Perhaps you have already heard that Tuesday is Christmas Day.
Christmas, of course, means family, friends, and food (though some will argue it also means presents). Sometimes, it is impossible to cook food yourself, or maybe you are spending the day alone and it is just too depressing to eat a meal by yourself on Christmas. Some people are simply bad cooks, or are afraid they are, and they would rather not try to cook a Christmas meal themselves.
For these and other reasons, a fair number of people find themselves looking for a restaurant that is open on Christmas. In the past, this column has itself searched for places to eat on Dec. 25. We can assure you of this: They can be hard to find.
So two weeks ago in this space, we put out a call to local restaurateurs, asking who among them is going to be open on Christmas Day. We heard back from very few, which either means that only a handful of restaurants are going to be open on Christmas or that this column is not as widely read as we’d hoped.
After calling a few places we also thought might be open, we have come up with what is probably not a definitive list. But at least it’s a start:
• Boston Market, 3808 Secor Rd., open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with a limited menu of holiday-related poultry dishes.
• Country Pride Restaurant, 3654 Libbey Rd., in the Travel Centers of America truck stop at the end (or beginning) of I-280.
• Denny’s, all locations. They say they’re always open, and they mean it.
• Happy Rose Buffet, 5335 Airport Hwy., with a huge buffet of Chinese food and some Japanese specialties.
• Holiday Inn Perrysburg — French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike, serving a Christmas buffet from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., along with regular breakfast and dinner.
• Hong Kong Buffet, 3015 Glendale Ave., another huge buffet of primarily Chinese food with offerings from other Asian countries.
• Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center, 1750 State Park Rd. 2, Oregon, Christmas brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Park Inn, 101 N. Summit St., serving its regular menu.
A celiac concern
We recently received a letter from a concerned mother. Two of her three adult children recently tested positive for celiac disease, which damages the small intestine, keeping it from absorbing some important elements of food. It is aggravated by eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye.
It is the hottest disease around at the moment, and some people even treat it as a fad. Because of its popularity, a large number of foods are being marketed as gluten-free, and a number of restaurants are offering menu choices it says are gluten-free.
The problem, according to the mother, is that the restaurant claims of being gluten-free are sometimes stretched beyond the point of actual factuality. A lot of people, including some restaurant personnel, are not aware that gluten is hidden in many unexpected places such as mashed potatoes (some are extended with flour), salad dressings, and most varieties of soy sauce.
This woman’s children have been sickened to the point of not being able to go to work the next day by eating at restaurants that did not know which foods have gluten in them. She asks that all area restaurants tell their waitstaff precisely which of their foods are made with gluten, and which are not.
The hottest grain of the moment is quinoa (though it is actually a seed and it may soon be overtaken by farro, anyway). Always on the lookout for a way to get people to use their product, the folks at Nakano vinegars have sent along a delicious-looking (but we haven’t actually tried it) recipe for Quinoa Steak Salad. The quinoa needs to be cooked several hours in advance to have time to properly chill in the refrigerator.
Quinoa Steak Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa (see cook’s note)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, roasted garlic flavor
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
¼-½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2-3 tablespoons diced red onion
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 steaks, 4-6 ounces each
Ground cumin to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook’s note: One cup of raw quinoa makes about four cups cooked.
Prepare quinoa according to the package. Cool for 15 minutes, then spread out on a shallow dish or tray. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
For dressing, stir together 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar, oil, salt and hot pepper sauce. Transfer chilled quinoa to a medium bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and the 2 tablespoons additional rice vinegar. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of the cilantro; stir.
For salsa, combine the remaining dressing with tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and the remaining cilantro; stir.
Coat a heavy frying pan with a little oil. Rub about ½ teaspoon cumin on each side of each steak. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until done as desired.
Lay lettuce leaves on four plates. Divide quinoa among each plate. Place cooked steaks on top and spoon salsa over.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: (6 oz. steaks): 540 calories, 38g protein, 44g carb, 24g fat (5g sat. fat), 90mg chol, 810mg sodium, 7g fiber
Source: Nakano vinegar
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