Monthly Archives: January 2011
My first experience with gyros came during my freshman year of college. There was a small restaurant near my dorm that was open 24 hours a day and served mostly Mediterranean food. Honestly, I don’t think I had even heard of gyros until eating there. I probably ate there more times than I should have while in college, but I still kind of miss it. That’s the fun thing about food blogging, though – some recipes you never thought of making have a way of finding their way to you.
Elly is the queen of Greek cuisine, so I knew this recipe would be fantastic the moment I saw it on her blog. In fact, this recipe has been on countless blogs since then. After one taste of these, you’ll know exactly why. The chicken is moist and incredibly flavorful. The tzatziki is cool and refreshing with a garlicky punch. Wrap all of that in a warm pita, and you’ve got a dinner that could please anyone. If you have any leftover tzatziki, I definitely recommend saving it to snack on with some vegetables or grilled pita.
Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki
For the tzatziki:
16 ounces plain yogurt (Do not use nonfat, if possible)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
For the gyros:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts
4 pocketless pitas
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 red onion, halved and cut into thin slices
To make the tzatziki, place the yogurt in a strainer covered with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set over a small bowl. Allow to sit overnight or at least several hours, until most of the moisture has been removed.
Shred the cucumber using a box grater or food processor. Place shredded cucumber in a tea towel or a few paper towels and squeeze to remove any excess water. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the chicken by combining the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano and yogurt in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, then whisk until combined. Add the chicken, stirring to coat with marinade, then cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
Cook chicken as desired, using a grill, broiler or grill pan. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest about 5 minutes before cutting into strips. While chicken is resting, heat the pitas (we did ours on our grill pan). Top each pita with chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes and onion. Fold and enjoy.
Adapted from Elly Says Opa
Eric and I adore Nutella. We always seem to have a jar of it in the house, though it never lasts very long. I was in the mood to bake cookies the other day and started flipping through an old Christmas cookie magazine. As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it immediately. Sometimes recipes just strike me like that, and I know I’ll keep thinking about them if I don’t make them soon. I’m so glad I gave in to my urge to bake these cookies because they are delicious and insanely addictive.
Nutella Cookie Sandwiches
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (2/3 cup) butter, softened
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup Nutella
Combine hazelnuts and 1/2 cup of flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the baking powder. Process with quick on/off pulses to combine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add hazelnut-flour mixture and beat on low speed until dough is combined and smooth. Divide dough into four portions. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for at least one hour or until dough is firm enough to slice.
Preheat oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Using a sharp knife, cut each roll into 1/2-inch thick slices (16 cookies per roll). Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes on the center rack, until the cookies are just barely golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, spread about 1 teaspoon of Nutella on the bottom of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, bottom side down, and press gently together.
To store, place unassembled cookies in an airtight container up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, if frozen, and assemble as needed.
Makes 32 sandwiches
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies, 2008
Eric and I love making takeout type dishes at home. We’ve made this one twice now, and it’s easily become one of our favorites. The funny thing is, when we tried it for the first time a few months ago, I wasn’t sure how either of us would like the mushrooms. See, in the not so distant past, the only mushrooms we ate were stuffed and/or fried. We’ve been branching out, though, and this dish was one of the first ones we made using mushrooms.
I made a couple small changes to this recipe. First of all, there was no garlic in it! We put garlic in nearly everything, so naturally I added a couple cloves to this. Second, I’m not a huge fan of Chinese five-spice powder. I like it in some things, but I thought this dish would be fine without it (which it was). I was surprised that the recipe called for cilantro, since I’ve never used it in any type of Asian cuisine. However, it really works in this dish and adds plenty of freshness and flavor. The snow peas retain some of their crisp texture, and that balances out the tender mushrooms. There’s a little heat from the Siracha, but you can add more if you like things especially spicy. The best part about this dish is that it cooks in about seven minutes. Once everything is chopped and sliced, this meal comes together in no time.
Beef, Shiitake and Snow Pea Stir-Fry
1 1-pound top sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch long, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced
8 ounces fresh snow peas
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Siracha or other chili-garlic sauce
Lightly season beef with salt and pepper. In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Stir constantly until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Add beef and continue cooking an additional minute, until the beef is browned on the outside but still pink in the center. Add snow peas, half of green onions and half of cilantro. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in hoisin and Siracha and continue cooking 1-2 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender and beef is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to bowls and top with remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve over rice, if desired.
Adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2010
I’m so excited to be guest posting over at Ucreate Foods today! I’ve put together a photo tutorial on how to make a braided Danish. Pastry can be intimidating, so I hope this tutorial will alleviate some of the fear associated with it. Not all that long ago, I was hesitant to attempt making pastry. After trying this Danish, though, I could’ve kicked myself for not trying it sooner. I promise it’s not as hard as you think! Head on over to Ucreate Foods to view my tutorial.
Biscuits, when done right, might be one of my favorite breakfast foods. I’m not talking about greasy, fast-food biscuits. I’m talking about biscuits that taste like the ones your grandma makes. For me, that always involved a lot of butter. Until just a few days ago, I never considered making biscuits without butter (and buttermilk, for that matter). That’s one of the reasons I love Baking Illustrated so much. I was reading through it on Friday and found the most wonderful recipe for cheddar biscuits. Much to my surprise, the biscuits were made only with heavy cream. Of course, there’s a recipe for buttermilk biscuits in there, too, but I was intrigued by this recipe. I’ve made cream scones before, so I’m not really sure why the idea of cream biscuits never crossed my mind, though I’m guessing part of the reason has to do with the aforementioned buttery buttermilk biscuits my grandma makes. Friday night, I went to bed thinking about these biscuits. I made them first thing Saturday morning and could have eaten them the rest of the day.
These biscuits were some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had and certainly the best ones I’ve ever made. There was something about the cheese that just transformed them. Instead of being shredded, the cheese is actually cubed. It melts beautifully, giving you plenty of cheesy goodness in every bite. The biscuits were so fluffy and rich that I couldn’t believe they didn’t have butter. In fact, they were so delicious that we didn’t even need to spread butter on the cooked biscuits. The best part about these is how quickly they can be put together. I don’t have any problems cutting butter into flour (which is the method for making buttermilk biscuits). However, adding cream to a few dry ingredients is about as easy as it gets, and that’s perfect when you’re in a hurry or just really hungry. So while I won’t be giving up buttermilk biscuits, it’s nice to have this recipe for when I need a quick biscuit fix without much work.
Cream Biscuits with Cheddar Cheese
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425º and place oven rack in the upper-middle position. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cheese. Pour in 1 1/4 cups of the cream and stir with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, or until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, leaving behind any dry pieces of flour in the bowl. In tablespoon increments, add up to the remaining 1/4 cup of cream to the dry bits left in the bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Once the bits are moistened, add them to the rest of the dough. Knead by hand for about 30 seconds, just until the dough is smooth.
To make biscuit rounds, pat the dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits and place on the baking sheet. Push together the remaining dough and cut more biscuits. You should have 8, but that will depend on the size of your biscuit cutter. Alternately, press the dough evenly into an 8-inch cake pan. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 8 wedges using a sharp knife or bench scraper. Bake the biscuits, immediately after cutting, for 18 minutes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
« Older posts