Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots, Baby Bok Choy with Sesame-Maple Sauce and Gamja Jorim

For Christmas dinner, I did the Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots and the Baby Bok Choy with Sesame-Maple Sauce that I had done previously. I also added the Gamja Jorim that I did a test run with before – except this time I roasted the potatoes in the oven at 425° for 35 minutes.

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I decided to do a compare and contrast with the 2012 and 2013 versions of Bourbon Little Brother from The Commons Brewery.

Chicken Shawarma, Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash, Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers & Garlic

Chicken Shawarma:

This recipe is based on May Bsisu’s recipe from her cookbook The Arab Table. I’ve done my best to pare this recipe down for two versus the ten servings it was originally written for. I also grill is, instead of cooking it in the oven and skip the twenty cloves of garlic sauce that it is supposed to be served with.

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp white vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp white pepper
A pinch grated nutmeg
A pinch ground clove
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 pebble-size piece of mastic, crushed
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and cut into 2 by ½-inch pieces

Make a marinade by combining the lemon juice with the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, salt, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and mastic in a shallow baking dish. Place the chicken in the marinade and toss the pieces to coat them all over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.

Preheat grill to 400°F.

Using your hands, squeeze the chicken pieces dry of the marinade-it is important to rid them of as much liquid as possible. Put the meat on skewers and grill for 3 minutes. Flip the skewers over, and grill for another 3 minutes.

Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash:

This is one of my favorite dishes from Toro Bravo that I have been trying to decipher. The recipe turned up in a recent issue of Portland Monthly, that you can find here. The version they serve at the restaurant usually is garnished with mint, but there’s mention of it in the recipe…

Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers & Garlic:

This is one of my regular recipes that I’ve cooked before. You can find the recipe here.

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I decided to go with a bottle of the Saison Du Blodgett from Upright Brewing.

Beef Negimaki, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Yakitori, Gamja Jorim and Spring Mix Salad with Miso Vinegrette

Beef Negimaki and Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Yakitori:

When I lived in Atlanta, there was – and still is – a Japanese restaurant called Ru San’s. It was one of my favorite restaurants due to their wide selection of izakaya. The Beef Negimaki and Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Yakitori were two of the dishes that I have tried to replicate.

For the Beef Negimaki, I get the beef already sliced (for Sukiyaki) at a local Japanese market – Uwajimaya. I cut the green onions to size, then wrap with the beef around them – one piece at a time and then put onto the skewers. Same with the Asparagus, this time using the bacon. I then coat the meat with store bought Yakatori sauce (making it from scratch is pretty labor intensive and I don’t happen to have any chicken bones or sake laying around). Grill them – using indirect heat (since they do tend to flame up) – on high heat until cooked. Usually about 3 to 4 minutes a side.

Gamja Jorim:

Not too long ago, I had Gamja Jorim (감자 조림) for the first time at a local Korean Restaurant called Jang Choong Dong Wang Jok Bal (a.k.a. JCD Korean Restaurant). I found a recipe online and decided to give it a try. Next time, I think I’ll will broil the potatoes – after boiling them – in the oven to get them nice and crispy…

Spring Mix Salad with Miso Vinegrette:

The recipe for this can be found here.

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I went with a bottle of the Far West Vlaming from Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales.

Merguez Sausage with Harissa Sauce and Romanesco with Green Olives and Capers

When I was at Pastaworks, they had some merguez sausage that looked pretty tasty. I decided grill them with the harrisa sauce I had cooked previously and pair that with a romanesco recipe that I had been wanting to try (which you can find here).

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As to what to drink, I decided to go with a bottle of the Sahati – a beer that uses Spruce branches in the brewing process – from The Ale Apothecary.