This past weekend I had a party for a group of friends here in Tokyo. It was a pot luck of drinks and snacks, and I provided egg nog, toffee, and bruschetta.
Egg nog is a holiday tradition in my family, but something that is not commercially available in Japan, so I decided to make it myself. It wasn't too difficult, but the beating of the eggs would definitely have been easier with a stand mixer. I started with 8 yolks, which I beat until they turned a lighter color of yellow. I then added about half a cup of sugar and mixed for a while longer. Add 2 cups of cream, 1000 milliliters of milk, and stir some more.
Then comes the good part- an entire bottle of whiskey. Our tradition is Southern Comfort, and many people use bourbon, but I went with the resources at hand.
Two tablespoons of nutmeg.
And the final step, beating 8 egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and then add another half cup of sugar. The egg nog was creamy and smooth, and the whiskey was hidden beneath all of the layers of dairy and spice. I will definitely be making another, though smaller, batch before Christmas.
I wanted to provide some sweets, but my tiny microwave-convection oven doesn't really lend itself to baking cookies. I went with a homemade toffee topped with chocolate- one batch with peanuts, one without. Toffee is just butter, sugar, salt, and water, so it is quite simple to prepare in the microwave, then pouring out onto a sheet of foil to harden. Melt some chocolate and pour on the top, and there it is.
And finally, something savory- bruschetta. Something I realized in brainstorming appetizers is that so many holiday appetizers that we make in the US have cheese in them, something that is quite expensive and hard to come by here in Japan. I opted for roasting tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil in the oven for about an hour, until the tomatoes were roasted enough to crush easily into the olive oil. Mix it all together and it's an easy bruschetta or pasta sauce.
Hope your holiday parties are full of joy and warmth this season!