Christmas Brunch

Green Chili Strata
  • about 15 oz canned chopped green chilies
  • half a loaf of good bread--about 2 and a half cups--cubed and toasted (I used sweet onion ciabatta)
  • six eggs
  • 4 cups low fat milk
  • 3/4 lb pepperjack cheese
  • six or seven strips of bacon
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • white pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste
  • half a cup of chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. lace bread in a 9 x 17 inch casserole dish and cover with the chilies, bacon, parsley, and most of the cheese. Mix eggs, onions, milk, and seasonings, then pour over bread mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Turn the heat up in the last few minutes to brown the top, then serve with enchilada sauce or pico de gallo.

We also had quiche lorraine, with gruyere, chives, and bacon.

It was an ooey gooey Christmas!

Spotted: nothing to do with food

One side of the road, sunny skies:

You know you're in Sacramento when there are rain clouds on the other side:

Well, that, and this:


Merry Christmas!

I'm hungry--brunch isn't done yet! Mom made quiche, like she always does, and I contributed a green chili bread pudding with sinful amounts of cheese and bacon. I am so HUNGRY!!!

At our house we don't have Christmas dinners any more--although Mom has tried to convince us they used to do them, I have only dim recollections of cherry-pineapple ham and whole cloves--and instead we have a big brunch after opening presents. And now that we're all older, the presents aren't really the main event. (Except for D.) S bragged to all her friends about our "traditional" quiche lorraine and how it was so much better than any Christmas dinner. I am wont to agree, as you will be when I upload pictures tomorrow.

For now, here are pictures of our annual gingerbread house! We buy a ready-made kit and a bunch of our favorite candy from Long's--now CVS, darn! Enjoy the pictures; I'm going to go nurse my growling stomach with a big glass of water.

 The pez were my idea but S tried to take the credit. Typical.

 She did a great job on the icicles, though!


Florentine Biscotti

I'm studying up on delicious Florentine treats "to improve my Italian" (yeah, right) and occupy my time. In the US, biscotti, literally "twice-baked," is often served for breakfast or with after-dinner coffee--but Italians don't drink coffee after ten AM. So what do the Italians dunk their biscotti in? Vino, of course!

From my favorite Florentine chef, the Divina Cucina.

Traditional Biscotti

2 and 1/3 cups flour
2 and 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbs baking powder
4 eggs + 1 egg yolk

The "goodies," in my case cranberry almond and peppermint chocolate dipped, respectively, can be whatever you what! Hazelnuts are most traditional, especially for the holidays.

The first step, as in most baking recipes, is to preheat the oven. (You fail if you forget to turn it on, but this dough is so freaking delicious you might be tempted to "forget" to cook a little bit.) Anyway, 350 degrees worked pretty well for me.

I like to beat the eggs (and yolk) before adding them slowly to the dry ingredients. It was a step I made up after struggling to properly mix the first batch, and I'm not sure if it was "correct--but damn it's not like I'm actually Italian, so whatever. It made it easier to incorporate, in small bits, into the rest of the batter.

Form the dough into three loaves and bake for--well, for as long as it takes. This is the only tricky part. I wish I could give a real time for this but it was different for every loaf, but a rough estimate would be 25 to 30 minutes. It will look like a giant almost done cookie (my picture: what NOT to do). Let it rest a bit, say ten minutes, and cut into into 1/2 to 1 inch wedges, just however you like it.

Then bake again, for a total of about 20 minutes, turning them once in the oven so that all the cookies are evenly browned.


What I've been up to...

...the last six months.

I got back from Baltimore yesterday and the first thing I did, of course, was check my parents' fridge--driven not by hunger or craving but mere curiosity. What would I have to work with? What new inspirations would I find?

You and I will find out! Let's just say I've already done some damage...