I have local fresh eggs – amazing!

My friend Tony told me his friend Dusty raises chickens and sells eggs. Finally, a source for farm fresh eggs  – that is so great! I know there have been several places in Milton that have signs out for fresh eggs, but I just do not go into Milton that often. Tony speaks very highly of his friend and from the description the chickens are kept in, it is the kind of environment that I think is great for chickens. I mentioned it at work and someone called them yard eggs, and I guess when you get right down to it, that is really what they are. Though I have never heard that phrase before.

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The colors are so amazing. It is like Easter eggs without dying them.

This is just in time for my Meyer lemons to come in from California so I can make all kinds of lemon curd. And lemon curd tartlets – oh yes, this is going to be a good couple of baking weeks. Or just a good couple of weeks in general. Yep.

I think Meyer lemon curd has to be first because the two most important things are egg yolks and Meyer (or any lemon, but prefer Meyer) lemon juice. I think the only other thing that will be made more outstanding is hollandaise because, again, egg yolks. And fresh ones have to be so superior.

Sausage & Eggs

When I was young I had all kinds of allergies. Lord knows that is the truth. I had to go through food allergy testing to see what I was allergic to after my fish incident that sent me into anaphylactic shock at 5 years-old after dinner one night – lips turn blue and throat closed up. So I had to be tested to see what other things I was allergic to. 

Mostly just trees, grass, mold, dust mites, dogs, cats, air in general, but eggs seemed to be a problem too. So my mother never really feed me eggs. Nor did I get the MMR shots as a kid, nor did I get flu shots – No vaccine built in an egg. I did finally get the MMR to go to university, had to – they do not let you in otherwise, but by then I was about 25 then.

But no matter what, the only time growing up that I had eggs was this non-recipe recipe. And I guess that is why this is the only time I eat them now.

It is one of my favorite things, um, ever. 

Basically, you cook a pound of sausage in a skillet and then scramble up a few (4 or 5) eggs and then cook them in the grease left by the sausage. This, to me, is pretty much heaven on earth. My mom made this for us for dinner – not breakfast. I don’t think she used hot sausage, but I always use hot sausage for any recipe that calls for breakfast sausage. In my head there is no other kind. Don’t get me started on sage sausage (blech) or lord help us, maple sausage (I love maple syrup w/sausage, but maple flavor in sausage – that is just too strange to be believed).dd_2016-12-25-14-13-50

I am pretty sure I just told you how to make this. It is quick, easy, and amazingly good. My mom had good handle – a very good handle –  on what was good. And this is good in spades.

It is a favorite Christmas breakfast (not dinner) for us – or maybe just me. Well – sometimes you just want what you want and everyone else has to go along with plan. I am pretty sure no one complained.

2015 – Parmesan Shortbread – Nigella
2015 – Fusilli with Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan Cream

Wednesday Cooking School

So tonight The Boy and I made carrot cake. It is one of his favorites.  I have made carrot cake for D&D_1233him many, many, many, years  – big birthday cake for him. When I said The Boy and I made a carrot cake, I really mean just him. I am kind of the director in this movie. Suggesting, demonstrating, etc. To me, you learn by doing, so I let him do the doing.

So I get home from work and he’s here already – good start. As I go up to change (I’m a mess when cooking, so I have to change my clothes), I say to him, start peeling the carrots. Simple enough, right?  A few minutes later he’s still peeling that first carrot … There was almost no carrot left. I said, what are you doing? Do you not know how to peel a carrot?  Apparently not. So I explained how to peel a carrot. And then explained for the cake we would be grating the carrots for the cake. Poor guy, he just didn’t know.

Lesson: don’t assume things in Wednesday Cooking School.

I am not a fan of making cake after work, but this wasn’t too horrible. Only about 2 1/2 hours, but excellent time spent hanging out with The Boy. Yes, that’s the best part.  Indeed.

I’m kind of excited that his next choice is Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise. I started this stupid idea on New Year’s Day of 2009. What the hell – make a very complicated thing for New Year’s Day – does anyone do that? Apparently I do. And we did it weekend after weekend that year. But since The Boy is coming over after work, it will be for dinner, and in my small brain, that is a good thing.

Christmas Brunch

When I was growing up we had a few things for Christmas breakfast that were basically snack-able. To me that was an excellent thing. Toasted Banana Nut Bread – honestly, to me the only way to eat it. It was crunchy and smeared with some imitation butter that I immediately changed to real butter once on my own as a grown up. You only live once, why the hell eat margarine? Another was sausage balls – we had them served with a side of mustard, usually brown, and my personal, kind of slightly wrong. choice, grape jelly (do not judge until you try a sausage biscuit with a little grape jelly).  There might have been other things, but those are the two that stick our for years and years and years.

