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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome December; Let's Celebrate

If you take a peek to the left over there, you will notice the pickins' are slim for national food celebrations for the month of December. Quite frankly, I for one, am delighted. What we may be missing in monthly celebrations, we'll surely make up for weekly and daily. However, we'll get to those later.

Egg Nog Month

That's right "kiddies" December is National EggNog Month! (forgive the dual spelling, after all these years, you would think I would know how to spell egg nog, or is it eggnog?) If you think the spelling is blurry, the history of egg nog is even more obscure! Here's one explanation from the folks at Pillsbury.

"Nog is an old English word for a strong ale. Since eggs were an important part of the creamy ale punch, the rum-laced drink became known as eggnog." Pillsbury Easiest Ever Holiday Entertaining ©1994

Makes sense to me:) I've never been a big fan of drinking eggnog. Despite my aversion, I find baking with store bought eggnog palatable. Take this Banana Eggnog Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce for instance. I have a friend who "flips" at the ease of this recipe:)

Pudding:
1-1 pound loaf raisin bread, cut into cubes
2 medium bananas
3-1/2 cups store bought eggnog
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Rum Sauce:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tbs. butter
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Directions:
Heat oven 350°F
Butter 13x9-inch (3 quart) baking dish.
Place half of the bread cubes in buttered baking dish. top with banana slices and remain bread cubes.
In large bowl, combine eggnog, eggs, sugar, and nutmeg; blend well.
Pour over bread cubes. Let stand 5 minutes.
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Rum Sauce:
In a small saucepan combine all sauce ingredients except rum extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes stirring onstantly. Stir in rum extract. Serve warm sauce over pudding. 12 servings. Pillsbury Holiday Baking & Gifts ©1995
"In the 1820's Pierce Egan, a period author, wrote a book called "Life of London or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom". To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called "Tom and Jerry". It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe (fortifying it considerably and adding further to its popularity). (source)

Fruitcake Month

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that December is National Fruitcake Month. (or is that fruit cake:) Okay, so beat me with a wet noodle, I don't care for fruitcake either. Apparently, Martha Washington, wife of George Washington, used 40 eggs and 5 pounds of fruit in her "Great Cake." Not quite like Martha's, here's a recipe for Mini Fruitcakes from Ideal's Christmas Kitchen Cookbook.

Mini Fruitcakes

National Pear Month

And a partridge in a Pear tree...National Pear Month is new to me. I just learned of it a couple of months ago. Don't laugh, but, I'm not a huge fan of pears either. (I just want you to know I'm giggling to myself as I type this:) Why oh why is she sharing these food celebrations when she is so darn picky, lol...However, I LOVE cooked pears!!! Go figure! (I feel the same way about blueberries btw LOVE them cooked in goodies, fresh and juicy, not so much) Very strange since I don't consider myself a fussy eater. Although, you sure couldn't tell by this post, lol...On to the Pears!

Now be honest, doesn't this alluring dish of pears look "divine?"


Roasted-Rosemary Gorgonzola Pears
4 un-peeled ripe firm pears, cut in half lengthwise, cored*
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (coarse salt)
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed.
1/3 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions:
1. Heat oven 375°F. Cut thin slice from rounded side of pear halves, if necessary so they'll rest level in pan. In 13x9-inch pan, arrange pear halves, cut sides up. Brush tops of pears with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary.
2. Roast uncovered 35 minutes. Fill cored hollow of each pear half with 2 teaspoons cheese. Roast uncovered 10-15 minutes longer or until pears are tender and cheese soft. Sprinkle with walnuts.Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.
*a melon baller or the tip of a teaspoon works well to core the pears. Be sure to make the hollow large enough to hold 2 teaspoons of cheese. Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook ©2006

You may have noticed that I skipped right over Made in America Month. I'm working on a special post for that celebration and hopefully, good Lord willing and the creek don't freeze, it will be done before the end of the month. We'll see...

