Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Aged Eggnog

December 8th, 2021 · 2 Comments

Eggnog is a traditional Christmas delight, served from bowls or pitchers at parties and dinners during the holiday season, always a delight to enjoy cold, and in some cases warmed. In grocery stores, eggnog starts filling the dairy cases a few weeks before Thanksgiving, seems every year it shows up earlier, might have even seen it for sale just around Halloween this year.

Aged Eggnog
Aged Eggnog in glass milk bottles

But why not make your own eggnog holiday beverage delight? I found Alton Brown’s Aged Eggnog Recipe several years ago, and have made it many times, I can’t remember how many, but at least 3 or 4 holiday seasons. The recipe includes 24 ounces (3 cups) of liquor, and while the original recipe calls for 1 cup each of cognac, Jamaican dark rum, and bourbon, I’ve altered the exact liquor every time depending on what I have on hand. This time around I used 1 cup spiced rum, 1/2 cup cognac, 1/2 cup Southern Comfort, 1/2 cup brandy, and 1/2 cup dry sherry. The fresh grated nutmeg makes a big difference in the flavor profile, I also used 6 whole eggs which replaced the original recipe calling for 12 egg yolks.

It’s best to make it at least two-weeks before serving to give it time to age, or ferment a bit. I made this batch on Monday (12/6/2021) afternoon, or 20-days before Christmas. But Alton says he allows it to mellow for several months, or longer. It’s also great just after mixing it together, as we did, with the extra that would not fit into the glass bottles, I filled two glasses that we downed fairly quickly.

Bon Appetite!

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Announcing my Third Cookbook

December 7th, 2021 · No Comments

It’s been hard keeping this news under wraps, but I’m excited to share that I’ve written my third (3rd) cookbook! Get ready for more details and a cover reveal next Tuesday!

Here’s a photo of one of the recipes in the cookbook.


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French Onion Mashed Potatoes

December 1st, 2021 · No Comments

Several months ago I was Googling for French Onion Soup recipes, and a couple weeks ago the Google Discover feature on my phone pulled up a recipe that piqued my interest, but it wasn’t a soup recipe. In my daily discover results it found a French Onion Mashed Potatoes recipe, Jessica Merchant featured this recipe on her How Sweet Eats blog on November 2, 2021. When I saw the recipe and the photo, I knew it was going to be hit for Thanksgiving dinner.

I printed the recipe and nestled it on my cookbook holder in the kitchen until I made it on Thanksgiving day last week.

French Onion Mashed Potatoes
French Onion Mashed Potatoes

These are the best mashed potatoes, and the most requested recipe I’ve had in a long time for a holiday meal. Everyone enjoyed them so much, the next day while we were eating leftovers and packing up what food family wanted to take to their individual homes, the French Onion mashed potatoes were gone, we didn’t even get any to take home.

I’ll be making these again, probably way before Thanksgiving next year.

Bon appetite!


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Marinating Beef Brisket for Pastrami

November 24th, 2021 · No Comments

Brisket marinating, future pastrami
Beef brisket marinating for pastrami

On my birthday weekend we got inspiration from Guy Fieri and the ‘Finger Lickin’ Food‘ Season 23, Episode 9 of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, where he featured a segment on and Atlanta, GA Wrecking Bar Brew Pub Restaurant. I was impressed with how they made their own in-house pastrami using beef brisket and brining/marinating it for several days. This got me hankering for a pastrami melt sandwich and since I’ve never made my own pastrami I was inspired to find a recipe for getting my own.

This lead me to a search for a smoked pastrami recipe and I found one in Steven Raichlen’s book ‘Project Smoke‘, on page 72. He has an online version of the recipe ‘Home-Smoked Pastrami‘, from his Barbecue Bible series. The recipes differ a bit, I’m using the one from the book that calls for 12-days of brining in a solution of water, kosher salt, pink curing salt, a halved onion, and whole garlic cloves. The image was taken about mid-way through the brining process, I’m scheduled to smoke the meat on Sunday, 11/28. Not sure what wood I’ll use, but the recipes calls for 14 hours in the meat smoker.

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Cranberry Chutney

November 23rd, 2021 · 4 Comments

Cranberry Chutney
Cranberry Chutney via Julia Child’s Parade Magazine recipe

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2021, and I’ve made this Cranberry Chutney using a recipe that Julia Child published in the Parade Magazine on November 13, 1983. I found the recipe and printed it out for my use in the kitchen.

It’s my first time making this recipe, and just out the gate it tastes quite good, preparing it two days ahead of the holiday meal should give it a nice melding and blending of flavors. It’s a bit sour and sweet at the same time, not too sour, and not too sweet. I’m hoping that the cranberry flavor gets pulled out a bit more.

This is a departure from my typical cranberry compote of just pulsing cranberries, sugar, oranges, and a touch of salt and cinnamon in the food processor and letting it set up in the fridge for several days. While the compote is not cooked at all, the chutney has three stages of cooking on the stove top, 1. boiling the onions with water, brown and white sugar for 30 minutes. 2. Then adding tart apples, salt, ginger, mace, curry powder, and orange zest, then simmering another 1/2 hour. 3. Stir in the cranberries, currants, and juice of the oranges, letting that boil gently for another 10 minutes.

I modified the recipe quantities because these days you can’t get a 1 pound bag of cranberries, they are sold in 12oz bags now, which is 4oz short of a pound. So, I bought 2 bags which equals 24oz total, or 1 1/2 pounds. So, I adjusted the rest of the ingredients using basic kitchen math, and increasing the other ingredients in similar proportions. 1:1.5 where 1 = 1.5.

I like the recipe, each stage of the cooking process gives me time to prep for the next stage, so while it takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to make, the majority of the prep is accomplished while the chutney is cooking.

I love trying out new recipes, even those that are 38 years old!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m sure my mom would have loved to taste this Cranberry Chutney, she would have been 83 years old today, RIP. I dedicate this one to her, and in loving memory!

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