I have made some changes for our Christmas morning since then beyond just going with really rich salted European butter, but that was an excellent call on my part, not too many real changes. First, it is not breakfast. It is brunch around 11:00am-ish (isn’t funny how adding the suffix “ish” gives you lots of wiggle room with time?). In past years, I have added latkes which works well with my Christmas soundtrack. The Boy says it isn’t Christmas with out The Klezmatics and he is correct. How this started, I don’t know, but I love to listen to them on Christmas morning – full playlist below. Latkes I love with sour cream and freshly sautéed Granny Smith apples (not applesauce). They are not something I make often, but something I really really enjoy. Another change I’ve made is to make sausage balls without using pancake mix (Bisquik) and just using Cook’s Country’s recipe – superior in every way and with things I have on hand.

So this year, I was trying to sort out what to make and decided that simple and tasty were good enough. I made banana nut bread ahead of time (Banana Nut Bread Challenge) and decided to make sausage, as a nod to sausage balls, and scrambled eggs – super quick and easy.

There is a story behind the scramble eggs and sausage though. As as child, and to a large degree even now, I was allergic to damn near everything. Consequently, I wasn’t fed eggs as a kid – hell, I didn’t get the MMR shot until in my 20’s because the vaccine was grown (yes, back then – ugh) in eggs and no one wanted to risk it. So I never ate eggs as a young kid. Enter my elementary school age, and my mom would make sausage and scrambled eggs and I loved it, but that was the only way you could get me to eat an egg.D&D_1054.jpg

Let me explain how this process works. In a large non-stick skillet, cook a pound of  bulk breakfast sausage of choice (there is only one choice – hot) until it is cooked through. In a bowl. whisk together with a fork, 5 eggs and a splash of cream or milk. While the sausage grease is still hot, add the scrambled eggs and cook them as you would any other scrambled eggs. Serve while nice and hot.

Dead simple and pretty much amazing. Oh, and they really reheat well with a smidge of time in the microwave the next day, but it is highly unlikely there will be any left over. The three of us polished all that off with no problems whatsoever. And some salted butter soaked banana nut bread. Simple, sometimes is the best thing ever.

Prep for Christmas – in all its forms.

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving which I enjoyed, but I am glad Christmas is going to be an all-out family party. I love the way my brother-in-law fries a turkey. No matter how many times I roast one (thank you AB for the best roasted turkey of all time! And I should add, the first turkey I ever made in my life), I still prefer a fried turkey, but do not have the nerve (or equipment) to do it myself. Very glad he does.

So here are my plans for the upcoming holidays:

Christmas Eve – just an aside – This is my favorite part of Christmas because growing up we had a smorgasbord (sorry lacking the umlauts and accents). Or at least my eleven year-old version of it. Why my mom let me kind of take over to a degree – although she still did most of the cooking, I have no idea. But that is what happened in my family. Christmas Eve we opened presents from each other and munched on a buffet of all kinds of things that my mom made and a few that I dreamed up. At the time, I realized I wanted to be a caterer, so it is not surprising that I went into event management – not really.

So for me Christmas Eve is meant to be relaxed. Our new tradition from a few year ago is to have Cheddar fondue night with all the things that go with it. In our case, that is apples, pears, grapes, baguette, and to gild the lily, some Boursin (for the baguette, not the fondue). Maybe some Brie or, well, who knows.  I always shop on Christmas Eve to get the freshest things I can find. It is so simple and it can be scaled for however many people you have. In our case, it is small – typically four of us, but fun nonetheless. I am just a bit too excited about this. Oh, and then there is dessert. Whatever kind of cookie I make for the next day – but we hit it anyway. Although after a bunch of fruit and cheese I do not have tons of room. Well, that is what I tell people.

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Sausage Balls – A Southern & a family tradition

Christmas Day – Morning. I am kind of going easy this year. I have my mom’s Banana Nut Bread that I will slice and broil until crunchy and smear with great salted European butter. I probably could just do with that. But I want something else, but something simple. This year, not sausage balls (which are a huge tradition in my family), or latkes which I love more than words, and yes, I might just be being a bit lazy in this department. But there may be just the two of us so I am going with sautéed hot breakfast sausage that I then add scrambled eggs. So the eggs cook in the sausage grease – it is amazing. That was the only way I ate eggs as a kid (long story – see: allergies).

Then the plan is to bake my stuffed mushrooms which you will see and reheat my Sunday Sweet Potatoes which you have seen way too many times, for Christmas with the family. I will have the third batch of Cranberry Horseradish Relish made by then and have more bags of cranberries in the freezer than make sense.  And have put up the pecan/walnut tassies as well – again things that people seem to really like.

So on the 28th, we are having another family thing on the beach – super cool! I plan to make my (yes, you’ve seen it here) sweet potato biscuits with something in them. May try to change this up this year. Probably will not, but … I might. You never know what happens.

I am dreading going to the grocery store today. I have put it off since it’s been raining for days. And the forecast does not get any better until, well maybe if we get really lucky – not likely, Friday for Christmas Day. That said, it will be in the 70’s. Not any kind of Christmas weather and certainly not any kind of candy making weather. Guess I am waiting for January for cold and dry to make Vanilla Taffy or English toffee, or Divinity or even Peanut Brittle. Nothing too unusual in the grand scheme of things. But irksome.