tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


Faux-warma or Yes, We Watched Avengers

Dear E,

I'm not sure about you + G, but N and I seem to have a default meal plan. If we can't come up with anything, we tend to go back to the ol' standard of something vaguely middle eastern, usually faux-shawarma (not cooked on a spit) and tabbouleh.

This time around, I wanted to do something mezze-style and make a number of different smaller dishes. Tabbouleh, fattoush, roasted chickpeas, stuffed grape leaves, tzatziki, marinated feta.

One of my favorite salads is fattoush, a Levantine bread salad made with toasted or fried pita bread. Back in DC, Lebanase Taverna makes a delicious version that their menu describes as "PEASANT SALAD lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radish, mint, parsley, toasted pita chips, pomegranate & sumac dressing."


Using that description as a starting point I threw together that combination of ingredients in proportions that looked right (cooking by color). When it came to the dressing, I wasn't sure what to do. I thought I remembered a thin, yogurt-based dressing on Lebanese Taverna's version, so I tried my hand at a garlic-and-yogurt dressing with sumac and lemon juice. It wasn't quite right, though it was edible.

I actually just found this recipe online, that details their version of this salad and that dressing. I am going to have to try again, I guess! Pomegranate molasses in the dressing, interesting...

I found a jar of grape leaves in the pantry and decided to make stuffed grape leaves. I halved this recipe but otherwise followed it fairly closely and they turned out very well. Very simple! Reheated (I prefer them warm) the leftovers were just as good.

stuffed plate

I think N would say that the lamb was not up to his standards, but it reheated great.

I used David Lebovitz's marinated feta recipe using fresh herbs from the garden and some red pepper flake. It really didn't sit long enough before we ate it; next time I'd give it 3-4 days before serving.

Along with dinner, we tasted a number of beers. I bet you didn't expect to have the #1 American beer (via Zymurgy reader poll), Russian River brewing Co's Pliny the Elder! It is one of my favorites and relatively difficult to come by. Thanks to N for picking up a couple of bottles.

Beer lineup

[Beers, L-R: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, Hair of the Dog Blue Dot Double IPA (another favorite of mine), RRBC Pliny the Elder, Left Coast Hop Juice, and Laurelwood Gearhead IPA. ]

What, Settlers again??!


I was surprised when N suggested that we play Settlers two weeks in a row! By winning again, I think I may have cured him of suggesting we play it again next week.

After a round of Settlers, we played a bit of Uno and G managed to put us all to shame. I'll get him next time!

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