Sunday, December 20, 2009

31.0 The Other White Christmas

Starring Erin & Mike and Adam & Josh
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood
Soundtrack: “Hanover Winter Song” by Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians

“For the wolf-wind is wailing at the doorways”

It’s cold tonight, but not as cold as it’s going to be. Give when you can to the hungry and poor (though, jeez, aren’t we all a bit needy these days). Often Erin and I will look around our apartment, and though it’s no penthouse, we are relatively, in this day and age, well-enough off: roof over our heads, TV, computer, subscription to Netflix… When I complain, it’s briefly, and followed immediately by guilt, and then gratitude.

It’s Christmastime (and the holidays for other faiths and non-faiths as well). But it’s a bit like Whoville this year (though try finding a box of Who-pudding – is it an east coast food, like Sunny Doodles?). What I mean is the obvious – the continuing effects of the recession. I saw three signs that tell me the “Holiday Spirit” has his work cut out for him this year:

The gruel appears to be thinner and perhaps even sourer than Magoo’s.

I saw a sidewalk Santa whose beard was attached with scotch tape. Sadly, it was his own beard.

We’ll only have 10 Days of Christmas this season. The lords a ‘leaping were laid-off, and four calling birds called in sick with, surprisingly, the flu.

But not unlike those Vicar of Winkfield pear-shaped citizens of Whoville, we don’t need “things” to enjoy the magic of this season. We don’t need “stuff” or “junk” to bring us joy. And really, don’t most of us have enough things and stuff and junk already? I mean, really, a portable phone?

The only “stuff” we really need is food, uh, stuff. Luckily, we have food. And Erin and I would like to share it with you. Not the food, per se, but the secret (well, it’s a secret to me) to making the food. Let the Christmas magic begin!

Returning to the Sellwood Kitchen after… Good King Wenceslas, it’s been six months! It’s Adam & Josh (which means we’ve consumed a lot of gluten since then). But now, a delicious gluten-free recipe! I’m almost certain it’s Santa-approved (and judging by the sprawl of his bowlful, a dumpster sundae could find a place on his menu board).

So today’s meal is a dumpster sundae (nah, nah) – it’s Sweet & Sour Pork. With broccoli and steamed rice! Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than tacos, but it’s no filet mignon (who’s eating that anyway these days?). Still, this meal fed four of us and I had leftovers the next day.

And how was it? Hark, the hungry angels (yeah, right) sing:

Erin: It’s so tender it cuts with a fork.

Adam: It’s senior-friendly. (Erin cocks her head toward me. The Boys laugh.)

Mike: What? What’d I miss?

Adam: You – you’re the senior. (Mike groans.)

It’s good to be together, to show our Christmas decorations: The ceramic Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus (the former a twenty-nine year old prize, the latter painted by my mother) in front of the fireplace; the talking leg lamp crate ornament; the ruby-beaded figurine we call Eva Gabor; the framed Christmas albums on the wall.

Earlier we’d visited Adam & Josh’s to view their holiday home (please silently preface each item with the word “antique”): Christmas sheet music; the “Glolite Happi-Santa” (so creepy from a certain angle I suspect heathens were behind its production); baubles & bulbs & books by the sash / they even displayed the last can of Who-hash!

Anyway, may your days be merry & bright and may we bring that same light into the lives of those around us! Merry Christmas from Erin & Mike and the whole gang at the Sellwood Kitchen!


1 Boneless pork loin
Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, ginger
1 small onion, chopped
½ Cup white wine

The Pork: Heat a skillet on medium high. Season the Pork loin on both sides with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and a dash of ginger. Sear the pork loin for about two minutes on each side, until just it starts to brown. Place browned pork loin in baking dish surrounded by chopped onion, with wine, and into 350 degree oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let sit for about five minutes before cutting.

Sauce: (double or triple this recipe, it only makes about one cup)
¼ Cup brown sugar
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Ketchup
2 tsp Corn starch dissolve in 4 Tbsp water

Mix all ingredients except corn starch mixture into sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to a simmer, add corn starch mixture and stir until thickened.

Slice pork and serve over rice with sweet and sour sauce.

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at: