Andice hosted brunch this month in their lovely Los Feliz apartment.
For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Los Feliz is a charming trendy neighborhood in East Los Angeles with the tiniest little movie theater, an insane number of delicious local restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating, a couple unique book shops and small houses with bright green yards and fruit trees. It is bordered by Griffith Park, one of my favorite places in the city, and Silver Lake, an even trendier neighborhood full of dive bars, artists and Tomato Pie (home of "The Grandma" pizza). Also, around these parts it is pronounced, "Los FEE-less", not "Los Feh-LEES", the way you may be inclined to say it if you ever took Spanish I. The neighborhood has a great community-type feeling. People walk places.
Andy and Candice are Canadians. In case you don't know, that means they are very nice and good-spirited people who like to walk a lot. Their home was lovely (especially the bathroom with deep purple walls). But this month was the month of interrogations in three parts:
1. It was not easy to believe that Elliott made baklava. Considering it is quite the process to make it from scratch, I was intrigued. It was presented in a casserole dish and not a store bought box, but I thought a little investigating was in order. Apparently, he was taught by a friend. He explained to a room full of wide-eyed ladies exactly what goes into the exotic dessert, batting down every ounce of my suspicion. Impressed.
2. Sue, Natalie and Emily demanded answers from the brunch guests as to whether or not they would be attending or at least interested in the ski trip they are in the midst of planning. The deadline for final answers is Zach's birthday, December 20th.
3. Candice's friend, Gabe, was visiting from Winnipeg, a Canadian city just north of North Dakota. The weather there is below freezing which is really all I need to know as far as specific temperature is concerned. Gabe works as a reporter for a newspaper and covers hard-hitting stories. I almost did not need to be told that she was Canadian or a reporter. I gathered both by her pleasantly charming and inquisitive nature. She had a lot of questions for me about what I had forgotten could be interesting to those who do not work in the entertainment industry.
The line up for these brunches is getting really obnoxious. We've got people making insanely difficult and involved dishes. I am proud of my fellow brunchers this week. Here we go:
This month's **WINNER OF THE BITE ME BLOG BRUNCH DISH** December edition goes to:
SUBE'S Poppy Seed Cake:
My love for this dense, moist cake started when I saw Sue soaking the poppy seeds in vanilla and milk the day before Brunch. It almost had the consistency of a muffin top and was delicious with the whipped cream and fresh berries.
ELLIOTT'S Homemade Baklava:
It was incredible.
NATALIE'S Homemade Croissants:
I mean really, people...the competition is so stiff. This was impressive. Some were regular and some were filled with chocolate.
EMILY'S Stuffed Tomatoes:
The stuffing was a creamy corn mixture. No problems eating our veggies here!
BREANNA'S Breakfast Casserole:
This really hit the spot! So warm and hearty.
ANDICE'S French Toast:
I have not had French Toast in years, but now it is all I can think about. The only questions is: Eggnog French Toast or Gingerbread? Oh, yeh, okay. Both.
SUBE'S Rice Pudding:
I did not know I liked rice pudding, but I definitely do.
Lindzachary's Stuffed Jalapeños Wrapped in Bacon:
(recipe from one of the best food blogs around, The Pioneer Woman)
Bacon is just so good. However, I made a huge mistake one time in making these. I used turkey bacon. Turkey bacon may be good as a side dish for eggs, but it is not good for wrapping. It was not as crispy as I had hoped. Don't use turkey bacon; the fat from regular kind is there for a reason. Let us never forget that.
15 jalapeno peppers
8 ounces cream cheese
15 strips of bacon (don't use the thick kind)
Rinse the jalapeños and preheat the oven to 375 F.
Put on some latex or kitchen gloves. The jalapeno seeds will leave your hands feeling like they are on fire for hours after if you handle them directly.
Slice the jalapenos legnthwise, and hollow out the seeds.
Use a small spoon or potato peeler to scrape out the seeds and white membrane out of the inside. Soak the hollowed peppers in some water. Any extra seeds will float to the top. (the seeds are what pack the heat so if you can handle it, you may choose to leave a few in there).
Pat the jalapenos dry with a cloth towel on the inside and on the outside.
Fill the inside of each one with cream cheese.
Wrap one half slice of bacon around each stuffed pepper, and secure with a toothpick.
Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes (you may want to turn up the heat for the last 5 minutes to get the bacon to crisp up).