Meet Aunt Chick. Actually, that's her pen name. Her real name was Nettie Williams McBirney and, she was the "Martha Stewart" of her day. Mrs. McBirney was quite the woman! Not only did she host a home makers radio show for many years, she also wrote cookbooks and invented a few innovative kitchen aids during the depression. One of her most famous was a cookie cutter designed to easily release molded cookie dough so it could maintain its 3-D appearance. She began selling them in 1948 and they were an immediate success. They are also highly prized by collectors. I'll be posting more about Aunt Chick on Sunday for National Cookie Day and, since the first week of December is National Cookie Cutter Week, it may just be the perfect day to drag out those rolling pins!

Before I forget, today is Eat A Red Apple Day. And, tomorrow is National Fritters Day. Stay tuned for Cookie Day on Sunday!!! If you really must know more days of celebrations in December, check out Lisa Loves Holidays! You'll be delighted:)

Resources
1. Brief Eggnog History
2. Cookie Cutters & Aunt Chick (this link is one of the first post I ever did. Be that as it may, you may enjoy the Ginger Snap Rhyming Recipe. It's cute:)

28 comments:

  1. Eggnog is a food group in our house from the moment it appears in the stores until it disappears!

    I love your history tidbits. Who knew that Martha wasn't such a trailblazer after all... ;)

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  2. Good gosh those roasted pears look good. I wonder how they taste. I need to try this, it looks so beautiful.

    I'm with you Louise... I do not like fruit cake at all. I have terrible memories of Mother baking them over and over and over and over at Christmas. Beautiful to look at but terrible to eat. But, she loved them. Go-figure.

    Eggnog: Yummie! Now I do love eggnog. When I lived in Georgia my neighbor made homemade eggnog every Christmas. One year I helped her crack 80 eggs for her nog. I though that stuff would never get finished.

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  3. First time I hear the word Eggnog. I ll check right away what it is. feel so uneducated. *blush* How it comes the celebration are so narrow in december? shouldnt there be something like orange month(St.Nicholas day) or christmas cookie month. ;)

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  4. December is another delicious month! Got to exercise more to get rid of all the extra calories, so that I can eat some more! :)

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  5. My favorite eggnog was made by the dad of my college roommate. It was an orgy of calories, but the best holiday drink ever. I can no longer afford to consume something that rich, but ah, the memories!

    I, too, find the pears quite fetching!

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  6. I'm with you, Louise, I will pass on the eggnog and fruitcake. But pears -- now those are a different story! Have you ever tried pear nectar? It is heavenly. Your pear recipe here looks delish, as well. And tomorrow is National Fritters Day! I just came across a banana fritters recipe last night that looked tasty, and with a box of rapidly aging bananas on my kitchen counter, may just have to give that one a go. Thanks for the great post, as always. I am definitely looking forward to National Cookie Day.

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  7. I agree with you about the eggnog; never been my thing. I do make a white fruitcake with candied cherries and coconut. That pear looks like the perfect startr for a perfect meal. Will be checking back on Suday for Cookie Day.
    Rita

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  8. I'm not a fan of eggnog or fruit cake either but pears I can do. I made a pear and cinnamon cake recently which was divine.

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  9. I love these dear Louise and the post is nice:)I love the fruitcakes:)love eegnog too

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  10. I've never made or had eggnog... Maybe it's time to remedy that situation! I love puddings and fruitcakes. Well, after all I am part English!!!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  11. i always thought eggnog was one word, but what do i know? i love these holiday treats. i often wish eggnog and fruitcake were more prevalent throughout the year!

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  12. The bread pudding looks great! I love anything with rum sauce.

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  13. that roasted rosemary pears looks amazing. Just last week, i saw anna olson making something a bit like this but stuffed that with oats and some crumbles, itch to try that out too!

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  14. I am leaving u an other nibble! =D
    I am warding you Louise with the Liebster Award. Your blog is one of its kind, full of interessting knowledge and posts. I want to support you with this award for your efforts and your cool style. ;)

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  15. It seems it will be a staple in our house this year too. Marion has just informed me to add it to the shopping list. I may just be saving my "portions" for baking. Thanks for visiting, SissySees:)

    I think my problem with fruitcake is that I too have similar memories, Pam. However, I'm thinking it may just be the ingredients I associate with fruitcake and perhaps I should look into different versions. (this epiphany only ocured to me as I was searching through piles of holiday cookbooks for Sunday's post:) As for the eggnog, I hear Southern Eggnog is much better than what I associate eggnog with so, again, I should reconsider:) 80 eggs, I hope someone put those shells to good us, lol...

