Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Now that the Christmas Dinner is done, you still have family staying over and you are exhausted. What will you do with the leftovers? What will you serve for Breakfast the next day? Make a strata! You can add parts of your Christmas dinner right into the mix. Here’s a Christmas gift to you, an easy strata recipe for the day after Christmas. This recipe is mix and match, so don't stress if you are missing an ingredient or two. Play and enjoy.

Mini Strata

Loaf pan (Pyrex if you have it)
1 roll Ciabatta or French or Italian bread
5 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Dash of fresh Rosemary or Basil
3/4 cup cheese
½ cup broccoli, green beans, or asparagus
½ cup diced tomatoes
½ cup of cooked Turkey or Ham

Cut up bread into cubes to line the bottom of loaf pan.
Pour ½ cup of cheese over bread.
Add cooked Turkey or Ham
Mix up eggs, milk, salt and pepper, maybe fresh Rosemary or Basil.
Pour mixture over bread and cheese and meat.
Pour on veggies.
Cover with remaining cheese.
Refrigerate 2-24 hours.
Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Making pizza at home is easy, fun, and less expensive than eating out or ordering in, for convenience many supermarkets carry fresh pizza dough or pick up some dough from your favorite pizza parlor. I like fresh dough because it is more flexible and tastes better.

Try this recipe for a different pizza. Spread the dough and cover with your favorite barbecue sauce (bottled is fine), now covers sauce with a mixture of cheeses; mozzarella, cheddar and Monterrey work well. Top it off with sautéed onions, peppers and some shredded cooked chicken seasoned with cumin and chili powder. I like to serve some coleslaw on the side to garnish the pizza with a cool crunch. Brush your pizza pan with a little olive oil and sprinkle some corn meal on it for a crisper crust. Notice I give no real measurements on ingredients because this recipe is only a suggestion and guide. Bake at 425-450 degrees for about 20 minutes. You might want to add the chicken during the last 5 minutes to avoid overcooking it. Now enjoy!

Good - Better - Best

Mother of Food and I were out playing video poker the other night at the Tuscany Suites & Casino when we decided to take a dinner break. Our choice for the evening was the Cantina Mexican Restaurant. We eat there frequently and find the food consistently tasty. As soon as your seated one of the friendly staff brings you a warm bowl of chips and three different dips - salsa, Pico de Gallo and an addictive warm bean dip. All dinners are served with Mexican rice and refried beans. Our entrees that evening were Pollo Boracho, a grilled chicken breast, sautéed with rosemary garlic sauce and topped with cactus and cheese and Camarones Ranchero, shrimp sautéed with bell peppers, onions and ranchero sauce.

If your in the mood for good Mexican food at reasonable prices the Cantina would be a good value, and if you have a 2 for 1 coupon an even better value, and if you can pay the rest with comps, that is the best deal of all.

Location - 5 minutes east of strip on Flamingo Blvd.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Phoenicia Restaurant

The other night I was taken to a new restaurant in Glendale, well sort of a new restaurant. Apparently the Phonecia Restaurant had been in Glendale on the same corner of Central and Lexington years and years ago. Phonecia serves traditional Lebanese Food. We were greeted very warmly by the staff and sat in the fairly empty, but elegant dining room. There is a tented area outside where it seemed like more of the action was and the restaurant seemed to get busier as the evening progressed.

My husband and I shared the "Arz" meal for two. This combination included just about every Middle Eastern favorite of ours, hummus, falafel, kebabs, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, rice, salad, stuffed grape leaves, rice, a never ending basket of warm pita, and other dishes I had never tried before and couldn't name. There was a tremendous amount of food that the two of us, our two children, and the two adults with us (who had their own entrees) could not even come close to finishing.

Based on this visit, I would recommend Phonecia. I am sure I will go back for more.

Phoenicia Restaurant
343 N Central Ave
Glendale, CA 91203

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recipe for Yogurt

Since some of the readers may not read our comments, I am going to post Son of Food's comment from the last post including a recipe for yogurt here:

The white cups are totally unnecessary. I still have the old Salton yogurt maker, but it's in storage. You can make it in any kind of container that's handy, as long as you can keep it warm.

Scald about a quart of milk (about 6-8 min. in the microwave or just short of boiling on the stove, when you see bubbles forming around the edge of the pot). Let it cool to about 95 degrees F (use an instant read thermometer) and add about two heaping tablespoons of yogurt, stir, and keep it warm for about 8 hours.

The old yogurt maker with the white cups kept it warm automatically. Lately I just wrap the container in a towel and leave it over the gas pilot on our stove. On a hot day, you can just wrap it in a towel. Another alternative is to put it in the microwave for about 30 sec. every couple of hours.

