare

    1. PREPARE two small mixing bowls of similar size: one to mix the steak and one bowl to hold ice water. Have one mixing bowl filled with half ice and half water to make a proper ice bath. Put the empty mixing bowl on the ice bath.

    2. BRUNOISE the tenderloin; place the beef in the mixing bowl and coat it with extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place a 1.75-inch diameter ring mold/cutter into the serving bowl and fill it with the seasoned tenderloin. While filling the mold, gently press the meat down to make a firm and even base.

    3. SPRINKLE chives on top of the meat and remove the portion from the mold, onto the individual serving dish.

    4. QUENELLE the caviar and place it on top of the tartare. (A quenelle is an ovoid (egg) shape, made with two spoons. Here’s a video.)

    Preparation For The Toast

    1. PREHEAT a convection oven to 375°F.

    2. SLICE the loaf of bread into 1/2-inch slices. Cut the sliced bread into smaller sticks (fingers), to 3/4-inch width x 3-inches in length.

    3. LINE a sheet tray with parchment paper and place the bread fingers on it. You can temper the butter for a smoother spread (it should be like mayonnaise consistency). We whisked it until it was mayo-like.

    4. SPREAD ½ tablespoon of butter on each side of the bread and toast it in until it becomes golden brown. You will need 4 fingers of toast for each serving of tartare (photo #1).

    5. PLATE with the tartare or serve on a separate plate, basket, etc.
     
     
    > STEAK TARTARE HISTORY

     


    [1] The “Steak & Eggs” interpretation of steak tartare by Chef David Shim (photo © Cote Restaurant | NYC).


    [2] Another fancy way to serve Steak Tartare, from D & D London (photo © D & D London).


    [3] Some chefs prefer to serve steak tartare with potato chips instead of toast (photo © STK Steakhouse).


    [4] Chef Charlie Palmer takes a tuile to new heights (photo © Aureole | Las Vegas).

     
     
    MORE TARTARE RECIPES

    While tartare was a beef dish for most of its life, creative chefs have taken the concept further.

    A few recipes we’ve tried:

  • Carrot Tartare
  • Easy Tuna & Steak Tartare Recipes
  • Lobster With Beet Tartare
  • Strawberry Beet Tartare
  • Surf & Turf: Raw Scallops & Steak Tartare
  •   

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    RECIPE: Coffee-Date Scones


    [1] Coffee date scones (photos #1 and #4 © Nescafé).



    [2] Scones can be round or triangular. The triangular shape is an old one that comes from cooking scones in a frying pan over the fire, then cutting the cooked circle into pie-shape triangles (photo © King Arthur Baking Company).

    Bowl of Dates
    [3] Dates are among the sweetest fruits in the world, with a concentration of natural sugar. They’re great for baking, snacking, in green and chicken salads, on oatmeal and much more; and can be substituted for raisins, dates and other dried fruits (photo © Bard Valley Natural Delights).


    [4] Nescafe Taster’s Choice coffee granules. Here’s the difference between coffee granules and instant coffee.

     

    We made these Nescafé Coffee-Date Scones (photo #1) for brunch this weekend, served warm with optional butter and jam.

    Not surprisingly, they go great with coffee!

    Substitutions & Additions:

  • For the dates: raisins or other dried fruits (apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, etc.)
  • For the granulated sugar: raw sugar (demerara, turbinado—the difference types of sugar). Raw sugar provides more of a crunch.
  • Extras: Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped pecans or chocolate chips. Or, substitute chocolate chips for all of the dried fruit, for a mocha chip scone.
  •  
     
    RECIPE: COFFEE-DATE SCONES

    Prep time is 12 minutes, cook time is 10-12 minutes.

    Ingredients For 10 Scones

  • 1/2 cup Carnation® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Nescafé Taster’s Choice House Blend 100% Pure Instant Coffee Granules
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1 tablespoon raw or granulated sugar
  • For serving: butter and/or jam
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

    2. COMBINE the evaporated milk and coffee granules in small bowl; stir until the coffee is dissolved.

    3. COMBINE the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Cut in the butter with pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the coffee mixture, dates and vanilla extract until the mixture forms a soft dough.

    4. KNEAD 5 to 7 times on a lightly floured surface. Gently pat or roll into a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter and place on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the tops.

    5. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
     
     
    MORE SCONE RECIPES

  • Cranberry Scones
  • Lavender Scones
  • Sundried Tomato Scones
  •  
     
    > THE HISTORY OF SCONES
     
    >MORE USES FOR INSTANT COFFEE
     
    > THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INSTANT COFFEE & COFFEE GRANULES
     
     
    DATE TRIVIA

    One of the first fruits domesticated in the Middle East (around 5000 B.C.E.), dates are now grown in the Bard Valley of Southern California.

    Like apricots, cherries, olives, peaches, plums and others, dates are a stone fruit, with a large pit in the middle.

    Called “natures’s candy,” dates are naturally fat-free, packed with nutrients and an excellent source of quick energy.

    Dates are high in potassium and fiber, supplying 24% of your daily recommended fiber in just one serving (about 6 dates).

    Middle Easterners use dates in omelets for breakfast, and in sauces for veal or lamb.

    Larger varieties ike the Medjool can be stuffed with cheeses, nuts or even peanut butter.

    They’re great for baking, snacking, in green and chicken salads, on oatmeal, in stuffings, smoothies, and made into chutney. They can be substituted for raisins, dates and other dried fruits in any recipe.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Spiced Chocolate Eggnog

    New Year’s Eve means Champagne in our house, but it also means eggnog (or if you prefer, egg nog).

    We’ve made quite a few different recipes over the years. Some are linked below, including a low-calorie option.

    This year, we’re looking forward to this spiced chocolate eggnog recipe from American Heritage Chocolate.

    The recipe uses American Heritage Chocolate’s Finely Grated Baking Chocolate, which is the equivalent of grating a 57% cacao chocolate bar and adding anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and red pepper (chile pepper).

    To that, the recipe adds additional cinnamon and nutmeg, with optional cayenne as a garnish.
     
     
    RECIPE: SPICED CHOCOLATE EGGNOG

    Prep time is 25 minutes. You can then serve the eggnog hot or cold.

    Served cold in an Old Fashioned glass, it’s like an alcoholic shake.

    Can you add a scoop of chocolate ice cream? Sure!

    Ingredients For 6 Cups

  • ⅓ cup Finely Grated Baking Chocolate
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: ⅔ cup brandy or rum
  • ⅔ cups heavy cream, whipped
  • Freshly-grated nutmeg
  • Garnish: whipped cream
  • Optional garnish: ground cayenne pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the milk, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

    2. WHISK in a separate bowl, the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of hot milk mixture to temper.

    3. RETURN the saucepan with the hot milk-sugar mixture to the heat. Whisk the mixture constantly and slowly pour in the tempered yolk mixture. Whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a light simmer. Remove immediately from the heat.

    4. ADD the chocolate and vanilla to the saucepan. Stir until the chocolate melts, and blend. Add the brandy or rum.

    5. REMOVE the cinnamon sticks. Pour the eggnog into mugs or glasses of choice, and top with dollop of whipped cream, a grating of nutmeg and a tiny sprinkle of cayenne. Serve hot or cold.
     

    MORE EGGNOG RECIPES

  • Chocolate Egg Nog Recipe
  • Classic Egg Nog Recipe
  • Coconut Egg Nog
  • Cranberry Egg Nog Recipe
  • Eggnog Martini Recipe
  • Eggnog White Russian Recipe
  • Flaming Egg Nog Recipe
  • Low Calorie Egg Nog Recipes
  • Pumpkin Egg Nog
  •  
     
    > DECEMBER 24TH IS NATIONAL EGGNOG DAY

    > THE HISTORY OF EGGNOG

     


    [1] This Chocolate Spiced Eggnog can be served hot or cold. The cold version, above, is served like a shake (photo © American Heritage Chocolate).


    [2] Classic eggnog in a vintage punch cup (photo © All Whites Egg Whites | Bob Evans).


    [3] Some people like rum in their eggnog, some like bourbon. Some add both (photo © Mount Gay Rum)!


    [4] Pumpkin eggnog adds pumpkin purée for a festive fall drink (photo © Taste Of Home).

     

      

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