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  16. I'm so sorry, Helene. I should have explained what eggnog is. Here's a definition from Epicurious
    Eggnog:
    This chilled Christmas beverage consists of a homogeneous blend of milk or cream, beaten eggs, sugar, nutmeg and usually liquor of some kind. Rum was the spirit noted in early references to the drink, but brandy and whiskey are also common additions. I agree Helene. If you remember, we celebrated Cookie Month in October but Cookie Day is December 4th. St. Barbara's Day is also on the 4th and St. Nicholas Day the 6th. I did a post about all the Saints of Christmas a while back. I should probably revive it. Perhaps you have a post in mine for Christmas Saints:) I'd love it if you did!!!

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Helene and the award. It was very sweet of you:)

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  17. That makes a bunch of us, kitchen flavours. Maybe that's why January is National Diet Month, lol...

    Oh Yes! T.W. The calorie intake isn't the only problem when it comes to "real" eggnog. There's so much more to consider "when you get to be my age" and Lipitor is OUT OF THE QUESTION! Those pears on the other hand, are calling my name!!!

    I actually like pear nectar, Lynn. Go figure! I am definitely doing a post for Fritters Day next year. They too need to be revived! Which reminds me, I think a Food Revival List is in order, lol. Cookie Day is going to be FUN!!!

    I came across a White Fruitcake recipe while searching for cutout cookies the other day. And I must say, Rita. it was intriguing. It may be the type of candied cherries that I associate with the cake that turns me off. I am reconsidering, however:) "See" ya Sunday!!!

    Pear and Cinnamon Cake for National Pear Month sounds mighty good baking addict. If you get a chance, do share the link:)

    Thanks Gloria. I LOVE your bread!


    Yes you are, Rosa I haven't seen that British gleam in a while but my oh my, you sure made up for it in that Trifle of yours!!! I too think you should give Egg Nog a try. I'm curious as to know whether you like it or not. I'm going to guess, not...


    You mean your aren't Duckie:)

    I found many people in my travels who also wished eggnog and fruitcake were available year round, Grace. I also found many sites who unanimously agreed "southern" eggnog was to die for...still investigating, lol...

    Rum? Rum Sauce, oh yes, Yummy.

    Oh my, that recipe sounds good too, Lena. I hope you will be sharing:)

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  18. I'm with you, I'm not all that keen on drinking egg nog. Something about the name, maybe. Egg. Nog. Uck. The bread pudding, however, looks amazing, and EASY. I'll be printing this recipe out, that's for sure. Thanks for another tasty and informative post.

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  19. I love store eggnog, hate fruitcake (although the beloved likes it) and enjoy pears. Since we're telling all about our food likes, I thought I'd share, too!

    And I've seen recipes calling for those quantities of eggs. Even I think that's scary!

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  20. Hi again Louise. Just wanted to share the link to my pear and cinnamon yoghurt cake. Enjoy!
    http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.com/2011/11/pear-and-cinnamon-yoghurt-cake.html

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  21. That was so sweet of you, Baking Addict. I'm amazed at how easy that cake is to bake. Just my style!!! Thanks so much for sharing...

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  22. I must have had eggnog as a child and all I know is that I think, I don't like it. It is too long to really know, if that is still true.

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  23. I think Americans must make horrible fruitcake (although my favourite recipe is a Southern American one) because nearly all Americans seem to hate it whereas the majority of British and Australians seem to love it!

    I am quite happy to take over your fruitcake, eggnog and pears!

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  24. My daughter, studying in Scotland, was so dismayed that she couldn't find eggnog in the stores (except perhaps the alcoholic version), that she made it from scratch. This is the girl who won't eat meat because it's too hard to cook!

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  25. Wow Louise, you sure did include some fabulous recipes in this post! It wouldn't be Christmas without eggnog in our house!

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  26. I adore cookies! It is one of my favorite food groups... I bake them all year long and never get tired of them.

    Lovely recipes!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  27. Hope all is well.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Enjoy!
    Rita

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise