Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Dec 18, 2012


It's been a rainy couple of weeks in LA and sometimes that can put a damper on one's holiday spirit, but nothing beats a warming spiced drink to turn that around.  I came back from the Sunday farmers' market a little damp and chilled, and all I was craving was a warm mug of eggnog.  This recipe comes from Michael Mina, and once you start making it at home, you'll never want to drink the store-bought stuff again.  It's so much creamier than anything you'd get in the store, and it's rich enough to serve for a holiday dessert.  It would probably also make for some killer French toast.  I think I just drooled typing that.  To Lush Chef this up, add your favorite dark spirit.  I used Rémy Martin cognac, but you can add brandy, dark rum, bourbon or whiskey.
Eggnog - serves 4
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise & scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup cognac, brandy, rum, bourbon or whiskey (I used Rémy Martin cognac)

- In a large pot over medium heat, add the cream, milk, sugar and salt.
- Add the vanilla bean seeds and pod into the milk mixture.
- Simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until slightly thick and bright yellow.
- Using a ladle, add about half of the milk mixture a little at a time to temper the egg yolks.  If you do this too quickly, they'll get scrambled...
- Return the tempered eggs back into the large pot and whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  If you feel like the mixture is too thick, you can add some more milk.
- Run the eggnog through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
- Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and your spirit of choice.
- Serve immediately and feel free to top with whipped cream and nutmeg.