Coquito…Easy Eggless Puerto Rican Eggnog

My Grandmother Kenny Mae made eggnog from “scratch”…the old fashioned way. I would watch her separate the eggs, mix the milk and spices in a pan and cook slowly standing by the stove keeping a careful eye on things. She would beat, add, stir, strain, cook and mix some more until a beautifully creamy eggnog was achieved. A tee totaler, there was no rum or bourbon added to her mix! It was served with fluffy egg whites and nutmeg. Laborious and luscious. It took a lot of time to make when time was less encumbered.  There are lots of alternatives, other than  the boxed kind in the dairy aisle, that are quick and easy and still luscious. Coquito, from Puerto Rico, is one such.

My first taste of Coquito was when my friend Miquel Otero gifted me one of his homemade bottles. It was made with coconut milk and spices and just the perfect amount of rum.  There are 100’s of recipes in books and online with as many recipe variations, but they all have two things in common..coconut milk and rum.

It literally takes minutes to gather and combine the ingredients for this recipe.  I pulled various half or almost empty bottles of rums from our mysteriously never ending collection and used what we had on hand. I do think I was a wee bit heavy handed with the rum at first. When tasting, before bottling, I felt a small cozy “buzz” from a couple of sips. Not at all a bad feeling. Coquito can also be made without alcohol. It can be added to glasses when serving if you prefer.

Decant into decorative bottles, add a tag and you are ready to sip and gift! Keep some for yourself of course. Serve plain or over ice and topped with a grating of nutmeg. Salud!

Sources:

Coquito - Easy Eggless Eggnog

Ingredients:

  • 2  cans unsweetened coconut milk (sizes vary, but around 13.66 oz)
  • 2 cans evaporated milk, unsweetened, 12 oz
  • 1 can Dulce de Leche (13.4 oz or close to)
  • 2 cups rum, Optional (It can be optional, but not at our house! Also, dark, light or combo)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (taste and adjust later if you like more cinnamon)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg for garnish (use fresh with a grater preferred, in a pinch use grated nutmeg)

Note on making: You can’t really mess this recipe up…just mix and taste and adjust to your liking. If you want more coconut milk then add it! Do whatever suits your own taste.

Directions:

  1. In a blender mix together all the ingredients except the nutmeg, until very well blended. Dip in mixture with a spoon and taste test. Adjust flavors as needed.
  2. Pour through a fine strainer/sieve.
  3. Serve over ice or without and a grating of nutmeg. You can also decant into bottles with tight fitting lids for gifting. Can be store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks.

Note: Coquito is great to use if making a pound cake or a tres leches cake for the holidays.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling        www.foodonfifth.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Cranberry-Pomegranate Cordial – Gift Giving Made Simple

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You still have time…plenty of time to make this cranberry and pomegranate cordial for gift giving. Ten days and you will be ready to bottle the best gift ever for all your amateur or professional bartender friends. This one can be drunk as is or used to shake-up some very special seasonal cocktails. A sip or two will also make you feel more “cordial”during the often stressful days of December.

One cup of pomegranate seeds (arils) and 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries…..

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…one liter or good vodka, a simple syrup and the peel of one orange are all you will need.

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For 10 days this jar stayed in my pantry with a shake once a day and it was ready to decant and gift. Very yummy, very easy, very pretty.

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Clear seasonal color to sip!

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I really like to “bottle” as  you might have realized from previous blogs. I also like to make libations to bottle. Here are some previous posts that will give you information on how to make Limoncello, Blood-OrangecelloBuddhacello (using the exotic citrus Buddha Hand), or my Pear Infused Vodka among others.

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Cranberry-Pomegranate Cordial

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 1 1/2 cups water
  • 12 ounces of fresh or frozen(thawed) whole cranberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Orange rind strips from one orange
  • 1 liter of good vodka

Directions:

  1. To make the simple syrup bring the sugar & water to a low boil over medium high heat. Stir & turn to low to simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove simple syrup from heat to cool completely.
  2. Put cranberries in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  3. Mix together in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid the cooled simple syrup, 1 liter of vodka, chopped cranberries, pomegranate seeds & orange rind strips. Store in a cool, dark closet or cabinet, shaking daily, for about 10 days.
  4. Strain liquid mixture through a fine sieve & pour cordial into small bottles to give as gifts. Close bottles tightly with metal caps or corks.

