A friend just told me she’ll be eating 12 Grapes at midnight and an Orange on New Year’s Day. After reading an article on Lucky New Year’s Day Foods, she wants to do all she can to have an amazing 2010. Instead of Grapes, she’ll be eating Raisins since they’re on-hand. She says they’re still Grapes (technically once true), but I told her she needs actual Grapes if she’s gonna do it right, HA. Who knows? Happy New Year with or without Grapes, Oranges, Round Cakes and Breads, Noodles, Fish, Black-Eyed Peas, Pomegranates and other regional lucky foods.
I’m not sure if the following hangover remedies actually work, but thought the information was interesting and may be helpful to some. Hopefully I won’t need ‘em this year, but it’s handy just in case.
COFFEE: While Coffee does NOT help sober you up, it can provide some relief for that pounding headache.
RAW EGGS: Salvation for hangover sufferers could lie in downing raw Eggs as they contain a chemical ingredient called N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). It is thought that NAC boosts the body’s ability to mop up destructive chemicals called free radicals, which build up in the liver as enzymes break down alcohol. Free radicals are normally destroyed by a naturally occurring enzyme called glutathione, but reserves can be low after periods of heavy drinking.
BURIED UP TO YOUR NECK IN SAND: In Ireland, it’s said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand. I don’t think I’ll be doing this.
PICKLE JUICE: In Poland, drinking Pickle Juice is a common remedy.
Now why Fernet-Branca? Fernet (pictured) is a type of spirit known as an Amaro – Italian for ‘bitter’. One theory is that the bitterness is a cure for the body to begin producing saliva and digestive juices. Herbalists say that it’s the combination of herbs found in Fernet that make it the ideal cure. More than 40 barks, roots, herbs, fungi and spices go into Fernet. These include Myrrh, Orris Root, Saffron and Cinchona Bark. In fact, when the original formula was conceived in 1845, it was born as a medicine. Decades later, Fernet is recognized as being healthful. Give it a try, if necessary.
If you’re looking for somewhere fun to go on New Year’s Eve, I just published a compilation of events happening in Orange County. As the Orange County Food Examiner on Examiner.com, I’ve provided several links to help you determine where to eat, drink, dance, laugh, sing and kiss on New Year’s Eve. And if you plan on drinking, please have a designated driver or take a taxi — It’ll help us all start 2010 off on the right foot. Happy New Year!
During the holiday season, it’s good to have products on-hand that will help create an instant party. It’s reported that a handful of Mezzetta products and little advance preparation can create the ultimate 20-Minute Mezzetta Miracle Party. I succumbed to the challenge by creating the above hot and cold appetizer platter. With Mezzetta’s Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, Garlic Stuffed Olives and Artichoke Hearts (l-r) – I made a Hot Artichoke Dip with the addition of Sour Cream, Mayo, Parmesan Cheese and Chopped Jalapenos, and a quick cold Goat Cheese and Sun-Ripened Dried Tomato Dip using just that, then served all with Garlic Stuffed Olives, Crackers and Pita Chips. The swift combination was appreciated by pop-in guests and took about 25 minutes to prepare, baking time included. I’ve enjoyed Mezzetta’s products for years and always have ‘em in the pantry for a spontaneous party like this one.
Have you ever made a Dutch Baby? It’s a German Pancake that’s easy to make and impressive to serve. It’ll definitely be on the menu at my next brunch party. I located several recipes for Dutch Baby Pancakes, but ultimately prepared the one in this video – Then served it with Powdered Sugar, Blackberries, Blueberries and Strawberries.
Above photos follow along with the video / recipe used to prepare this Dutch Baby. Next time I might squeeze in a little Lemon or a teaspoon of Cinnamon and Sugar to add more flavor to the batter (Eggs, Flour, Milk, Salt). Without much effort, Dutch Babies make special desserts and mid-morning treats that consistently wow guests.
Merry Christmas to you and God bless us ALL! We thank the Lord for all the amazing nourishments on earth and for so much more. Have a wonderful Christmas.
* Photo is of the Seared Ahi Sashimi we recently enjoyed at the Yard House. Its colors are vibrant like a joyous day.
