Some Chai Eggnog to Get You in the Holiday SpiritWednesday, November 27
I have been talking a lot recently about the various paths one can take to become a chef. Five years ago I would have told you that my life was as about as traditional as a chef’s life can get. The same can’t be said today.
Years ago my days consisted of working on line with my cooks, day in and day out, preparing food with them and assuring the successful flow of the lunch and dinner services. They were long days, hard on the body and mind, but they were also rewarding.
Things have changed a great deal in the past five years for me. Sure there are still the occasions where I am in the trenches with my team, cooking up a storm and slugging it out with them through a hectic dinner service. Those days, though, are much fewer and far between of late. More often I am involved in some other facet of our business.
There are days I miss it but my new role also provides with it a great deal of excitement.
The upcoming weeks are a prime example of just how exciting it can be. We are smack dab in the middle of opening a new restaurant this week. In fact, as this column makes the paper we will have successfully (fingers crossed!) completed our first dinner service at The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar. The opening of a new place always comes with more than enough excitement than I can handle, but there are so many other fun things going on right now. I am being interviewed to encourage others to contribute to YESS because of the work our team did with them for Bacon Day this year.
I am working with Can Man Dan and our team from Delux to prepare over 350 lunches to feed those in need at the Hope Mission on Dec. 5. My team of talented chefs and I will be feeding families staying at the Ronald McDonald House a holiday meal on Dec. 9, trying to do our part to make them feel at home during what I can only imagine is an impossibly difficult time. We will also be gathering our next group of Delux Celebrity Chefs to create their burgers and do their photo shoots for their burger of the month. Throw in a couple of TV segments, sitting on the board of two event planning committees, planning and preparing for yet another new restaurant, and keeping the existing restaurants up to snuff, I have my hands full.
Just last week I was invited to a unique event that I never thought would come my way. London Drugs reached out to me a while back to work alongside them in showcasing their extensive variety of premiere kitchen appliances to local media and food writers. Preparing unique and tasty recipes to showcase specific kitchen tools was something new and fun, so I took them up on their offer.
After brainstorming with my team, we came up with a delicious list of eight appetizers and three cocktails, each featuring one or more of their appliances. What made this event that much more fun was it was also set up in a premium group of show homes. So rather than setting up a display in a store, we were actually set up in three different chef-inspired kitchens, with the guests arriving in each home to a small kitchen party. It was a fantastic way to showcase the tools in action, allow the guests to see the wonderful homes and to sample some mouth watering appetizers and libations. It gave us a great opportunity to interact with the guests in a warm and relaxed environment, where we could share trade secrets, even walking guests through the cooking process for those that were interested.
It was also a great opportunity for social media to lead the way in getting the message out there. People were sharing with others the treats they found in each house, sharing recipes and taunting those who didn’t brave the weather with photos of the tasty items. It was a unique coming together of brands to create a memorable experience and is likely indicative of where the future of brand marketing is going.
There was much dialogue over which item was the favourite of the night, but one of the highlights seemed to be the Chai egg nog I prepared. A little lighter than traditionally rich and thick holiday nog, this version is filled with spice and leaves you wanting more. With the big day less than a month away and holiday festivities in full swing I thought what better to be sharing this with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! If you’re looking for other great holiday appetizer ideas head to my website, http://www.chefpaulshufelt.com for some delicious options.
Chai Egg nog
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yields: About 1 lt.
15 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 cup milk
4 Darjeeling tea bags (you can substitute Double Chai Tea if necessary)
4 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
½ cup spiced rum (optional, but hey it’s Christmas!)
to garnish resh grated nutmeg
Using the food processor, combine cloves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and whole black peppercorns, pulse to grind
Heat the one cup of milk, adding the pulsed spice mix, then steeping the tea bags in for 4-5 minutes
Remove from the heat and strain to remove spice mix and tea bags
In a pot combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Add heavy cream and remaining milk, bring to a simmer slowly, stirring constantly to avoid curdling the mixture
Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon it is ready
Remove from heat and continue to stir
Add the strained steeped milk and either serve warm or chill until cold.
Add the liquor right before serving
Garnish with nutmeg and serve