From Outer Space
People. The last two weeks – they’ve been crazy. Holidays. Trips out of town. A sick 7-year old. A new job! The list goes on. I’m not telling you all of this to garner your sympathy. I’m not trying to excuse my noticeable absence from this little blog either. I’m simply building up to this fact: my stove has gotten very little use lately. Also my oven. * wipes tear *
But now I’m back. And last night the oven was turned on. The stove too! Chicken was chopped. Cucumbers were grated. Tomatoes and onions were sliced. Pitas were warmed. We actually used our kitchen table for its intended purpose… proving that with a little determination but minimal work, miracles can, in fact, happen.
Tzatziki – a sauce made of cucumber, yogurt (or if it’s a Monday and your fridge is bare, sour cream), garlic and lemon juice is a minor obsession of mine. It’s good on raw veggies, on pitas, on french fries (be still, my heart!), and of course on gyros.
Souvlaki – a Greek dish made of meat marinated in wine, lemon, olive oil, garlic and other seasonings is incredibly flavorful (and just so happens to pair wonderfully with tzatziki!). Bonus: both of these things are easy to make.
If you do things in the right order, this meal can come together quickly. Using a large box grater, grate a cucumber. Toss with some kosher salt and let hang out in a strainer (doing this will maximize the cucumber flavor in your tzatziki without watering it down).
While the cucumber is sitting, cut up some chicken – although pork would work just as well. Toss the chicken with its marinade, stir together your tzatziki sauce, broil the chicken, slice some veggies, warm some pitas, and you’re done! You’ll be
standing over the sink devouring dinner sitting down to a civilized meal in no time – and the following night when you go out for yet another meal hopefully you won’t feel quite so guilty about it.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon red wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Tzatziki sauce (recipe follows)
- Optional accompaniments: pita bread, onion, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and/or lettuce
Set oven to broil.
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into large, but bite-sized, pieces. Toss with remaining ingredients in large bowl. Let sit at room temperature for approximately twenty minutes.
Spread on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to brown.
Wrap in warmed pita bread (I like to warm mine on the stove until it’s just a little crispy on both sides). Top with tzatziki and other accompaniments.
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- Juice of half a lemon
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Grate cucumber using a large box grater. Mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit in a strainer for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze excess water from cucumber. Mix with yogurt, lemon juice and pepper.
Smash and peel the garlic. Combine the garlic and remaining salt to make a paste. You can do this with a mortar and pestle, or even with the back side of a spoon, but I sandwich the garlic and salt in between the blade of a large knife and a cutting board and apply pressure while squishing the ingredients in between. However you go about it, add the garlic paste to the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.