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Ten Thousand Villages gave us a lovely Sunday

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A week ago I went to the bazaar put on by Ten Thousand Villages. It was held at my church, which was convenient, so I lingered and had lunch (excellent beef tamales, and restaurant-quality Mexican rice and refritos). We all ate, talked, shopped for a good cause and listened to haunting music from other places.

One table that I visited was offering cookbooks, which will stop me anytime just so that I can have a look. I bought three: the first one is called The Episcopal Cookbook, which wouldn't shock you if you found it at the Episcopal Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Another one is called Best of the Holidays, and the third is Recipes from Our Neighborhood. I am going through them slowly, adapting some recipes to organics and filing others away for my own use.

The holiday-themed cookbook goes logically through the dinner courses beginning with seasonal drinks, and it brought me to eggnog. There are a few things to remember when making eggnog, as opposed to buying it. Of course you won't lose any points if you buy eggnog ready-made, and you can fix it up with anything you like. But if you are making your own, and you use whole eggs, you might want to get pasteurized eggs, which are available in dairy sections of Tucson's supermarkets.

Another thing to be sure about is that if your eggs have little white embryonic inclusions that indicate that they were fertile eggs originally, remove those fragments from the eggs after you break them into a mixing bowl but before you beat them.

Adding liquor to eggnog is personal. The most commonly-used alcoholic additions are bourbon, rum or brandy. I'd advise against anything with its own distinctive flavor, such as Galliano or Kahlua, and also against chocolate-flavored liqueurs such as Godiva. If you like them enough to want to build a drink around them, wait until you see my Christmas coffee recipe and leave the eggnog in its classic state.

GO-TO SAFE HOLIDAY EGGNOG

Ingredients:

6 large organic eggs
1/4 cup granulated blonde organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 quart organic whole milk
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 cup organic whipping cream, whipped
Ground nutmeg for garnish

Before you put it on the heat, beat the eggs, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan until they are completely combined. Lower the mixer speed and fold or whisk the milk into the mixture.

Place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring often, until the eggnog begins to thicken slightly. When it will coat a metal spoon evenly it is ready. Remove it from the heat and cool it quickly; setting the saucepan in a larger bowl of ice-water works best.

Chill the eggnog overnight, covered with plastic cling film, and then place it in a serving bowl or pitcher. Whip the cream and float it on top of the eggnog, sprinkled with ground nutmeg.

If you are going to add in some liquor, stir it in before you put the cream over the top of the eggnog and sprinkle the nutmeg on it.

I term this eggnog "safe" because even if you do not buy the pasteurized eggs it will be sterilized by cooking. Keep in mind that all the packaged eggnog you buy has been pasteurized, at minimum, if not cooked, even if it is dairy-free.

On the topic of dairy-free, you can use soy creamer and a dairy-free topping substitute for whipping cream to make this eggnog if you wish, and it will work fine. Among the prepared eggnog products I like Silk Seasonal Nog very much myself, and if I were not concerned with lowering sugar content (for which I would substitute stevia for sugar in the recipe) I would buy it more often.

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