Monday, December 31, 2007

Easy Eggnog (non-alcoholic) ... and A Few Words About Eggs

This eggnog is so easy my two-year-old made it (with some help from Mommy, of course). Now it's one of his favorite things to make, and we'll probably be drinking eggnog well into the spring (Oy!). It isn't the uber sweet super goopy stuff from the supermarket, instead it has a thinner viscosity and tastes so good my son drinks it up enthusiastically. I recommend using the highest quality ingredients you have because the recipe is very simple and every ingredient will shine -- especially the quality of eggs, vanilla and cinnamon used. If you are concerned about ingesting raw eggs, see my note about eggs at the end. Happy holidays and enjoy!

Easy Eggnog
2-3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3 TBS sugar (I used confectioners)
pinch of allspice & cinnamon (more or less to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract (more or less to taste, use the real deal)

1. In a blender, or with a mixer, beat eggs and heavy cream with 1 TBS sugar until thick and foamy. Add spices, remaining sugar and milk and mix until incorporated.

2. Serve chilled, spoon foam over the top (or whipped cream) and sprinkle with cinnamon (or something fun like colored sprinkles).

3. Cover and refrigerate leftovers and use for French Toast later! MMMMMMM.

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A Few Words About Eggs

Disclaimer: This recipe uses raw eggs, so it does increase the risk of food borne contaminants being consumed and probably shouldn't be eaten by people with weakened or compromised immune systems, just to be safe.

However, with that disclaimer out of the way, I want you to know that I deliberately used cage free eggs because the chance of contamination is dramatically decreased compared hen house battery cage collected eggs. I support and encourage you to use cage free eggs (versus free range which can mean virtually nothing more than an open door at a commercial hen house), and to seek locally harvested, cage free eggs in your area markets or just in your neck of the woods.

You might be surprised how common and close your chicken neighbors are! Chicks in the City is a wildly popular class held quarterly at Oakhurst Community Garden here in Atlanta, smack in the middle of the city. People with inner-city chickens usually have more eggs than they know what to do with!

Fresh eggs taste better, have lab proven higher nutritional value, and make baking with eggs a sheer delight (also make for some CRAZY yellow scrambled eggs). For studies that show why grass-fed eggs, meat and dairy are more nutritious visit, a site that posts lots of easily "digestable" charts and statistics. EatWild states:
Meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals are ideal for your health. Compared with commercial products, they offer you more "good" fats, and fewer "bad" fats. They are richer in antioxidants; including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Furthermore, they do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.

In a recent study, one group of chickens was confined indoors (the conventional system) and another was allowed to free-range. Both groups were fed the same commercial mixed diet. The chickens that were able to add grass to the menu produced eggs that that were higher in omega-3s and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E.) Both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E have been linked with lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease in humans. (Lopez-Bote et al, "Effect of free-range feeding on omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol content and oxidative stability of eggs." Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1998. 72:33-40.)

...And for more good reading about that stuff we put in our mouths which we casually call "food" read The Omnivoire's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (or anything he's written actually.) Pollan's style makes for an easy read through what could be labourious and technical territory, and his first person research into the industries of foodstuffs allows the layperson to go where they could not tread otherwise. Intelligent and witty, Pollan's writing simultaneously provides the shocking education of a researcher and journalist with the subtle techniques of an artist and gourmand. His love of food is apparent. My kind of guy.