Gyros – Greek street food

We had a wonderful time in Greece, looks like we got out just in time though. They have had a couple of horrible storms where they had to shut down all of the ferries; parts of Athens was flooding and some of the Peloponnese islands are getting hit really hard. I guess my ferry ride into Mykonos harbor pales in comparison to what they are experiencing now. Though at the time it was a new experience for me trying to get into the hull of the ship to get ready to disembark being tossed around like a rag doll due to high winds and rough seas. Looks like we had it easy!

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Theirs

Last week I shared some of the food we had eaten on our journey. Bare with me for another week of Greek food I even made some this week at home and shared it with my son and in-laws. Sorry this one might be a little wordy too.

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Ours – first try don’t judge me too hard!

We rented a car for the day on the island of Mykonos no sure my husband was thrilled with this idea; especially since he was driving; but I wanted to and they say if you are going to rent a car, ATV, or side by side; this is the island to do it as there is less traffic that some of the other ones. My husband might disagree a bit with this. The roads are narrow, the traffic was less but the uneven stone walls leaning in make for a scary ride at times. We did get a little too close to some bushes while a bus was coming at us. Thankfully no damage. Sorry back to food – I read about a few restaurants that you Must Visit while here. We came a across one of them and decided to check it out for dinner; after we handed in the car; no one wants to or should drive there at night especially after a glass of wine or two.
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Our dinner at Bill and Coo was the most expensive meal we had but what an experience in fine cuisine. I’ll share the photos of what we had but I couldn’t begin to tell you how to make any of it. There are several high end restaurants that might break the bank but you can also eat on a dime and still enjoy some great tasting food and have a wonderful experience. After having several gyros on the islands and mainland my husband asked “why are these not more popular back home?” I’m sure they are somewhere in the states, just not anywhere near us.

Enjoy some Bill and Coo food porn!IMG_1245IMG_1246IMG_1247

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The night before we were leaving I wanted to bring back 2 things from Greece. I loved their Pistachios and their pita bread. I found a shop for the nuts but had to ask one of the bellhops at our hotel where a grocery store was so I could get some pita to take home. He tried not to laugh at me but found it hard while saying “um don’t you have pita bread back home?” I get it, of course we do but I have never come across thick ones that wasn’t a pocket; if that makes any sense? for 1.5 euros I packed a 10 pack of pitas in my luggage.

Here is my first attempt at making a chicken Gyro – it won’t be my last; everyone loved them!

Souvlaki is marinated meat skewer which you then take the cooked meat along with some other ingredients; roll everything up in a grilled pita and you got yourself a Gyro
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Souvlaki dry rub for marinade – combine all the below in an airtight container

2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Take 1 tablespoon of the above mixture and combine it with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Cube up your chicken, pork or lamb and add to a ziploc bag along with the marinade. Make sure all pieces are covered and let sit up to 24 hours.
I made mine in the morning and had it ready for dinner that night.
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I didn’t skewer them or cook them over the grill only because it was getting dark out and I didn’t want to 🙂 I did grill my Greek pita over an open flame on my stove top. You can eat this as a deconstructed gyro but I think you need to try it as I made it at least once.
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Tzaziki
1 medium Cucumber – grated and drained
1/2 cup Greek yogurt – plain
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice – fresh is best
1 -2 garlic cloves – minced
2 teaspoons dill or mint – fresh
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Grate unpeeled cucumber seeds and all. squeeze out as much of its liquid that you can.
add all the ingredients together. Let it sit for 10 minutes to let it meld. Adjust the ingredients above to your taste. It should last about 4 days in the fridge, that is if you have any leftover. Before serving drizzle a little olive oil on top.
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Gyros
Meat – marinated and cooked
Pita
potatoes – french fries
tomato – chopped
red onion – sliced thinly
Tzaziki

Grill the pita bread, layer the rest of the ingredients, top with fries and tzaziki – roll and enjoy!

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Sunday Family Dinner

Last Sunday the weather was perfect for cooking out on the patio. To combine my favorite Sunday meal – roasted chicken – I mentioned to my husband lets do a beer can chicken out on the grill for dinner. We both had different things on our “to do” list for the day but will end it out on the patio, one of our favorite places to be.
spatchock chicken on grillWe went our separate ways to get some of our “to do” lists things done and my phone went off he said our son was coming for dinner, then a couple of hours later it goes off again, his parents were coming for dinner. Some people might get annoyed their initial dinner plans change but I actually take it as a compliment that he wants to share our favorite food and our favorite place with people we love.
Potatoes on grillWe all sat around the table sharing good food and wine along with some great stories. My  mother-in-law mentioned she was cleaning out a cupboard and didn’t know what to do with her Ebelskiver pan. Firstly all but my daughter had no idea what she was talking about, secondly why in 34+ years I have known her had she never mentioned this special pan or made me any of the Danish pancakes her pan makes? The next day the pan found its way into my kitchen. I had planned on making them and sharing the recipe today but I need to make a batch or two before I share it with you. Stay tuned!
broccoli on grillSunday dinner was one of the only meals I made this week so I don’t have a “new” recipe for you today except it’s another beautiful Sunday and you should try to spend some of it in your happy place with some of your favorite people.

