2003 Holiday Party: An Arab Menu

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My original plan for my 2003 Holiday party was to go with an African theme. I had just gotten a new African cookbook and I was eager to use it. Unfortunately I couldn't find enough Pan-African recipes that sounded both yummy and good for a party. So I nixed the idea and decided, somewhat reluctantly, to go with an Arab theme. The reluctance was based only on the fact that I had already thrown a couple of parties highlighting Arab food, the last one only a couple of years before, and I didn't want to bore my guests too much. Still, Arab food is both delicious and really good for parties, and there is something to be said about going with a known quantity.

For my menu I chose local favorites from different parts of the Arab world. I was surprised at how good most of the food was and I would recommend most of these recipes. I wanted to minimize the work, so I relied on Trader Joe's for some of the basics. The final menu consisted of:

  • Peanuts
  • Olives
  • Pita and french bread (storebought)
  • Sliced cucumber and baby carrots
  • Hummus (storebought)
    sprinkled with paprika for a more authentic appearance
  • Cucumber Yogurt Dip
  • Spinach & cheese philo pastries (bought at Costco)
  • Fattoush
    A Syrio-Lebanese salad with pita bread
  • Baked Kibbeh
    Another Syrio-Lebanese specialty
  • Bastilla
    A delicious chicken pie from Morocco
  • Cream-puffs (storebought)
    for dessert, because I don't like Arab sweets.

One of my friends also brought wonderful smoked salmon and his incredible slow-cooked ribs. Not very Arab but delicious nonetheless :).

I had planned to serve several other things (felafel, kusharie, halvah, etc.) but I run out of time to prepare them before my guests arrived (OK, the halvah I forgot to buy). We still had more than enough food.

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