Linus said it simply enough: "Peace and good will toward men. That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown." Regardless of faith, race, sex. Peace and good will to all men and women.
And holiday cheer! I've written about aged eggnog (that's it above, last year's shot; sorry, didn't want to make Donna work today!), aged for at least three weeks and up to several years (longest I've managed to hang on to it is three years). This experiment by NPR's Science Friday proves that alcohol takes care of salmonella bacteria over a period of three weeks (and likely all other bacteria that would cause spoilage, thus its ability to age indefinitely). I've also written about how to make eggnog on the fly in a comment on that post.
But for those who fear bacteria and can make it ahead of time, here's a great way to make delicious cooked eggnog.
1 cup of cream
1 cup of milk, plus ½ cup milk
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
nutmeg as needed
4 eggs, separated (reserve two whites for another use; they freeze great)
2 ounces sugar (¼ cup)
12 ounces rum or brandy, or as much as tastes good!
Combine the cream, cup of milk and vanilla bean in a pot, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Let the bean steep for 10 minutes, then removed the pod, scrape the inner beans out of the pod and return them to the milk
Combine the yolks and the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisking the yolks continuously, add the milk and cream.
Set a bowl big enough to contain the yolk-cream mixture in a larger bowl filled with ice. Put a strainer in this bowl.
Return the yolk-cream mixture back into the pot and stir it with a flat-edged spoon or heat-proof spatula over medium heat until the mixture thickens, a few minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Poor it through the strainer into the bowl set in ice. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine and to fully cool the mixture.
Optional: make a meringue by whipping 2 egg whites till frothy, then adding 3 tablespoons of sugar and whipping to very soft peaks.
Combine 4 ounces of what you just made (it's actually a thinned vanilla sauce) with 2 ounces of rum or brandy, add more nutmeg to taste, then add ice, meringue as desired and top with gratings of nutmeg.
Makes 6 cocktails (I haven't tested quantities, so feel free to wing it as you wish!)
And to all those who come to this blog, many thanks and best wishes for warm, festive, happy holidays.