Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Homemade Dinner from Around the World #3-Greek

I only in the last year or so discovered that I really like Greek food. I was always afraid to try it because the only thing I associated with Greek food was lamb. I was surprised (and wrong) to find out there are plenty of dishes that are made with chicken, beef, or no meat at all.  A gyro is one of those foods that is best left to a professional (in my opinion), so the homemade Greek food I make does not include them. Here are my favorites with a Greek dinner:

Meal Includes:
Homemade Tzaiki and Hummus with pita (or pita chips) and fresh veggies-I think both dips are best made the day before and left in the refrigerator over night!
Chicken Kabobs with Onion and Green Pepper
Greek Rice

Ina Garten's Tzatziki

  • 2 (7-ounce) containers Greek yogurt (recommended: Fage Total)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze the grated cucumber with your hand to remove some of the liquid*or strain in fridge over night to leave the cucumber pieces from being crushed during squeezing. Add it to the yogurt along with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir. 

Alton Brown's Hummus
  • 1 pound Slow Cooker Chickpeas, cooled, recipe follows
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • Powdered sumac, optional
Place the chickpeas, garlic, and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and process for another 15 to 20 seconds. Add the lemon juice and water. Process for 20 seconds. Add the tahini. Process for 20 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
To serve, transfer the hummus to a bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, to taste, if desired.

Slow Cooker Chickpeas:

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 pound dry chickpeas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Special equipment: a 2 1/2-quart slow cooker
Place the water, chickpeas, and baking soda in a 2 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours, or on low heat for 8 to 9 hours, or until tender. Drain and serve immediately, or use in desired dish.

Chicken Kabobs
2-3 chicken breasts-cut into large cubes
1 Red or Sweet Onion-cut in large chunks
2 green peppers -cut in large pieces, not strips 
1 package Plum tomatoes 

Put all of the cut ingredients onto skewers. Sometimes dipping wooden skewers into olive oil before putting food on them helps the food come off after cooking. Use caution piercing food with sharp end after the skewer is oiled because it is slippery and you do not want to skewer your hand! Cook on your grill to your preference.

Greek Rice
  • 3 tbsps butter (margarine)
  • 2 shallots (minced)
  • 1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
  • 2 ozs uncooked vermicelli (broken into 12 inch pieces)
  • 14 12 ozs canned chicken broth
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 34 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add rice and pasta; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in broth, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Prep: 20 min., Bake: 25 min.


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