Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gyro Bread with Tzatziki Sauce

I am a lover of Mediterranean foods and particularly gyro bread.  There's just something about that soft and chewy bread that I can't get enough of.  It can be a bit tricky to find where I live.  Most grocery stores only carry pita pockets, and in my mind there is no comparison.  So I tried my hand at making my own and I loved the results!  I don't have to drive to a specialty store anymore and I've been able to make and eat gyro bread and tzatziki sauce on a whim. 
Funny thing is that I don't like traditional gyros with shaved meat filling.  I prefer my gyro bread with tzatziki or hummus, even filled with some grilled chicken, lettuce and tomatoes.  Honestly, this bread is pretty versatile and a good recipe to have in your repertoire.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! 

  • Gyro Bread

  • Serves 8
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, water, milk, olive oil, salt and half the flour.  Mix until combined.  Slowly add the rest of the flour, you are aiming for a soft dough so you may need more or less to get to the point where the dough isn't stuck to the side of the bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes or until you can stretch a small amount of dough with your fingers and see through it, but not break (windowpane test).

Allow the dough to rise in a greased bowl and cover.  Let rise until doubled (about an hour).  When dough has risen, remove from the bowl and divide it in 8 pieces.  Place them on a lightly floured surface and cover and let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare for cooking the bread.  Place a clean kitchen towel on a cookie sheet and cover with another clean, but damp, kitchen towel.  Set aside. 

Heat griddle, skillet or cast iron pan (my favorite) over medium heat (do not grease).  As the pan heats, roll one dough piece into a 8 inch circle.  Gently place the dough flat in the pan and immediately start the rolling process with the next piece of dough.  Keep an eye on the dough in the pan, you want it to be golden on the bottom and hopefully a few bubbles have popped up.  Gently flip the bread circle with tongs or a spatula.  Remove the dough from the pan once the both sides are golden.  Place the cooked bread between the 2 towels.  Repeat the process until all the dough has been cooked. The cooking part of this recipe is pretty busy as you are always tending something.  It's worth it! 

Recipe originally from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki Sauce)

16 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1 english cucumber (regular cucumber is acceptable but see note)
1-2 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste

Shred the cucumber with a large cheese grater.  If not available you can chop the cucumber finely.  

In medium sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust as needed.  Chill until ready to serve. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Summertime Favorites

Today I wanted to pop in and post some of my favorite summertime meals to help you come up with ideas for 4th of July picnics or just to get you through the sweltering summer!  Here goes!

This Quinoa Salad recipe is by far my most popular and most requested recipe.  It's healthy, light and flavorful.  The flavors are uncomplicated but they just work.  Quinoa salad travels very well and is ideal for picnics on the 4th of July!
healthy picnic salad
These Loaded Deviled Eggs are a family favorite and packed with flavor.  Eating deviled eggs without bacon will no longer be acceptable after you try these.  These will be the hit of any party/picnic/potluck.  Trust me.
deviled eggs with bacon
Even though this Shrimp Scampi with Linguini is served hot, it has amazing summer flavors.  This is one of Wor's favorite meals and he doesn't like to share!
Linguini recipe
If you're looking for a baked good with summertime flavors, look no further than these Blueberry Scones with Clementine Glaze.  These delightful treats are moist and delicious with just the perfect amount of sweetness.  Looking back on the pictures makes me want to bake these right this minute! 
blueberry breakfast recipe
Talk about another perfect summer salad!  This Tomato Salad is one of my personal favorites.  It works well as a side dish along all your grilled meats but I especially love it leftover with some eggs and toast.  These days I don't bother hunting down green tomatoes, but they are a delicious addition if you have them!
tomato recipe
I can't pick just one or two summertime desserts to list so I'm going to give you a quick list.  They are all delicious and I don't think you would regret a single one of them.  I certainly wouldn't!

