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Christmas Dinner: Middle Eastern-ish, Malt Liquored, Mall 205s

christmas dinner gram

In a near Christmas miracle, I managed to squeeze in three dishes after my airbnb’ers vacated and my dinner guests showed up five hours later (far less time than it sounds like on the surface).

stuffed salamon

Cinnamony salmon stuffed with chunky garlic, walnuts, chiles and herbs could’ve stood alone, but the warm tahini sauce with more spice and garlic pulled everything together. I’m still not sure how kitchen string is any different from regular string.

christmas kibbeh

I made a modified version of this kibbeh without the rose petals and using a more equal ratio of bulgur to lamb. Increased meat might have actually been better for less stiffness, but it was a solid first try.

farro salad

I was already leaning toward farro in a more Middle Eastern style to match the other dishes when the Charlie Bird recipe surfaced. There is much to be said for salting the hell out of these grains while cooking, plus the apple cider simmer didn’t hurt either. With all the parmesan, pistachios and generous amount (am I the only one who can’t stand the forced breeziness of “glug”?) of olive oil even after cutting back a few tablespoons, this was a rich vegetarian salad. I’ve been completely indifferent to both Charlie Bird and Estela, two of 2013’s darlings. If this stellar salad is any indication, I need to lighten up and get out more.


It all paired well with Cran-brrr-ita on ice. Stronger and less gross than expected. You can’t tell from the ads that these aren’t beer cans, but V8 juice-sized. That’s probably all the malt liquor one needs.

tourtiere empanadas

I don’t bake so I was appreciative of the tourtière empanadas with a sour cherry cranberry sauce.


As well as this hybrid–prefab chocolate chip cookie dough wrapped around a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and baked–that I’m shocked to have never knowingly encountered in my entire life. The too-sweet sweet encapsulated my life so well that we came up with potential names based on Portland neighborhoods, streets and landmarks. Would you like to try a nice Clackamas, Johnson Creek (pronounced crick), Mall 205? How about a Foster, Halsey or Lovejoy?

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