I can’t leave you with nothing so last Sunday’s dinner is worth sharing – I cut the backbone out of two chickens aka spatchcock. Seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon and rosemary.
In my cast iron pan I sliced up some baby potatoes along with an onion and again olive oil, salt and pepper.
I had some broccoli from the garden and wasn’t sure how I should deal with it on the grill so I did the same olive oil, salt and pepper and put the whole head on the grill, turning it a couple of times till it was cooked through and threw a loaf of bread on the top rack to heat up. Pretty perfect way to end the day if I do say so myself.

Marinated skirt or flank steak

I am going to start this by asking you to make this!!! Demanding is a little harsh but damn this is amazing even cold the next day! Just saying as a Mom that if my kids wanted to make this for me next weekend for Mothers day it would be a good day!!!!
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A couple of weekends ago  it was finally gorgeous out – a little chilly and windy but at least the sun was shining and it wasn’t snowing! Though I still have some snow on the ground in certain areas around the house; It was definitely time to start bringing out the patio furniture and starting up the grill. That was after we removed a mouse nest that was in the grill; disgusting;  so I vacuumed, washed and burned off any mice remnants YUCK! 700’F for 10 minutes ought to do the trick.
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Let’s just say that I was happy no one was taping me, I lifted the cover, my dog freaked out and chased, I screamed and my daughter laughed it was quite the ordeal. One of the stupid little rodents wanted back in while I was out there cooking. I told him to get out of here or I was letting the dog back out. My dog has a little cat in him in that he has caught mice before but no thank you!
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While my daughter and I brought all the furniture out on Sunday my guys went to Killington, VT skiing. Apparently they are not done with winter but we certainly are. Earlier in the day I cooked up some eggs and decided to make some potato salad. I had a skirt steak I needed to cook up so dinner was already planned while enjoying my morning tea. I got my skirt steak out onto the counter and went to my computer; before I opened it I actually thought that was ridiculous; why do I need to look up a marinade recipe, I know what I have on hand and what flavors we like. As long as I had the 3 components (acid, oil, spices) needed to marinate my steak I can add whatever other flavors we like.
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My marinade consisted of lemon (acid), olive oil (oil), soy sauce, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper (spices).  I marinated it around 4-5 hours and WOW was it awesome. I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures to share so I made it again during the following week – you’re welcome 🙂
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Flank or Skirt Steak
soy sauce
olive oil
shallots – sliced thin
garlic – miced
lemon – sliced
Kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
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flatten out the steak and score; make a few this slices; against the grain. In a ziploc bag add the rest of the ingredients.  Really no need to measure but for my friends who “need” measurements I will guesstimate.  1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 large or 2-3 small shallots, 2 cloves of garlic, 3-4 slices of lemon, tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper.  Marinate 4-8 hours.
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Best if cooked on a grill – I used my propane grill and cooked on each side for about 5-6 minutes for medium rare – please do not over cook – you won’t enjoy it! Let it rest for 10 minutes or longer if you can wait.  Slice against the grain and enjoy!

BBQ Steak, Sweet Potato & Squash

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My family has re-discovered the outside patio area. We; well actually I wanted a sitting area on the patio. Not just any sitting area I wanted someplace where we can; after a long hard day of working we could sit and relax comfortably. I finally pulled the trigger on an outdoor couch and we LOVE it!  We make plans of when we could meet, what we are going to drink and who has to get up and make dinner.

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Looks pretty comfortable huh? 

With the nights already getting shorter meals have to be something quick to throw together just so no one has to be away from lounging on the patio for too long. What fun would it be if I spent an hour in the kitchen while they are out there chilling out. No fun at all.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

Here is something so surprisingly delicious but so crazy easy that anyone can make this meal and you won’t hear any complaints from the loungers

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in for a refill of my wine.

Have a wonderful long labor day weekend!

 

BBQ Marinated Shrimp

I am writing this week’s blog on Friday morning before my house becomes so busy and full of a lot of people. A girlfriend of mine is coming over to help me prep for an anniversary party we are hosting for my in-laws. My feeling was that it needed to be a step up or so from the normal backyard BBQ I throw since it is their 60th wedding anniversary BBQ and that is quite the accomplishment in my book and deserves something a little special.
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In a little bit a couple of my sister-in-laws will be here along with my girlfriend JC oh and did I mention that JC is a trained chef; no pressure for me to be prepping along side her ugh!  I even felt obligated to clean my oven last week just because I wanted everything “perfect” for her. I doubt she would judge me for a dirty oven, but I wanted to make cooking in my kitchen a pleasant experience.
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When deciding what we were having I wanted some of my favorite sides. Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Baked beans and BBQ Shrimp.  So I well I guess we are all going to work on cooking the pasta & potatoes. I cheated on the beans and doctored up a large can I had on hand already. We’ll need to marinate the shrimp and decorate some cupcakes that I made up yesterday. JC is going to be in charge of the chicken and steak tips. She mentioned making up a few for us to taste, I have no doubt that they will be delicious.
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The BBQ shrimp is a recipe a friend brought to a party many years ago and has been a staple at my parties ever since. I have shared it with many people over the years but I have never blogged about it before. Funny thing is I tell everyone where I got it but they still refer to it as my recipe. When I make it I still bring out the same page that on the top says Jack’s family recipe, it has many stains and blotches on it but it is still excellent and a crowd pleaser!
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BBQ Marinated Shrimp