4th of july dessert
I love Key Lime Pie and these Key Lime Tartlets are somehow even better!
key lime pie
This Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding is travels well, is light, and perfect for a summertime potluck!
strawberry cheesecake

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dutch Oven No-Knead Bread

dutch oven bread

I've had my eye on this no-knead bread recipe for a couple of years now.  I always talked myself out of making it because the idea of a no-knead bread just seemed ridiculous.  It goes against all my baking instincts.  But this past Fall, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post about this bread and I decided that if she raved about it (and couldn't seem to stop mentioning it) then maybe I should give it a chance.  This past weekend we had some friends over for dinner and I informed them that they were going to be my guinea pigs and down the rabbit hole I went.

It turned out AMAZING.  My first wow moment was when I lifted the lid off my beautiful, red dutch oven and this bakery worthy loaf was in my oven.  The bread was well risen and the top had cracked beautifully.  The golden crust was dusted just perfectly in flour and to top it off, it smelled divine.  No-knead bread for the win.  

crusty bread
When we sat down to dinner we all decided that tearing the bread by hand seemed like the most fun option.  The crust had a very satisfying crackle and we ripped chunks off and dug in.  The bread has an amazing flavor because you use very little yeast and let it rise for a very long time.  The harder you make that yeast work, the better flavor you will get.  The "no-knead" texture is a little different than other breads, a little chewy, but it's just right.  We served it with an herbed dipping oil and finished off the entire loaf.  If you want to feel like a baking goddess, get yourself a dutch oven and bake this bread. 

Dutch Oven No-Knead Bread

Makes 1 loaf

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups room temperature water

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the water until the flour is just wet and you have a chunky dough.  You want the dough to be just wet, it won't look like other bread doughs.  Cover with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours.  Don't try to hurry the rise along with heat.  You want a long, slow rise.

About 30 minutes before you want to bake the bread place the dutch oven with the lid on into the oven and preheat to 450.  Using well-floured hands, scrape and dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and carefully form into a ball.  You don't want to deflate too much of the air that was developed during the rise.  Place onto a piece of parchment paper, dust with a little flour and cover with plastic wrap.  Rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes is up, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid (it's hot!).  Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and lower into the pot using the parchment paper.  Recover the pot and place in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes or until very golden and crispy.  Remove pot from the oven and carefully remove the bread using the parchment paper.

Recipe from: Pinch of Yum

Monday, August 22, 2016

Penne Pasta with Rotisserie Chicken

rotisserie chicken recipe

Recently (finally) Costco opened a new store close to us.  This meant that all those lovely things that I wanted to buy at Costco, were finally in my reach!  Most important of all those things were the lovely, gigantic, $4.99 rotisserie chickens.  The first couple of times that I went to Costco I left the store with at least 2 chickens (one time I left with 5).  I've since calmed down and sometimes I don't even get a chicken!


Since I've had all this chicken coming into my home I have come up with some quick dinner recipes including said chicken.  This is a fast, simple pasta dish which is light on sauce and can be adjusted to your taste.  In my home I can use all the quick recipes I can get.  I like the little tang that the balsamic carries but if you and your family aren't fans you could leave it out, or if by chance you are a huge fan of balsamic you could add more and kick the flavor up a notch!  Like I said, this recipe can be adjusted to your taste and your needs.  

Penne Pasta with Rotisserie Chicken

1 16oz box penne pasta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thin
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 red bell peppers, cleaned and chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cups cubed/shredded rotisserie chicken
2 Tablespoons balsamic or white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season (I always season with 1-2 tablespoons salt) and add pasta. Cook to al dente.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onions and carrots, cook for 2 minutes and add the tomatoes.  Once the tomatoes are soft enough to burst, about 2-3 minutes, crush the tomatoes with the spoon.  Add the chicken, peppers, balsamic and chicken stock.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until the peppers are tender but still crisp.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the penne pasta.  The pasta is best topped with crumbled feta cheese.