A Food Memory

Translucent white cups cook slowly, evenly, mysteriously multiplying bacteria in the corner of our kitchen. This bacteria is good bacteria, we want it to reproduce. Soon the white cups will fill to the top with slippery white gelled liquid to which we will add fruit or preserves. From when he was a young man, in High School or earlier, maybe Middle School, my Brother made his own Yogurt. At the time I thought the practice was an odd hobby, maybe something my Brother did to help save money on the grocery bill or as an investigative chemistry experiment. We ate this homemade yogurt a lot. It was good. As we moved on with life... he went to college, I went to college... soon we were separated by time, an entire continent, and an ocean of mediocre yogurt. Battling weight, I lived off of low fat dreck for years. The plastic sheen of pastel pink and yellow cultures engulfed damaged, dye infused, soggy fruits. It doesn't compare. I miss the old yogurt, the yogurt from those white cups.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What does Grandson of Food eat?

Okay, okay, Father of Food and Family of Food, I’ll write for the ‘blog, but only if I can include pictures. I like to make pictures, and I like to make food, so maybe I’ll make my own little food photo diary within the Family of Food ‘blog.

“What does Grandson of Food eat at the age of one year?”--you may wonder. I thought this would be an easy way into this ‘blog thing. Fortunately he’s not hard to cook for. He likes the same kinds of simple, fresh foods that we like. Sometimes he eats organic baby food from a jar, as long as it isn’t something trying to be more than it is while being blander than what it’s trying to be. One night we were having pasta and a tomato sauce with a friend, so we offered him some baby food pasta, and he was quickly bored with it. We added a little sauce from our pasta, though, and he ate it right up, so within reason, we don’t worry about “too spicy” anymore.

For breakfast he sometimes has yogurt or we make him pureed fruit like pears or applesauce. He doesn’t like apples that are too tart, but he loves aromatic apples, like Ida Reds or Galas. One night when he was upset and crying, I just gave him an apple to hold, and he was so happy. He would have bit into it, if he had more teeth. I just quarter them and steam them in a pot with a little water for about 10-20 minutes peels, cores, stems and all. The peels give the fruit a little more flavor and a reddish color. Then I put them through this KitchenAid fruit and vegetable strainer that purees the fruit and separates out the stems, seeds, and peels, and that’s it. Nothing could be simpler.

Once I brought Grandson of Food along to watch me make the applesauce, but he was afraid of the cylinder of waste peels and stems coming out the end of the strainer cone, so for now he doesn’t watch.

You could do it without the fancy stand mixer attachment, just using a food mill or a potato ricer, but the KitchenAid saves the tasks of peeling and coring by separating the waste. For larger quantities, they also offer a bigger food tray that slides over the grinder attachment to make things even easier.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sweets for Dinner

It's 4:40 in the morning. I've been up for a while. One cupcake, two cookies, chex mix, two spiked hot chocolates, and a glass of wine do not make for a pleasant evening. Tummy aching holidays.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hammy Hanukkah or (Chanukah)

Last week one of the great gourmet markets in NYC - Balducci's offered a sale on delicious Chanukah hams. When the mistake was discovered (Jews don’t eat pork products unless it's Chinese or BBQ)). It was rumored that Balducci's offered those offended an invitation to a free brunch on Yom Kippur day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Amy Sedaris + Food + Crafts

If you're crafty, and I know some of the Family of Food readers are, check out Amy Seadaris' Craft Challange. This contest makes sure every food has a face.

Put Googly eyes on your favorite foods and enter them in the contest. You may win a signed copy of Amy's book "I Like You", which I have and love, and a fake cake handmade to order from Amy.

Happy Food Crafting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

It's Latke Time!

The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is here and along with the candles and the dreidles come Latkes. Latkes are a potato pancake fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil that kept the lights burning for 8 days in the Holy Temple.

My Mother in Law told me that her family used to have a traditional German meal of Potato Latkes for the Christian Holiday of Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The way she described those potato latkes was just like the way good Hanukkah latkes are made.

The cultures of humanity are intertwined in so many ways. People are always looking for the differences in each other, but we are so much the same. Let us celebrate this holiday season by remembering that we are all family. Let us celebrate with a potato.

Classic Potato Latkes


1 – 1½ pounds potatoes, cleaned and peeled.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 medium onion, finely grated
Salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying


Grate potatoes into long strips, over a large bowl of cold water. Transfer grated potatoes from water into another bowl. Pour off water from first bowl, reserving potato schmutz (residue). Add residue to potatoes.
Add eggs and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste (but don’t actually taste it because it has raw eggs). Mix well by hand.
Fill a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with about 1/2 inch of oil and heat until very hot, about 385 degrees.
Drop about 5 or 6 heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture into the frying pan. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn latkes over, and cook on the other side until golden brown, about another 3 minutes.

Serve with Applesauce and Sour Cream.

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