Raw Eggnog failure; Tree Decorating Success
December 13, 2009

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Hey guys!

Hope you enjoyed good weekends. Aside from a heaping helping of work, mine involved some holiday festivities (parties, tree decorating) and a raw eggnog experiment that proved that even culinary failures can often be made into successes.

You see, when my One Lucky Duck newsletter arrived on Friday, it contained a recipe for raw holiday nog that I just couldn’t pass up. “Rawnog,” you may recall, is one of the raw recipe requests I’ve gotten for the holiday season. As much as I’d love to concoct my own version, I thought I’d humbly defer to Pure Food and Wine chef Neal Harden, whose recipe looks scrumptious:

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I followed the recipe exactly, as a good friend who’d come over to help me decorate my tree waited patiently to be my recipe guinea pig. When it came to straining the ‘nog, though, I hit some trouble: it wasn’t straining enough. The mixture was so rich and creamy that it only yielded a tiny amount of liquid (maybe 1/4 cup) over the course of an hour in a nutmilk bag. The ‘nog I tasted was delicious, but there simply wasn’t enough of it: even if I’d squeezed it through the bag (as Neal recommends), it still wouldn’t have yielded enough to serve me and my friend.

So I decided to make lemons out of lemonade. I scooped the pulp out of the bag, re-mixed it with the ‘nog, and decided to serve the (very thick) mixture just as it was. And as it was, it resembled and tasted a whole lot like my magical raw “whipped cream” — only with a festive touch in the form of nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Anyone own Dreena Burton’s amazing Eat, Drink and Be Vegan (my fave vegan cookbook just about ever)? Dreena has a recipe for something she calls “celestial cream,” which is essentially a thick, rich dessert cream that uses Earth Balance and silken tofu as a base; this recipe, I think, is highly reminiscent, but without the Earth Balance, which is a little more processed than I’d like.  I’d call it an eggnog-spiced cream, but forget the title: it’s absolutely delicious, and in spite of the fact that it didn’t turn out as eggnog, it made for a darn tasty topping to some frozen bananas I had at home:

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The whole experience was a pleasant reminder that, when you’re working with good ingredients and flavor profiles, it’s pretty hard to “mess up” a recipe. A little creativity goes a long way in reconfiguring the premise of your dish.

And I didn’t stop at eggnog spiced cream: this morning, I thinned out half of the mixture with some fresh almond milk, added 3 tbsp chia seeds, and made a recipe that’s quite like Kristen’s amazing holiday chia pudding.

I’m pleased to report that, though my kitchen success was mixed this weekend, my tree selection and decoration was not. I’m basking in the glow of this little fellow right now:

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Who said that you can’t stick a Christmas tree in a small NYC apt?

Enjoy a cozy Sunday evening, friends.

xo

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    30 Comments
  1. The tree looks fabulous! And I am glad your rawnog failure turned out a pleasant success with some adjustments 🙂 I love the idea of putting it over fruit. I bet it’d be good mixed with fruit in a smoothie type mixture as well. Merry almost Christmas!

  2. Sometimes having a recipe not turn out you end up making something amazing. Your new version of eggnog whipped cream looks yummy.

    I will email you tonight in regards to your email about your cleanse program for the new year. Sorry it has take me long to get back to you, but I have not forgotten!

    Love the Christmas tree!

  3. Thanks for the heads up – When I saw the e-mail from One Lucky Duck I thought of your egg nog challenge. I am glad to know that I probably shouldn’t attempt the recipe, lol.

    I’ll have to check out the recipe in Eat Drink and be Vegan – I agree that it’s an excellent cookbook.

  4. you amaze me…i mean aside from the recipe turn-around, the fact that you were able to get a tree up your stair well and into your apartment is amazing!!!!

    ps thanks for the email. i cant wait to read your post about it…

  5. So you topped your bananas with the leftover nog? That sounds pretty good, man. That’d make a hell of a shake, too. I detect no failure in this post. Your tree is all nice and magical-like. Hope it smells as good as it looks!

  6. Well done with the adaptations!! I need to remember to do that because when things go wrong, I get frustrated and then throw it all out. Love the sounds of what you created though – I’ve never tasted egg nog as it is!

  7. Eggnog spiced cream sounds fabulous! I haven’t even thought about eggnog since going vegan, we don’t even have the soymilk eggnog here in Saudi so it has been a long lost old favorite. But I have to try this, it sounds and looks amazing.

  8. wow the eggnog looks delicious!!! certaionly not a failure one bit!! thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    way to stick a beautiful tree in a small apt, work with what you have !!
    happy MONDAY

  9. Sorry about the nog! I printed out that recipe as well, but ended up making a raw one from VegNews, it turned out pretty good. I would of preferred it to be a little thicker, if I had more cashews that would of helped!

    Adorable tree! We always had a tree when we lived in our apartment, this year we got a monstrous one. I can’t believe we didn’t realize how big it was! My dining room lookstiny with it in it! 🙂

  10. It definitely still looks SO yummy! I really really want to try it. Eggnog is my favorite!

    And I kind of want to slice up some bananas and have then right now too! You make EVERYTHING look so good!

  11. I want my kitchen failures to be so magnificent! If I had a kitchen failure turn into whipped cream, oh my would I be in heaven. It looks lovely and even though I never was a fan of the “traditional” eggnog, I think the raw version might be just up my alley. Do you think that sesame seeds could an appropriate substitute for the pine nuts?

    The tree looks great!

  12. I don’t have the patience to strain anything, so that won’t set me back! This looks delicious- thanks for sharing!!

  13. Your apartment must smell lovely with the tree.
    Last year I made Kristen’s (Kristen’s Raw) eggnog from her holiday recipe book ~ pretty yummy! I think I may just have to repeat it….. Thank you for the reminder!

  14. Gena, I often see your recipes and instantly want to make them, but I literally got up from my seat and JUST made this immediately after reading your post!

    I dont have a fancy Vitamix so I just threw it all in the blender, and I didnt presoak the nuts, but it still turned out great! Thanks for this festive recipe!

  15. Way to work with what you have! I like how you didn’t let the rawnog go to waste. It looks like it served you well as a topping for your banana. Aren’t bananas great? Haha, I just ate 3 of them yesterday (something I haven’t done in a long time, if ever)!

  16. Gena, your rawnog experiment results look luscious! And your tree looks fantastic. No apartment is too small to fit in some green, lighted holiday cheer!

  17. “when you’re working with good ingredients and flavor profiles, it’s pretty hard to “mess up” a recipe. A little creativity goes a long way in reconfiguring the premise of your dish.”
    YES INDEED!

    As you may know, I rarely use recipes. I ad lib everything. All the raw vegan balls and “cookie dough” balls I make are just that…good ingredients, improvising, creativity and a little common sense. But I wish more people would realize what you said in your quote. Maybe this post will help them 🙂

    The eggnog action looks awesome of course.

    ED & BV – I have said this before, I own the book but I swear, I have “missed” half the recipes in there. It’s not til someone else makes it and blogs it or points it out, that I am like, hello, how could I miss that?! haha!

    And your tree looks so pretty 🙂

    xoxo

  18. Ohhh my. Totally going to check this one out. Maybe while I’m home with my parents. My dad loves eggnog and would totally be into trying out the “rawnogg.” Way to squeeze in the tree!!!! We must meet up at some point!!!

  19. But see, you turned the recipe “failure” into a success – I would have just cried, haha 😉

    LOVE YOUR TREE!!!!!!!!! Especially since I know which corner of the room it’s in. Can’t wait to see it in person (so yes, please leave it up until I get there).