Entertaining

Mimosa Popsicles

image

Mimosas are essential for any brunch spread, and the last heatwave inspired me to make mimosa Popsicles!  I decided to use small disposable plastic cups and they worked out perfectly. I filled them about 1/3 of the way (about one inch) with Champagne. I froze them for two hours and then situated the Popsicle sticks in. I then poured about an inch of orange juice (1/3 cup) and frozen them for another 3 hours.

imageUnmolding the frozen Popsicles was extremely easy--they came right out. I recommend unmolding them within 24 hours and then storing them in the freezer in an airtight container with small pieces of wax paper or parchment paper between them.

image

A fun and drip-free way to serve the Popsicles is to put them in a glass of Champagne of a mimosa "Poptail."

Mimosa Poptail

Happy Summer brunching everyone!

image image

Whiskey-Spiked Eggnog

  Homemade Spiked EggnogIf your only experience with eggnog is the store-bought stuff, you're missing out!  Making fresh eggnog is fairly simple. There are only five ingredients--eggs, sugar, milk, cream and nutmeg. The whiskey is of course optional ;)

Day 23: Whiskey-Spiked Eggnog

Difficulty: Piece of Cake!

Eggnog is somewhat of a family tradition that got lost for several decades. Eggnog was a specialty of my grandmother Leona, who is now 98 years old, so my mother grew up drinking eggnog. But by the time the 1990s rolled around, eggnog disappeared from the family holiday spread.

So, in an attempt to revive this lost family tradition, I decided to make a very traditional eggnog recipe. It is rather simple and a fun holiday project to liven a holiday party or Christmas dinner. This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown.

spiked eggnog

Whiskey-Spiked Eggnog
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs, separated (4 egg yolks + 4 egg whites)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow. Slowly add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually pour the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly (If you don't whisk it, the milk will cook the eggs and you'll have scrambled eggs!). Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the whiskey and pour into a pitcher. Place pitcher in the refrigerator and allow it to cool completely.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled eggnog mixture and serve.

 

Smoked Cheddar Cheese Ball with Horseradish

$RULCB73

I’m sharing this savory treat for Day 8 of the 25 days of Advent. The smokiness of the cheddar, combined with the potency of horseradish offers a sharp contrast to the other cheeses on your holiday cheeseboard. This pungent appetizer is also very simple to make.

Day 8: Smoked Cheddar Cheese Ball with Horseradish and Walnuts

Difficulty: Piece of cake!  This recipe was adapted from Southern Living. The key to success is making sure your cheese is very finely shredded. I bought a block of cheese and used my grater with the smallest holes. Also, make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature. That way, everything will easily mix together. Of course, having an electric mixer certainly helps.

Grating Smoked Seaside Cheddar

Smoked Cheddar Cheese Ball with Horseradish
Author: Vallery
Serves: 8 servings
Adapted from Southern Living Dec. 2015 issue.
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Vigorously mix the first seven ingredients together in a medium bowl until they are well combined. (I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment). Refrigerate the mixture for five minutes.
  2. Roll the mixture into a ball. Place the chopped walnuts onto a flat work surface. Then, carefully roll the ball into the walnuts until the cheese is coated with the chopped walnuts. Serve with wheat crackers.

 

Champagne Party: Best of the Bubbly

I had this wonderful idea to have a Champagne Party.  Everyone brought their favorite bottle, and took notes and voted on which they liked best. Here are the long-awaited results from the Bubbles tasting party!

The Crowd Pleaser: D'Aquino's "Asti Spumante"

This light, delicate, sweet sparkling wine is made entirely from Muscat grapes.  Due to its lightness and sweetness, this Italian sparkling wine is a real crowd pleaser.  Its alcohol content is low (7.5%) compared to other sparkling wines (~13%), making this an excellent wine to serve to guests who need to drive home!   D'Aquino Asti Spumante.
Where to Find It: Trader Joe's
How Much it Costs: $5.99
The Winner: Il Conte d'Alba Moscato d'Asti
This sweet Italian wine was the winner from the blind tasting at the Bubbles Party.  Though it is not a true sparkling wine, it is delightfully light.  This wine also has a relatively low alcohol content (5.5%), making it a great wine to serve to guests.  This wine pairs great with fresh fruit or fruit tarts.  It is also made from Muscat grapes.
Where to Find It: Beverages and More
How Much it Costs: $11.99
The Critic's Choice: Domaine Chandon Rosé
This is one of my personal favorites.  There is a wonderful balance of lightness and crispness with sophistication.  Also, this wine is made right here in California.  It is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes.  Just make sure to sip slowly--this wine has a 13% alcohol content.
Where to Find It: Most grocery stores; Beverages and More; Domaine Chandon Winery in Yountsville, CA
How Much it Costs: $17.99 (Bevmo); $22 (Domaine Chandon Winery).
This was just a small sample of some of the wonderful wines we got to taste as the Bubbles event.  If you brought a wine that I did not list here, please list it under the comments!  Most of the bottles were thrown away before I was able to take notes on their labels.