Dec 5, 2012 6:41 PM

Let's Make a Meal: Egg Nog & Parmesan Pinwheel hors d'oeuvre

TUCSON - Today News 4 Tucson's food contributor Jennifer English stopped by with a couple of recipes to get you in the holiday mood, even if it doesn't exactly feel like holiday weather outside.

Here's what Jennifer had to say:

It is difficult to imagine the cold and dark of winter elsewhere as we enjoy the glorious warmth of our Tucson December. But winter as metaphor is powerful and evocative. The perfect thing to get us in the holiday mood.

America had a nationwide, long dark winter from October 28, 1919 until December 5, 1933. Prohibition.
Today marks the 79th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. The most delicious and wonderful Holiday Drink is Egg Nog. My Granny loved egg nog spiked with rum, which was a great New England tradition.

Egg Nog Recipe

4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks 1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
3. Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

To celebrate our freedom, to warm our hearts and hands by the hearth with friends and family, I offer the easiest and most irresistible cocktail hour hors d'oeuvre courtesy of our friends at

10 Minute Parmesan Pinwheels

• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed, or homemade puff pastry
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or use whatever hard cheese you like)
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
2. Lay the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a rectangle about 14 by 10 inches that's about 1/8 inch thick.
3. Working quickly, brush the mustard over the entire sheet of dough. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the mustard, followed by the pepper if using.
4. Starting with one of the short sides of the rectangle, roll the dough into a compact log. (At this point you can wrap the log and keep it in the refrigerator or the freezer until you're ready to bake the pinwheels.)
5. To make the pinwheels, using a very sharp knife slice the log into 1/4-inch wheels and arrange them at least an inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake the pinwheels for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by the poet Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Written as a contemplation of both what we have and what we are bound to do. Consider the beautiful bone cold moment in this poem as we travel to holiday parties and friend's homes. Maybe there will be eggnog and cheesy pinwheels waiting for you!

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost


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