Saturday, December 20, 2008

Greece & the Middle East

Yay! I learned how to make pita! I love pita! This was a really fun activity for me - and mine turned out so pretty!
We made gyros again - this wasn't very challenging since we had made it in Meat Fab. But now there were pitas we had made ourselves to stuff it in...

Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
We didn't make the tzatziki sauce ourselves - at least Nemo and I didn't. We again missed out on having classmates leave us enough. This time it was the yogurt. But people had way too much tzatziki, so they shared easily enough.

Combine ground lamb, pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt, oregano, cornstarch, and onion powder. Make into a log, several inches across. Bake at 300 degrees to internal temp of 135. Slice thin and serve with raw sliced onions, tomatoes, warm pita bread, and tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki sauce: peal cucumber, remove seeds, and cut into small dice. Combine cucumber, yogurt, sour cream, garlic, fresh dill, lemon juice, and sugar. Chill until service.

Lamb Kabobs
Also served with tzatziki sauce. Trim and cut boneless lamb into 1 in cubes. Prepare marinade (red wine vinegar, lemon juice, tomato paste, ground allspice, ground cardamon, ground cinnamon, salt and pepper), and add meat. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour. Thread meat, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes onto skewers. Grill.

Whoops, I made mine a little spicy, but much better than any packaged taboueleh I've had - usually people make it too garlicy - this recipe had no garlic.
Mix: finely chopped scallions, black pepper, finely chopped fresh mint leaves, finely chopped jalepeno pepper, lemon juice, olive oil. Separately mix: fine bulgur, small dice tomatoes, and chopped fresh parsley. Mix together right before service and serve on romaine lettuce leaves.

Baba Ghanouj and Khubz (pita)
Whoops, this one I made way too garlicy. But it wasn't horrible, still edible. I kept trying to balance out the tastes as I spun it in the food processor, but it just wasn't happening. Like my pretty pita plate?

Grill whole eggplant in skin, then shred flesh out of skin when cool. Process eggplant, tahini, garlic clove, fresh parsley, ground cumin, lemon juice, and salt. Pour in olive oil.

Sponge method: yeast, lukewarm water, sugar, and bread flour. Add remaining ingredients (lukewarm water, bread flour, salt and olive oil). Knead well by hand. Let double in size. Punch down, knead again for a few minutes. Divide and round into 8 pieces. Flatten each one into 7-8 inch rounds, and proof for 20 minutes. 1/2 in thick. Bake 500 degrees 3-5 minutes. Wrap in cloth until ready to serve.

Tip: Place hot sheet pan upside down in oven as it heats - slap rounds on hot pan once ready to bake. Flip halfway through.

Okay, unfortunately, since this was weeks ago, I don't remember if this is the method we used. I thought we did something slightly different, but I didn't write it down if we did. I guess I'll just have to try to make them again during my Christmas break to find out - darn!

Finally, Greek Chicken with fries. Always fries.
Marinate chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, fresh oregano and garlic. Roast in pan.
Um, if I remember correctly, Nemo and I were lucky Chef didn't cut into this, because it was raw on the inside. Which didn't really make sense because he had cooked it a long time. Oh well, the fries were done perfectly if I do say so myself!

We were also supposed to make baklava, but I'm glad we didn't because I don't like Greek baklava - they use almonds, whereas in Turkey you use nuts like pistachio. This pastry is sweet enough as is - you need salty nuts to balance it out.

Lessons Learned:
I just love making bread. Look, a heart: I think I could do this for the rest of my life. Anyone know of any openings in a bakery? Preferably bread bakery?

No comments: