Eggnog Ice Cream

So I guess this is how we do winter in Southern California. We wear sweaters when temps dip into the lower 60s, and we string Christmas lights on palm trees. We cut out paper snowflakes and bake snowflake cookies and listen to “White Christmas” on repeat. And we make holiday-inspired ice cream because, after all, it’s still ice cream season here.

I’m heading to Minnesota next week to get my fill of winter, but I thought I’d give this recipe a whirl before heading to the frozen tundra. Oh my, is it delicious. If you like eggnog (and you really have to like eggnog) you will love this take on it. Also, it’s for grownups. Yep, I spiked the ice cream. (SNL might think that Adele is the answer to holiday family squabbles, but I say if that doesn’t work, try a boozy dessert.)

Adding 1/4 cup of alcohol means the ice cream churns up very soft, but don’t fret! Chill the freshly churned ice cream in your freezer for a few hours and it will firm up nicely but still be delightfully scoopable.

One more thing you should know: freshly grated nutmeg is a must here. I got whole nutmeg from Penzey’s and gently rubbed one of the seeds over my microplane grater until I had a teaspoonful. (The phrase, “What is this lovely fragrance?” definitely entered my mind.)

Wishing you all a lovely holiday season! Thanks for indulging me in yet another year of cooking adventures!

Eggnog ice cream

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Eggnog Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream*
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg**
  • 4 Tbs. brandy, dark rum, or bourbon***
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Set aside.

Whisk egg yolks together in a medium bowl.

Whisk the milk, sugar, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture is steamy but not boiling. Carefully pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, a little bit at a time, while whisking constantly.

Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (The mixture should reach 170° F on an instant-read thermometer.) Pour the mixture through the strainer and into the cream. Stir in nutmeg, spirits, and vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator and then churn in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with more freshly grated nutmeg, if desired.

Makes about 1 quart.

Okay, lots of notes here:

* As always, I made this lactose-free by substituting equal amounts of lactose-free half-and-half for both the cream and milk.

** Here’s one of my favorite cooking tips from this recipe: Fold a piece of paper in half, open it, and grate the nutmeg onto the paper. Then refold the paper along the crease to carefully direct the grated nutmeg into your teaspoon.

*** David Lebovitz suggests a mixture of 2 Tbs. brandy and 2 Tbs. dark rum. I did 4 Tbs. bourbon and it was fantastic. Feel free to experiment!

Source: Slightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop.

Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

I blinked, and just like that, it’s December and the holidays are in full swing. My family packs a ton of holidays into these five weeks. Thanksgiving gives way to Hanukkah, which leads into Christmas, which yields to New Year’s Eve. Each of those holidays seems to revolve around delicious but rich food, be it gravy, latkes, or endless amounts of cookies. (I myself have baked four dozen cookies just in the last two days.)

As much as I love all this holiday food, it’s nice to sneak in some healthier options for everyday meals. These brown rice bowls have quickly become a favorite in my household. Even though they feature simple brown rice (duh) and roasted vegetables, they are totally crave-worthy. The nutty, chewy rice contrasts with a zingy vinaigrette, and soft roasted carrots are complemented by shatteringly crisp kale.  Adding a fried egg on top takes it to the next level, as the runny yolk becomes a lovely, rich sauce all on its own. Are you hungry yet?

The only tricky part of this recipe might be tracking down the za’atar, which is a tangy Middle Eastern spice mixture of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and dried herbs. You can find it at Penzeys or other spice stores. I promise it’s worth it, but if you really can’t find za’atar (or really can’t stand the idea of one more shopping trip) the carrots should be fine with just a sprinkle of dried thyme instead. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

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Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into pieces about three inches long by 1/2-inch thick
  • about 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. za’atar
  • 8 ounces kale, stemmed and sliced into 1-inch thick strips
  • 2 Tbs. red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 small shallot, minced
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375° F with the racks in the upper- and middle-thirds of the oven. Combine boiling water, brown rice, and 3/4 tsp. salt in an 8-inch square baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake on the lower rack until rice is tender, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and let stand for five minutes, covered with a dish towel.

Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. On the baking sheet, toss carrots, 1 Tbs. olive oil, za’atar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Spread carrots out evenly on the sheet and cover tightly with another piece of foil. Bake on the upper oven rack for 20 minutes.

While carrots are roasting, toss kale with 1 Tbs. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper in a bowl. When the carrots have finished roasting for 20 minutes, remove the foil and spread the kale evenly on top of the carrots. Return the baking sheet to the oven, uncovered, and roast the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until the kale is crispy.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and 3 Tbs. oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Evenly divide the rice into four bowls. Top the rice with roasted vegetables and drizzle each portion with a tablespoon or so of the vinaigrette. Cover the bowls to keep them warm while you fry the eggs.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat it until shimmers. Carefully slide the eggs into the skillet, cover, and cook until your desired doneness is reached, about 2-4 minutes. Top each rice bowl with a fried egg, and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

Caramel Apple Tart

Okay, I promised you a recipe that uses that homemade caramel sauce I wrote about, and then I teased you all mercilessly by giving you a salad instead. My bad. So here’s the dessert you’ve been waiting for. Because despite the evergreen boughs and chocolate advent calendars that are popping up around here– not to mention the cloyingly cheerful rendition of “Sleigh Ride” that made me stomp out of a clothing store in disgust yesterday– it is still technically fall. And this caramel apple tart would be happy to sit close to the center of your Thanksgiving dessert table. (No matter what, pumpkin pie gets the starring role. Tradition.)

This dessert features my new favorite tart crust: a super simple, no rolling necessary, easy-breezy-in-the-food-processor crust from America’s Test Kitchen. (This crust is also delightful for savory dishes by taking out the sugar and using whole wheat pastry flour.) Cover the pre-baked crust with a layer of tart apples, then a crumbly oatmeal streusel topping, and finish it off with a drizzle of that delectable caramel. Lo and behold, you get something that looks fancy but doesn’t require you to break a sweat. So you can save that energy for wrestling your Thanksgiving turkey, and then relax by gobble gobbling this dessert right up.

Caramel apple tart

Caramel apple tart

Caramel apple tart

Caramel apple tart

Caramel apple tart

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Caramel Apple Tart

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, chilled and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbs. ice water

Filling

  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 lb. granny smith apples (about 2-3 large or 4-5 small)

Topping

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • homemade or store-bought caramel sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Make the tart crust: Add flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until well-combined. Add butter and pulse about 15 times, until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Add ice water and pulse again for a few seconds, until the mixture comes together and no longer looks powdery.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan with walnut-sized balls of the tart dough. Use your hand to gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, filling in any cracks and smoothing it as best you can. Press your thumb against the top of the pan to even out the top of the crust. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and smooth it out one more time. Place tart pan on a plate and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, until solid.

Remove the tart pan from the freezer and place it on a baking sheet. Cover the crust with a double layer of aluminum foil, and place dried beans or pie weights on top of the foil. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.  Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Peel and core the apples and evenly slice them, about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. Toss them in the bowl with the flour mixture until they’re evenly coated. Layer them evenly in the pre-baked tart shell.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and well-combined.

Assemble the tart: Evenly sprinkle the oat topping over the tart. Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Let cool at room temperature, then drizzle some caramel sauce over the whole thing. Slice and serve.

Store tart in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.

Serves 8-12.

Source: Tart crust from America’s Test Kitchen. Filling and topping from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

The calendar says it’s fall, but I’m quickly realizing that plays out a lot differently in Southern California. Growing up in Minnesota, I was always sad to see fall arrive. Sure, September and October brought a few gorgeous weeks of shockingly bright maple trees, fresh apple cider, and haunted corn mazes, but they flew by way too quickly. I was always sad to put away my summery dresses and haul out the scarves.

Oh how quickly things have changed. I understand this is the equivalent of complaining about first world problems, but this is the first year I’ve lived in LA and I miss fall! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to live in a place that doesn’t have winter, but could we dial down the regional thermostat juuuuust a little bit please? I’m very confused by 80° temps alongside pumpkin spice lattes, and I’m sick and tired of my summer clothes.

Okay, I promise I’m done now. And instead of complaining too much, I’ve been bringing autumn into my life through food. I’ve been busy making things like butternut squash soup, pumpkin gnocchi, and homemade candy corn. I made refrigerator pickles, and then I canned 2 1/2 pounds of green beans as if fresh veggies would never be in season again. After that, I covered the apartment with mini gourds. Autumn has arrived!

Another seasonally-inspired dish I whipped up recently was this delicious kale salad. It’s strikingly beautiful (can you say that about a salad?) with autumnal colors of deep green, purple, and orange. Candied pecans and roasted sweet potatoes nicely offset the bitterness of the radicchio, and the tangy pomegranate vinaigrette makes the whole dish crave-worthy. (Note: if your grocery store doesn’t carry pomegranate molasses you can easily find it online.) No matter what fall looks like in your part of the country, I suggest you make this salad soon!

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Salad

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces Lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1/2 head radicchio, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup candied pecans
  • shaved parmesan cheese

Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400° F. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, place kale in a large bowl and massage it for about a minute, squeezing with your hands until the leaves slightly wilt and soften. Don’t be afraid to be rough with it; the kale needs help to become nice and tender. Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together water, pomegranate molasses, honey, vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil, taste the dressing, and add more salt or pepper if desired.

Add radicchio and sweet potatoes to the bowl with the kale and toss until combined. Add dressing to taste and toss until the salad is evenly coated. Top with candied pecans and shaved parmesan, and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

Salted Caramel Sauce

Welcome to the 200th post on Lingonberry Jam! Although I’m just a hobbyist who’s nowhere near the 1000 posts of my favorite food blogger, it’s still fun to take a moment to reflect on these past few years and how my blog has evolved. Indulge me for a moment as I get all infographic crazy.

Lingonberry Jam Infographic

A few takeaways:

  • People like posts with hyphens in them. Oh, and being on Buzzfeed helps.
  • I wonder how many people are looking for my blog, and how many are just hoping to learn about those tart Swedish preserves they sell at Ikea.
  • My mom rocks. :)

As my 200th post neared, I found myself wondering what recipe I should post to mark the momentous occasion. Perhaps that homemade nutella that I still haven’t quite gotten right? Or a fancy dancy homemade cheese? How about a celebratory cake?

In the end, I decided to go for something simple and versatile: salted caramel sauce. It’s a recipe I’ve made many, many times. It’s something that any dessert lover should learn to master. It’s SO much better than buying caramel topping from the grocery store. And it can be made with a few ingredients you probably already have on hand.

It’s a winner.

Soon I’ll share a fantastic dessert that I topped with this sauce, but for now just enjoy this on ice cream, brownies, apple slices, or by the spoonful (guilty). And thank you SO much for following along with all my cooking adventures!

Salted caramel sauce

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Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbs. butter, cut into six pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher flake salt

In a small saucepan with tall sides, heat sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula or whisk as the sugar melts. The sugar will clump up and then start to liquify and turn a dark amber color. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

When the sugar is completely melted, add the butter, stirring constantly. The mixture will become quite bubbly, so be careful. When the butter is completely melted, slowly stir in the heavy whipping cream. Again, the caramel will bubble up angrily. Boil the mixture for one minute, then remove from heat and stir in the salt.

Let cool, and transfer to an airtight container. Caramel will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. (If it becomes too thick to stir after refrigeration, reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds before using. You might want to store it in a microwave-safe container just in case.)

Makes about 1 cup.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Homemade Celery Salt

One of the best things I did while living in Minneapolis was join a CSA, or community supported agriculture program. I loved walking down the street to my neighborhood coffee shop each week and picking up a big box of amazingly fresh organic veggies from a local farm. I eagerly looked forward to the e-mail explaining what would be delivered each week and had fun trying new ways to eat my vegetables.

When we got settled here in LA, I immediately started looking up similar programs. We have a fantastic farmer’s market in our neighborhood every Sunday, but the sheer amount of choices were honestly a bit overwhelming. I would gravitate toward avocados and berries and almost never buy any greens. (Guilty.) So I did some research and joined a local CSA a couple months ago. I love supporting SavRaw* because I get all sorts of fun and interesting produce– summer squash shaped like stars!– and I also get to support local schools as well as sustainable farmers.

So every Sunday, we get a box full of six different veggies and two pounds of fruit delivered right to our door. Usually I’m pretty happy with the choices, but I do let out a groan when I see a huge bunch of celery poking out of the box. Not my favorite vegetable, but I don’t want it to go to waste. I’ll usually slice it up and eat it with hummus, or dice it and throw it in the freezer for winter soups.

One week, I decided to actually do something with the celery leaves themselves: homemade celery salt! Believe it or not, this was super easy and one of those “Why didn’t I think of that before?” projects. The volume can vary, but the leaves of one bunch of celery made about 1/4 cup of celery salt for me. It’s really fresh tasting, perfect for perking up tuna salad or sprinkling on hardboiled eggs. Of course, I still had to eat the stalks themselves, but luckily I had a fresh batch of hummus to help me with that.

* Disclaimer: This post was in no way sponsored by SavRaw. I just love my CSA!

Homemade celery salt

Homemade celery salt

Homemade celery salt

Homemade Celery Salt

  • fresh celery leaves from one bunch of celery
  • flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 300° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pick the celery leaves off the individual stalks and place them in a colander. Rinse the leaves under cold running water and then dry them in a salad spinner or by gently blotting them with paper towels.

Arrange the leaves on the baking sheet in a single layer (use a second sheet if you have to). Bake for 7-12 minutes, watching closely. You want the leaves to dry out completely but not turn brown. Remove baking sheet from oven and let leaves cool completely. They should be very dry and crispy. (If any of the leaves are still soft or wet, you can bake them again in two-minute increments until they’re dry.)

Using a food processor, mortar and pestle, or simply your fingers, crumble the celery leaves until they’re about the same size as the flakes of salt you’re using. Pour the ground leaves into a measuring cup to see how much volume you have, then add the same volume of salt. Stir until well combined. Store in an airtight container.

Yield will vary.

Source: Sassy Kitchen

Crunchy Nuts & Seeds Granola

When Gabe and I were recently in London, we were lucky to be able to stay with his older brother and sister-in-law. Aside from the awesome company, one of the major perks of staying with them was that we didn’t have to scrounge around for breakfast each morning. They provided quite a spread of coffee, fruit, cereal, pastries, bread, yogurt, granola, and apricot preserves that I’m still dreaming about.

I quickly grew obsessed with the granola, a savory mixture of oats, nuts, and seeds. The thing I loved most was its delightful crispy crunchiness, which contrasted well with creamy yogurt and sweet fruit. I snapped a photo of the ingredient list on the back of the bag so I could try to recreate it once we got home.

Crunchy nuts and seeds granola

Of course, things in England are a wee bit different from the United States. Despite sharing a language with the mother country, the different names for certain foods left us scratching our heads at times during our visit. We quickly learned that aubergine is eggplant, courgette is zucchini, and yoghurt is… yogurt.

So when we got home and I set out to make this granola, I had to google a few things. Turns out black treacle is molasses and linseeds are flaxseeds. Once my translations were complete, I set to work.

This granola has a number of different components, but it comes together easily and less expensively if you shop the bulk foods section of the grocery store, buying just the amount of nuts and seeds you need. Although the original recipe called for hazelnuts, cashews, and pistachios, I think you can get by with just one of the three, or sub in another nut of your choosing. Coconut oil and a fairly long baking time made the granola nice and crispy, adding a delightful crunch to my mornings now that I’m stateside again!

Crunchy nuts & seeds granola

Crunchy nuts & seeds granola

Crunchy Nuts & Seeds Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut (shredded, flakes, whatever)
  • 1 cup whole nuts of your choice (I recommend hazelnuts, cashews, or pistachios)*
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden flaxseeds
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. molasses

Preheat oven to 300° F. In a large bowl, stir together oats. almonds, wheat germ, coconut, nuts, seeds, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, stir together coconut oil, water, honey and molasses. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir well, until the oat mixture is completely moistened.

Pour the oat mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the granola is browned and crunchy. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 9 cups granola.

* Make sure all the nuts and seeds you buy for this recipe are unsalted, otherwise you will have a very salty granola!

Source: A Lingonberry Jam original.