I never thought I’d do this in a million years — Broil Romaine Lettuce in the oven before chopping it for a Salad. Usually wanting the freshest, most chilled Lettuce for a Salad, broiling Romaine would seem out of the question. After having my first Grilled Romaine Salad from a restaurant, I was hooked on the smokey flavor imparted into the Lettuce with a quick grilling. It’s now one of my favorite Salads.
To copycat it, I made grilled Romaine on the BBQ, but this evening it was too cold and rainy. We only have an outdoor grill. Since Romaine was on hand and I really wanted this Salad, I desperately broiled the Lettuce in the oven for (1) minute. It worked (a little) — It’s a simple runner-up if you can’t grill it on a BBQ. The above Romaine was tossed in a bag with Italian Dressing before broiling it. It wasn’t bad at all and I’ve already made it again. It’s dubbed the Romaine Runner-Up.
Our Family Feud Show finally airs tonight at 6:00PM on KCAL Channel 9. If you’re local tune in. We’ll be poppin’ open a bottle of Champagne to toast the money we won. Yeah! We played as the Breneman Family from Orange County, California.
* Our show airs on December 23rd & 24th at 6PM on Channel 9 (KCAL).
We finally visited Tapas Restaurant Night Club in Newport Beach near the John Wayne Airport — It’s only been open about 16 years. Under the Hot and Cold Tapas Menu, we tried the Lamb Chops Madrilenas, Cheese Fundido and Artichoke Toasts.
We prefer to emphasize the positive on Nibbles of Tidbits, but we’re also truthful in our reports. I deferred the Tapas review to my dinner guest, who wants to remain anonymous (she’s infamous, ha). She wrote the following:
After wondering for years about Tapas Restaurant Night Club in Newport Beach, we finally got the chance to visit this venerable institution, which has been tucked away in a strip mall for the last 16 years. The dictionary definition of Tapas is “small snacks that are often served as an appetizer along with alcoholic drinks, originally from Spain” — Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, after our visit tonight our conclusion is that this concept is all tapped out.
First, the restaurant itself has lost whatever appeal it used to have on a visceral level — it is now dirty, dusty and damaged. Second, the food sounds good on the menu but it is just plain BLAH. For example, the Artichoke Hearts tasted like they came straight out of a can (they even had that can smell to them). The bread was stale and tasteless and the Cheese “Fundido” — which was baked Manchego and Goat Cheese with Spanish Chorizo – sounded divine but was barely edible (congealed). Ditto with regard to the bland Potato (Bomba). The only good Tapas we tasted was the Lamb Chops.
Equally tasteless was the décor, with broken tiles lining the floors everywhere and Spanish outfits hanging from the walls that were literally covered in dust. Finally, we were served on plates that did not even remotely match! In sum, don’t bother with Tapas as they are all tapped out.
Tapas Restaurant Night Club’s sustainability must be through the night club, bar and entertainment. We wish all restaurants well, thus hope they take more pride in their Tapas (for its namesake and for Pete’s sake), and why not tidy things up a bit?!
We’re celebrating the holidays with lots of family and friends, and thus have been holdin’ on to several insightful reports that’ll be posted on Nibbles of Tidbits soon. Delicious Ham leftovers are the commodity of the week — Merry Christmas to me.
One of our Guest Bloggers, Bonnie recently visited and reviewed Tavern Restaurant in Brentwood (Los Angeles). She came back raving about their décor, since she’s an Interior Designer, she’s keen to that angle in her reports.
Bonnie’s Review starts HERE:
My parents recommended we spend our Thanksgiving Day at Tavern, a new place in Brentwood (Los Angeles) they had been to twice before in the last 6 months, which served as a good enough recommendation for me. They raved about the hamburger they shared on both occasions, and I was curious after looking at their website and reading the reviews on City Search and Trip Advisor.