1 cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds large, peeled and deveined shrimp with tails on

In a large bowl or ziploc bag, add all the ingredients except the shrimp, mix well and then add your shrimp. Let them marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or best overnight.
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Skewer them and cook on your grill just till pink which means they are done. They cook quick but also depends on how hot you have your grill.

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The cook gets to get at least a skewer to themselves. At least that is how it works at my house.

Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

My garden has been pretty good to me this year with plenty of cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini. I really don’t want to talk about my non-existent eggplant or beefsteak tomatoes. Thankfully my cherry and roma tomato plants are picking up a little of the slack; and it also helps my husband has found a way to add tomato to his sandwich that he thinks works out pretty slick; he takes a bite of sandwich and pops a cherry tomato in his mouth and he likes that his sandwich stays dry. I say win win!

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Now how to get a win with someone who doesn’t like zucchini; which I can actually relate to; when I was growing up; besides my aversion to everything green; the only way I had zucchini and summer squash was steamed or boiled to death. I was reminded of this when I was talking with my dad last week about how I prepare versus how he prepares squash. I like mine on the al dente side and he likes his well on the mush side. No thank you!

IMG_4452Before this I had only made hasselback potatoes, never even thought about another vegetable before but why not?

IMG_4453Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

1 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
4 small or 2 medium zucchini
⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

IMG_4454Preheat grill or oven
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl
Make crosswise cuts every ½ inch along each zucchini. Make sure to slice almost to the bottom of the squash but not all the way through. I use a round handle of a wooden spoon to help me get the same size cuts. Gently fan the squash to make them a little wider.
Place a shaved piece of Parmesan in each of the cuts and then brush the oil mixture over the top.
Place the squash on a double layer of foil and grill (without turning) until browned and tender about 15 minutes.

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Adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Sirloin Tip Steak, Asparagus & Bearnaise Butter

I can only assume everyone’s summer has been super busy and flying by as well. We have had something going on 9 out of the last 10 weekends. Between showers, weddings and golfing we managed to also be lucky enough to spend 2 weekends in Montreal and a also a couple of weekends up North. Last weekend was to be spent boating on Winnipesaukee but the weather didn’t cooperate so we will try again sometime later in the summer.

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With all this time being away I really haven’t been cooking like I usually do; and to my surprise I have totally missed it. I mean I love cooking and baking but sometimes I have no ambition to try something new or anything too taxing.

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This weekend our plans fell through last minute so Friday night I started looking through my catalogs and magazines and started making a grocery shopping list so I could make some of the things I came across. Saturday morning I kept looking and writing till my list was now two sided UGH! I haven’t done a true grocery shopping in a long time just picking up stuff for lunches and light dinners during the week.

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So far since last night around 6PM I have made 2 new recipes and I currently have some cookies in the oven and am also getting ready to make some basil pesto. Guess I am making up for lost time in my kitchen.

2 large sprigs fresh tarragon
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs minced shallot
1 Tbs dry white wine
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ lb. beef flap meat – aka sirloin tip – cut so they are uniform sized pieces
1 bunch of asparagus – trimmed
T Tbs olive oil

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Bearnaise Butter

Strip the tarragon leaves from the stems, finely chop the leaves; about 2 tsp. And set aside.

In a skillet over medium-low heat melt 1 Tbs butter along with the shallots and the tarragon stems. Cook for a couple of minutes till the shallots are translucent. Add the wine, vinegar and 1 Tbs of water. Increase the heat to medium, and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, remove and discard the stems and let cool complete.

Once cooled add the last 3 Tbs butter, the chopped tarragon, ¼ tsp kosher salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

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Steak and Asparagus

Heat your grill to high about 400’F – 475’F

Using a sheet pan place some plastic wrap down; use one end for the beef and the other for the asparagus. Coat both with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

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Grill the meat turning every 2 minutes. Around 6-8 minutes, you are looking for medium rare 140’F for best flavors.

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Remove plastic wrap place beef on sheet pan cover loosely with foil, while it is resting, cook asparagus turning once till slightly charred 2-3 minutes.

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Thinly slice the meat against the grain, arrange on plates or a platter with the asparagus, top both with dollops of the butter.

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