Kerstdagen Roundup

Ik Geloof
I hope you’ve all had a great few days, whether celebrating or not. We kicked off our celebrations Friday night with a delicious dinner of octopus (looks like an alien, tastes delicately like shrimp/lobster). Afterward, we headed over to the Potdeksel for a special Music Quiz Night. There were two games of five rounds. We didn’t do so well the first game, but the second game was a different story. We were getting correct answers left and right and eventually won the game with a tie-breaker thanks to our knowledge of local music sensation Sjarrel en Sjaan and their performance of the classic “Christmas in Cupertino”. 😉

We were ridiculously thrilled to finally win! Thanks to our Dutch team member, Mer, for her help with translation and famous Dutch voices, as well as her fine company! Our prize for the evening was a large bottle of Palm beer and an accompanying glass, as well. Rather snazzy! I think we might be cracking open a bottle this evening.
Palm Prize
Christmas day itself was lovely. A bit of a late start to the day, a bit of present unwrapping, and then a lot of food and wine! We went with what has become a tradition with my parents and me, skipping the massive turkey dinner and instead having a variety of finger foods/appetizers to snack on. We had deviled eggs (natuurlijk!), smoked salmon, cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, chicken pieces wrapped in bacon with a honey mustard glaze, blue cheese tartlettes, eggplant balls, and crepes filled with a cheesy spinach mixture. All lekker, if I say so myself, since I was the chef! Later in the evening, we did give a nod to the Italians at the table with some pasta and some pan d’oro for dessert.
Christmas Lunch

Our furry kids seemed to enjoy themselves, as well. They dined with us on a few nibbles and Pippo certainly enjoyed helping me unwrap presents. He never tries to tear paper any other time of year, but he seems to understand Christmas. He immediately grabbed a bit of wrapping paper from the gift I was unwrapping and started to pull. He did a fine job!
Xmas
Our Tweede Kerstdag has been quiet and mellow, with bits of sunshine popping out on occasion. A nice way to spend the day! I hope you all have had equally pleasant days, no matter what you’ve been up to!

Eggnog and Spirits

Homemade Eggnog
After thinking about it all week, I finally put up our Christmas tree today. Part of the delay came about because I couldn’t decide which eggnog recipe to try. I don’t think I’ve made homemade eggnog since I was little and tried the recipe for it that was in my Betty Crocker cookbook for children. Normally, the only time I drink it is while I’m actually decorating the tree, so in the past, I’ve simply bought a carton from the store.

Sadly, though, I’ve been without eggnog these past two Christmases in the Netherlands, as it doesn’t seem to be sold here. The Dutch have a drink/liqueur called advocaat, but I don’t think it’s the same. Can anyone who has had both eggnog and advocaat tell me the difference in taste (other than advocaat having the alcohol already added in)? Since it didn’t look like I was going to get any eggnog help from the grocery store, I figured this season I would finally make my own eggnog to help get me into the holiday spirit — with the addition of some spirits, of course. I searched foodgawker, looking at all the different variations of the recipe, going back and forth on which one to try. I eventually settled on a combination of a couple of recipes that seemed simple and that didn’t have quite as much sugar as the others. One of the reasons I rarely drank much eggnog in the US was because it was so sweet.

In the end, I was quite please with how the eggnog turned out. The addition of some dark rum made the aroma complete, taking me back to past holiday memories. With eggnog in hand, and Christmas music on the stereo, the tree went up fairly easily. I even got to dance with Lola to Elvis’ Blue Christmas, a tradition that I love to do, but I’m not sure she’s as thrilled with it. Especially when I pulled her off the heater today in order to dance. She had a death-grip on the heater, but I won in the end. I’m sure she’ll look back on it all with a laugh some day.
Merry Freakin' Christmas

Eggnog Recipe
serves 2 decent-size glasses or 4 small glasses

2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or to taste
rum or bourbon to taste

Whisk together eggs and sugar in a sauce pan and then slowly add in the milk and then the nutmeg. Turn the heat on low and continue to stir until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it’s the right consistency, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla, then refrigerate. You could add in the alcohol before you refrigerate it, or simply add it to the glasses when you’re ready to serve it up. It will take a bit of stirring to combine the alcohol and eggnog, so leave room in the glass. I like to top the glasses off with another light sprinkle of nutmeg.