To enjoy: Drink chilled or at room temp as an aperitif….or pour into a glass of ice and top with seltzer or Cava for a refreshing cocktail garnished with a slice or orange.

(This recipe is adapted from a Cranberry Cordial recipe by Melissa Clark published in the New York Times.)

Teresa Blackburn       http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com

 

“Crispy Almond Sea Salt Crackers” Holiday Gift Idea / e.a.t. #12

Almond Crackers with Sea Salt

Not your Mother’s saltines! Not that I am not a fan of those familiar square rather salty stacks wrapped in waxed paper. I grew up on them and whenever I am feeling a bit under the weather a few saltines with a bowl of hot soup just makes everything better.

Here is my all-grown-up version of the saltine…”Crispy Almond Sea Salt Crackers” that make a fine gift for any lover of cheese & wine on your list.

  Made with almond meal they are equally delectable with cheeses both soft & smeary or thinly sliced & hard. Get busy…these are good!

Tin of Buttery Almond Crackers

One recipe makes about 4-5 dozen cookies which can be stored for up to one month in airtight containers. Once the dough is made & chilled it is just a matter of rolling & cutting out, baking & packaging….ready to give & share. It is as “easy as that”.

Ingredients:

1 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 1/4  cups white whole wheat flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

2-4 tbsp ice water

Optional: 1 tbsp orange or lemon zest

1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp water beaten together

Crunchy, Flakey Sea Salt such as Maldon or a Black Hawaiian

It is as “easy as this”:

1. In a food processor pulse together the almond meal, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar & salt just until blended. Add in the butter & pulse just until mixture is grainy looking. (this is when you would add the citrus zest if desired)

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2. With the processor running drizzle in the ice water by tablespoons until a dough forms.

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3. Turn dough out onto a work surface & shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic & chill at least 30 minutes before rolling out.  When ready to bake the crackers preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Remove dough from the refrigerator, place on a lightly floured board & knead a few times to soften somewhat before rolling out.

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5. Roll dough out thinly to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters.. Gather up dough scraps & re-roll out thinly, cutting out more crackers until all the dough is used. Place cut out dough on parchment lined baking sheets.

6. Use a fork to press holes in the center of each shape. There really is a reason for this other than aesthetics. The holes allow steam to escape from the dough while baking. This makes for a flat cracker crispy cracker. Brush each lightly with the egg-water glaze & sprinkle sea salt lightly over all. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown & crispy.

Cut out Cracker Shapes

Buttery Almond Crackers with Sea Salt

7. Let crackers cool completely before storing.

For gift giving stack in decorative boxes or tins, label & add a ribbon. Simple, melt in your mouth buttery deliciousness & as easy as that!

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The Container Store, Target, Michael’s & JoAnn’s all have airtight tins and sturdy boxes made just for edible gifts as well as tons of sites on-line. I also often use brown lunch bags as I like the way they look. Use store-bought or homemade labels. I make mine using card stock & my printer or rubber stamps. Twine, ribbon, old  silk fabric cut into strips all make beautiful ribbons. Just look around your kitchen….cereal boxes covered with paper….coffee tins painted or wrapped with pages from old cooking magazines…so many ways to make a gift special.

Little gallery of gift giving ideas:

Oat boxes & coffee tins
Oat boxes & coffee tins
Cardstock & magazine images collaged labels
Cardstock & magazine images collaged labels
homemade Christmas tree stamp
homemade Christmas tree stamp
Cloth Napkin wrapped candles
Cloth Napkin wrapped candles
Packing material for fragile gifts made by shredding magazines in my shredder
Packing material for fragile gifts made by shredding magazines in my shredder
Tins from The Container Store with see-through top
Tins from The Container Store with see-through top
My favorite rolling letter stamp for making labels
My favorite rolling letter stamp for making labels