Wednesday Lunch: Chicken Gyros and Vegetables with Hummus Dinner: Brats, Baked Beans and Coleslaw
It’s entirely possible that I’ve lost my mind (what little of it was still considered sane). I get a bee up my… well… and decide to make something exotic or special. Tzatziki isn’t any easier to make than it is to spell. Why did I feel the need to make homemade tzatziki? (Probably because it can’t be purchased at the grocery store and it would be expensive to purchase it at my favorite Greek restaurant). Perhaps I’m merely miffed at the unappreciative audience that pokes at the bowl and says “what’s that” in a voice that suggests that I am, in fact, feeding them smashed worms. At least I didn’t make homemade hummus. Maybe I should feed them smashed worms… Except then I would have to get worms and smash them. In truth, the tzatziki turned out beautifully. I guess sometimes it’s hard for me to remember I’m feeding a bunch of college boys. They give me free range of the menu and the kitchen and sometimes I feel the need to act out my cooking fantasies because, let’s face it, Tyler isn’t about to eat that stuff at home. In case you’re wondering tzatziki is a cucumber-yogurt sauce that is put on top of gyros. At least the guys appreciated the gyros… The chicken would have been even better had it been grilled, but I already have to grill the brats today. And, I think I’ve mentioned before my utter detestation for that specific cooking appliance.
Cooking fantasies… it just seems wrong, but I do have cooking fantasies. I fantasize that I have a lovely, state-of-the-art kitchen filled with gleaming appliances and a cupboard full of pretty dishes to show off my masterpieces. Then the pantry… ahh the pantry. The pantry and the fridge are full of top-notch farm-fresh ingredients. The pantry (which is approximately the size of my current kitchen) looks like a cross between a specialty food store and a real farmers market. There is also an herb garden somewhere nearby which really is a fantasy as I have two brown thumbs. In the fridge there is crème fraiche, butter from a local dairy and unpasteurized cheese. (Ok… I might have separate dairy fantasies, so sue me!) Then the best part… the best part of all, I make whatever I want. I make all sorts of exotic and foreign dishes. From curry (both the Indian and the Thai varieties) to ratatouille. I might even make whole meals without meat (GASP!!!). I might just come up with something on the fly. Then, there are people there to eat my creations. People who love food and don’t say “Eww, what’s that?” or ask if I’m putting onions in something (in a dear God, please don’t put onions in that voice) or rip apart a carefully constructed dish to surgically remove all traces of mushrooms. They aren’t a bunch of sycophants though, they just aren’t picky and they’re adventurous and willing to try something new. Sigh… Somehow, unless I win the lottery, I doubt these fantasies will ever come true. (In case I do win the lottery, how much do you think it would cost to hire a bunch of foodies to come over for dinner every night? I would have to change the blog name to Adventures in Gourmet Cooking.)
Here is a delicious recipe for chicken gyros with homemade tzatziki:
Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki:
For the Chicken:
4 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 large Head of Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 small container of plain yogurt (the little container, like you would have for breakfast)
½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup Olive Oil
½ cup Lemon Juice
¼ cup Dried Oregano
3 tbs Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Mix ingredients together until well blended. Pour over chicken breast, cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
Heat non-stick skillet over medium high heat (no pam or olive oil please, we want to get a good sear on the chicken. If you use a non-stick skillet it should be just fine) Add the chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown on one side, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown and cooked through (if you’re chicken is golden brown and not done in the middle, you can throw it in the microwave for a couple minutes to finish it out without burning it). Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes after cooking. Cut lengthways into thin strips. Serve on warm pita bread with tomatoes, feta, red onions and tzatziki.
Note: This would be excellent grilled.
1 large (16 ounces) container Plain Yogurt
-Or- 1 16 ounce container of Greek Yogurt (if using Greek yogurt, skip the straining step)
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs Red Wine Vinegar
4 cloves Garlic, minced very fine
1 Seedless Cucumber, peeled
1 tbs Oregano
A large dash of Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
To strain: line a colander with two heavy duty paper towels (or a few coffee filters or cheesecloth if you want to get fancy) pour yogurt over paper towels. Put the colander on top of a bowl. You want to use a bowl that is smaller than the colander so the bottom of the colander doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Cover the colander and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bowl and colander, discard the liquid in the bowl and dump the yogurt into a mixing bowl. The yogurt should be considerably thicker.
Grate the peeled cucumber with a fine grater. You want it very small. You can use a food processor to shred it, and then run a knife through the shreds until it’s chopped fine. Squeeze the grated cucumber to remove some of the juice. Mix in with the yogurt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Refrigerate for an hour; stir before serving.