Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indian Gyros

Sounds kinda weird.  Indian because I made naan for the pita bread and seasoned the chicken with curry and cumin. Greek because of the tziki sauce and the fact that we were eating a gyro.  I don't care if it sounds weird or not because they tasted amazing.

What you'll need:

For the chicken
1 pound chicken tenders
2 tablespoons curry (I used a combination of red and yellow)
Juice from 2 lemons or about 4 tablespoons
3-4 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Add chicken and all spiced to a zip lock bag and mix around until chicken is well coated.  Marinate for at least 2 hours.  Weave onto skewers and grill about 5-6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done.

For Tzatziki:
2 cups plain greek yogurt
1 cup cucumber finely diced
1 tablespoon dill
2 cloves garlic minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Remove cucumber seeds, and you can remove skins if you'd like (I don't). Mix everything together and place in fridge to chill.  This stuff is best if you can make if the day before and let it sit over night.  Not required though!

For the Naan:
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 warm cup water
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 egg

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl until fairly dissolved.  Let sit for 10 minutes until very bubbly and frothy on top.  Add egg, oil and yogurt and whisk until combined.  In a large bowl sift together 1 cup flour and salt with a fork.  Add in liquid and mix until a sticky paste forms.  Add another 1/2 cup of flour at a time until 1/2 cup remains.  Drop dough onto a floured surface with some of the remaining flour.  Kneed for 5-7 minutes adding a little flour at a time until dough is no longer sticky.  Wash the large bowl and spray it with cooking spray.  Place dough back into bowl and loosely cover with cling wrap.  Let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubles in size.

Punch center of dough to release air.  Split into 8 even sections and create small dough balls, pulling dough and pinching into the bottom of itself to form a smooth ball.  Allow balls to sit another 20 minutes.  At this point, I wrapped 4 of the dough balls in cling wrap and put them into a ziplock bag and into the freezer.  Stretch the dough into 6-8 inch disks being carful not to stretch too thin so it won't tear.  Heat bbq or a skillet over medium high.  If using bbq, lightly brush naan with olive oil or spray skillet with a little cooking spray.  Cook on each side until top is puffy and bubbly and bottom golden brown.  About 3-4 minutes. The flip and brown other side.

Place a few pieces of chicken, a few tablespoons tzatziki, and some halved cherry tomatoes or a little lettuce into a naan bread and try not to enjoy yourself.

Lucky me, lunch was leftovers!  I'm still trying to decide what to do with the 4 naan balls I froze.  More Gyros, mini pizzas or make some Tikka Masala...oh the decisions.  Poor me.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bead Lake Hike

We love Bead Lake.  It's just outside of Newport, WA, which is actually on the border of Washington and Idaho.  It's one of those towns that a street splits the two states.  One side of the road is WA and the other is ID.  But that's not the point of this post.  This was actually our 4th time to Bead Lake.  Twice we have just visited for a day hike, and twice we have hiked in and camped over night.  It's such a beautiful little spot, we can't help ourselves from visiting at least once every summer.

This time, we decided to hike to the end of the trail.  Kam had read somewhere that the trail is 6.2 miles round trip.  But when we hit mile marker 4 and hadn't reached the end yet, we were beginning to get tired, and still had to find the end and turn around and hike back out.  About a full mile of the hike is straight up. We eventually found the end, which was an amazing little camp site along one of the creeks that feeds the lake.  Then about a mile from the end of the hike we gave ourselves the ultimate reward....a nice cool swim in the blue/green water.  It's one of those lakes that you can open your eyes underwater and see everything around you.  I thought I would share a few photos.

We camped at this site last time we were there. 

This sign is at a group camp site.  It really is enchanting.

Our fearless leader.

Dex cooling off in the creek at the end.

I did not edit the color of this water at all.  It is really that blue/green when the sun hits it.

Hope everyone had a good kick off to their week.  I baked my 6th cake for cake pops for our wedding tonight.  Mocha flavor...it's wonderfully decadent!!!  Our dinner tonight was super delicious, so watch out for that post.  Enjoy your evening, morning, or whenever you are reading, enjoy it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Portuguese Sausage Panzanella with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Long name, tasty results.  I've just recently become aware of this particular style of salad. There is this awesome little pizza place here in Spokane called South Perry Pizza, and on their facebook updates one day they mentioned the special was Panzanella.  So I researched it and have seen different recipes here and there, so I decided it was time I try it for myself.  I was planning on making a pasta salad with a left over Portuguese sausage link I had, but I figured it was time to give Panzanella a go.  I'm glad I did.  It's really sort of like fancy croutons, but different in some way.  I don't know, just try it!

What you'll need:

1 large or 2 small Portuguese Sausage link/s (or any sausage) cooked or grilled
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup black olives halved
1 cup diced cucumber
3-4 cups fresh spinach (I could only fit 3 in my bowl, use 4 if you can)
1 cup white beans (any sort like cannellini or great northern)
1 cup feta crumbles
1 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 small loaf sourdough or french bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Slice off ends of bread and cut into 1 1/2 inch thick slices.  Mix olive oil and granulated garlic together and brush over each side of bead.  You can either grill on the bbq with your sausage or broil in the oven, just make sure its nice and toasted!  In a large bowl add all other salad ingredients.  Whisk together dressing and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Once sausage and bread are nice and grilled, allow to cool enough to handle.  Slice sausage into bite size pieces. Add to bowl.  Break bread into smaller pieces, only using crusts and discarding center. When you toss with dressing, the parts with no crust turn to mush.  Add about 3 cups of crusts to bowl.  Toss with dressing.

My sorry excuse for a garden.  My tomato plant is looking pretty good tho, it's not pictured. 

Who knew Jalapeno flowers were so pretty.

If I were (or when I do) to make this salad again, I think I would remove the center of the bread before I grilled it, that way it could get toasty on 4 sides.  Trust me on discarding that center part.  Other than that, this salad was delicious.  You could skip the sausage and have it for more of a side dish, or use any other meat you choose.  As you know, I'm a big fan of the one stop meal deal!  Also, if you have leftovers, remove any of the left over bread before refrigerating. The bread is yummy, but it's only a one time shot type of yummy.  Other than that, go for it!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Avocado Potato Salad

Ok, so I said I wasn't done with this whole avocado dressing thing.  I was skimming through some recipes on tastespotting last night and was inspired.  Someone had made a sort of mexican themed potato salad, but their dressing was weird and all wrong.  Actually the whole salad seemed a little off, but it was just enough to spark my creative mind, which in turn became this...

What you'll need:

2 pounds red potatoes
1 cup diced red pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup cotija cheese

2 medium avocados
1/2 of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon green tabasco sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pickled jalapeno juice (or just pickle juice.  if you skip the tabasco, use three)
1 tablespoon water

Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Once cooled, dice into small pieces and add to large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients.  In your food processor or blender add all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.  If after a few minutes it still seems too think, add another tablespoon of water.  Once smooth, pour over salad and gently mix until everything is nice and coated.  Chill for an hour or eat when its still a little warm, either way, you will be in love.

So this is Avocado dressing #2.  Still not done experimenting with this.  I'm wondering if this whole idea can completely substitute mayonnaise permanently?  Too bad avocados are so expensive, especially in the winter.  Maybe I need to move to Yuma.

Hope all of you have some fun plans for the weekend.  I have about 15 different projects to either start or finish, time is ticking and the days are FLYING by.  I can't wait to take pictures of all the hand made wedding creations, and share them all.  I'm so excited! =)  Happy weekend! Enjoy!