Friday, July 25, 2008

Recipe Friday

Michelle's been pretty busy lately, so I offered to help out by typing up a recipe for your enjoyment!

Gyro Sandwiches
There are 4 steps to this recipe:

  1. Thicken the yogurt for the Tzatziki sauce (see the toppings section)
  2. Make the pitas (optionally, buy pitas from the store, but they won't taste as good)
  3. Prep the toppings & sauce
  4. Do the meat
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ cups warm (110°) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting & rolling)
  • Non-stick spray
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
Combine yeast, sugar, and water in the work bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook. If not using instant yeast, wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to bloom and become frothy. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt. Slowly add the flour, a little at a time, reserving the last ½ cup. Turn off the mixer and feel the dough. If it is very sticky to the touch, add reserved flour. Slowly power up the mixer to medium speed and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

On a lightly floured clean work surface, roll the dough into a tight ball. Place in a clean bowl or bin that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, rolling the dough around to coat the top of the ball with the spray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly punch down to redistribute the gasses. Divide into 8 equal portions, keeping each dough ball covered under a damp tea towel. Let rest under the towel for 15 minutes. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium-high heat or heat a pizza stone in a 500° oven. If using a griddle/skillet, lube very lighly with oil to prevent sticking. With a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into a thin circle 8-10 inches across. As each pita is rolled out, cook on the griddle or pizza stone for 3-4 minutes as you roll out the next one. If using a griddle/skillet, flip each pita halfway through cooking time. As the pitas finish cooking stack on a plate and keep covered under a sheet of aluminum foil. Keep in a warm oven (i.e. not 500° any more) while you work on the rest of the Gyro stuff.

I like the following on top of my Gyros:
  • sliced onion
  • chopped cucumber
  • sliced tomato
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced olives (I like green, but black work too)
  • crumbled Feta cheese
  • Tzatziki sauce (recpie follows)
Tzatziki Sauce
This recipe makes a lot of sauce. You may want to make a half batch.
  • 16 oz plain (unflavored) yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine.
  • Kosher salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 5-6 fresh mint leaves, finely minced OR 1-2 teaspoons dried mint (to taste)
Pour yogurt onto the middle of a clean tea towel. Gather up the corners and suspend the yogurt over a bowl (use a skewer or a mesh strainer) so excess moisture can drip out. Thicken in the fridge for 2 hours.

Spread out the chopped cucumber on a couple of layers of paper towel on a sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Add more paper towels on top and press with another sheet pan to squeeze out water. Put drained cucumber and thickened yogurt in a medium mixing bowl and combine with remaining Tzatziki ingredients. Add additional salt to taste. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Gyro Steak
Although lamb is the traditional Gyro meat, steak is much easier to find where I live. I like flank steak because it is very flavorful, inexpensive, and is already a thin cut from the butcher (making it cook quickly and slice easily).
  • 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary leaves and whole peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon each fennel seeds, dried oregano and dried thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2-4 lbs steak such as flank steak, skirt steak, fajita steak, or stir-fry steak, about 1-2 inches thick
Finely grind the rosemary, oregano, thyme, and peppercorns together in a spice grinder or coffee mill. Lightly sprinkle both sides of meat with Kosher salt. Spread a thin dusting of the herb/spice mixture onto both sides of the meat, patting it down to ensure good contact and adhesion. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat or prepare grill for direct heat. Rub both sides with oil. Cook 5-7 minutes on a side, or until internal temperature reads 125° for rare, 145° for medium. I guess you could go until 160 for well-done, but why would you? Rest the meat off-heat for 10-15 minutes under a tent of aluminum foil and bias-slice thinly across the grain.

It looks like we did it! To assemble, place a few slices of steak on half of the flat side of the pita. Add other toppings as desired. Fold the pita over and eat. Yum!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blog Maintenance

Jake was attempting to update the software of my blog. But inadvertently broke it, and felt that it wasn't worth the trouble to fix while working with such a slow hosting provider anyway.

So here I am. Who knows for how long or if I'll even become consistent in my blogging. But I'm happy to have a functioning blog.