Upon arriving for our meal at the slightly unusual time of 1:00 p.m., I was immediately struck by the impressive décor. Designed by fellow interior designer Jeffrey Alan Marks, the former home of Hamburger Hamlet has been completely transformed into an elegant tri-part restaurant. The linear design of the building’s interior consists of a quaint, casual bakery/deli/cafe to the left of the main entrance, a dark yet comfortable bar area on the other side of the entry and once through there, a starkly bright formal dining room.
After being seated at one of the exquisite dining tables that ring the room, our meal began with a persimmon and pomegranate salad with arugula, local walnuts and brie (seal bay triple cream). What a perfect start – especially because I have never tasted persimmons before – and they were quite a treat! The main course was (naturally) herb roasted organic turkey breast and stuffed leg with mashed potatoes and gravy.
While the turkey was good, it was the presentation of the fixings which got my attention as they were all served “family style” in the middle of the table: “Moms” traditional and Suzanne’s chestnut prune and cavolo stuffing; sweet potatoes with sherry and roasted shallots; Brussels sprouts with pancetta and thyme; Italian broccoli with garlic and chili and traditional cranberry sauce. For the finale, the desserts tasted as good as they looked — pumpkin pie and candied pecan with vanilla ice cream and a dollop of whipped sweet cream.
In fact, this was one of the more memorable holiday meals that I have had in a long time, as much as for the personal and attentive service as for the presentation and quality of their food. Suzanne Goin is the Executive Chef and I can’t wait to go back there and try her hamburger, which is why my parents recommended her newest L.A. area restaurant, Tavern, in the first place.
Thanks for the informative report Bonnie – Now I can’t wait to try the Hamburger too. Since Tavern’s Thanksgiving meal was so good, I’ve attached their New Years Eve Menu as an option for the festivities.
Update (04/05/10): Tavern was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in L.A., by Los Angeles Magazine (March 2010).
I made French Toast with the last slice of Panettone. It’s not the best photo above, but the Panettone French Toast Recipe is a good one. It’s a taste combination of Bread Pudding and French Toast, if that makes sense. I often like adding citrus zest to recipes, thus appreciate the Orange Zest in this French Toast. And now I’m truly a Panettone lover — I want more. After all these years, I didn’t know this traditional Italian Sweet Bread was so delicious.
And the winner of the Giant Panettone, plus Bauducco’s amazing Panettone with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips is… Kat Foster. Congratulations Kat! We’ll be contacting you shortly to learn where to send your prize. Thanks to all who entered. We wish we could have given another Panettone to Vic, Alexis, Kathy and Jade for their diligent entries and touching stories. We sincerely appreciate all.
NOTE: Nibbles of Tidbits always draws its contest winners fair and square, which is out of a hat, box or jar of folded names of all who entered.
Nibbles of Tidbits gets to decorate a lot of Cookies — Our Christmas Cookies this year seem to look a little better than those decorated last Christmas. The Cookies don’t need to look perfect, because the most fun is had decorating them with friends.
The Sugar Cookies start out naked as you can see, but gave permission to be posted here.
When starting with a blank canvas it’s hard to envision how to decorate some Cookie shapes, thus it’s helpful to view others’ Christmas Cookies for ideas. We post our Cookies each year to remind ourselves of the possibilities and to assist you with the same.
Our family, friends and co-workers appreciate the Cookies of our labor — We like hand delivering the decorated Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Dipped Oreos & Graham Crackers, and molded White Chocolate Peppermint Cottages to awaiting smiles.
Our holiday Cookie decorating tradition is always a great time — We suggest you do the same with your friends. The Nibbles of Tidbits ‘Official Cookie Crew’ includes all pictured below l-r, Michelle, Loretta, Kim, Nora, Patty (aka Tricia) and Shelly (aka Me). Merry Christmas ALL!
We posted a few Hanukkah tips on Examiner.com. This year Hanukkah is celebrated on December 11th through December 19th. Happy Hanukkah to my wonderful Jewish friends and joy to the world. We love Matzo Ball Soup.
