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Chef Raymond's Holiday Goodies


Holiday Goodies from Chef Raymond Santiago, head chef at Café Pierrot, Sparta, New Jersey

Chef Raymond makes a blend of Caribbean and American traditional eggnogs. His use of coconut milk instead of sugar is reminiscent of Puerto Rico, his birth land. As chef of the Black Forest Inn, Stanhope, New Jersey, he made two or three gallons at a time. Here, he breaks it down to about two quarts.

Raymond’s Eggnog (two-day process, begin a day ahead)
12 eggs
1 cup Coco Lopez ® Cream of Coconut
2 quarts whole milk
Salt, a pinch
¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Kahlua (coffee liqueur) or Malibu Rum (white rum made from coconuts) 1 tablespoon per 4 ounces of eggnog

Beat eggs, Cream of Coconut, and salt together in saucepan. Stir in one quart of milk over low heat and stir constantly to prevent burning. Cook until thick enough to coat a spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in the second quart of milk and vanilla (Raymond likes to stir in the vanilla right at the beginning with first quart of milk. He says it brings out the flavor more.)

Cover and chill overnight in refrigerator. The next day, put in blender to emulsify “to come out nice and fluffy. Put in just enough Kahlua or rum to get Grandpa drunk.” Blend or shake it. Dust the eggnog with nutmeg or cinnamon.

If you wish to make the entire batch with alcohol, add two cups of Malibu rum or Kahlua to the batch. “You can hardly taste Malibu Rum. The alcohol drops off in eggnog about 90%. It is very mild and sweet with more flavor than other rum.” In Puerto Rico it is traditional to make coquito the same way as American eggnog, except for the substitution of Crème of Coconut for sugar.

Butternut Squash Soup
At Café Perriot, restaurant goers slurp through 30 gallons of butternut soup in five days.

Here’s the yummy recipe:
2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced
1 cup onion, minced
1 stick pure butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 quart chicken broth
¼ teaspoon cumin (or more)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch or 2 white pepper
2 cups heavy cream

Sauté onion in butter until soft and transparent. Add broth, brown sugar, cumin, ginger, pepper and butternut. Cook until soft – 15 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in a food processor or blender. Return mixture to pot. Add cream. Bring slowly to boil or 160 degrees over low heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.

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published December 06, 2009

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Best butternut squash soup ever

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