An abundance of sliced Cucumbers leftover from a Vegetable Platter inspired the preparation of homemade Cucumber Dressing. After searching for a recipe, I used a combination of most ingredients noted in the CD Kitchen recipes. The pictured Cucumber Dressing includes Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Milk, Cucumbers, Dill, Green Onions, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. All was pureed together in a mini food processor. The flavor turned out good, but not as great as the Cucumber Dressing offered at Katella Deli, the taste I was shooting for. They serve the best I’ve currently tasted. We’ll post an exact recipe, once we fine tune it. Until then, this was an easy and fine start. We didn’t have Sour Cream nor Buttermilk on-hand, thus those ingredients may make a better Cucumber Dressing next time. We’ll experiment and report back later.
You’ve most likely seen the large Panettone boxes in stores over the years, especially around the holidays. It’s been somewhat of a peripheral thing for me, because I’d never tried it, nor really known much about it. I’ve since learned that Panettone is a Classic Italian Sweet Bread, that takes about 52 hours to make — Each tall domed loaf is made with love. I was recently offered the opportunity to try Bauducco’s Panettone. They make one with Hershey’s Chocolate Chips and another with Candied Papaya, Lime, Orange and Sun-Maid Raisins. And to be honest, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try ‘em. I’m not much of a Bread person and thought the Fruit version may be likened to an Old-Fashioned Holiday Fruit Cake, the kind many of us have avoided over the years. I now know that Panettone is much better than that and shouldn’t be compared to the aforementioned we all shun – Happily, it’s completely different. It also has an underlying Orange flavor that I really like. I’m now a Panettone lover.
Unlike the long-established American-style Fruit Cake, Panettone is light and airy with Fruit pieces spread throughout. It’s not dense, nor heavy and hard. It can be enjoyed by tearing away the sweet layers – But if you’re still weary of Bread containing Fruit, start by giving the Chocolate Chip one a try. Both are great alone or terrific when used to make French Toast or Bread Pudding.
ENTER A COMMENT to possibly WIN a 9 Pound Panettone (8.8 to be exact). The ones generally seen in stores are large enough at 2 Pounds (1.64 to be exact), thus the 9-Pounder is gigantic. The winner will receive a 9lb. Bauducco’s Fruit Panettone and a 2lb. Chocolate Chip Panettone. The GIANT Panettone could make quite the impression at your holiday party this year. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered into a drawing to have both shipped to you ASAP.
Note: You may enter this giveaway once a day from now until Sunday, 12/13/09 Midnight Pacific Time — Random drawing winner will be announced shortly thereafter and the Panettone sent when shipping information is obtained. Good luck to all!
UPDATE (10/13/09): Contest will close in a little over an hour and a winner will be announced on 10/14/09.
UPDATE (10/14/09): And the winner is…
We’re excited about the retro priced Burger and French Fries ($2.70) we had for lunch today at Ruby’s Diner. The service was excellent and the food was fresh and hot at the Irvine Spectrum location. This should have been reported earlier, but you can get the same before the close of business today (only). Maybe they’ll offer it again for their 28th Anniversary.
I haven’t verified the following, but found it very interesting. It was forwarded to me by a friend, and since it’s food related it qualifies to be shared here. I’ll be buying some Bananas tomorrow. Read on to learn about the benefits of the Banana…
A Physiological Psychology Professor at CCNY told his class about Bananas – He said the expression “Going Bananas” is from the effects of Bananas on the brain. After reading this, you’ll never look at a Banana in the same way.
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A Banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two Bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the Banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.
But energy isn’t the only way a Banana can help keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to a daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a Banana. This is because Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills – Eat a Banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, Bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and thus helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the Banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham Middlesex School in England were helped through their exams this year by eating Bananas at breakfast, during breaks and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including Bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a Banana milkshake sweetened with honey. The Banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a Banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on Bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito Bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a Banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Ulcers: The Banana is used as a dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It’s the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature Control: Many other cultures see Bananas as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat Bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking & Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. They can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium Banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating Bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%.
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of Banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a surgical tape.
A Banana is truly a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around, so maybe it’s time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, “A Banana a day keeps the doctor away.”
And finally, need a quick shine on our shoes? Take the inside of the Banana skin and rub it directly on the shoe… Polish with a dry cloth and voila. It’s an amazing fruit! Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time.