Monday, September 13, 2010

Greek Night! Part I

On Friday night, Kevin and I decided to make our favorite Mediterranean restaurant meal from home and from scratch! It was a big undertaking, but it was fun and came out great! So, we made lamb gyros with homemade pita bread, tzatziki sauce, greek seasoned fries and hummus. Everything turned out really well and it was all so delicious!

Hummus is SO easy to make! I probably won't be buying it pre-made much anymore. The pita bread was also actually easier than I expected. I never would have imagined that I'd randomly make homemade pita bread, but it tastes so good, better than store-bought! Here are the recipes for the hummus and pita bread... More to come later!
Hummus
source: modified from Medditerrasian.com
- 16 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup tahini
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- ¼ tsp paprika or cayenne
Place chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water, tahini and salt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Spoon hummus into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it. Serve with pita chips, bread, or veggies and enjoy! Hummus can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Pita Bread
source: modified from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 8 pitas
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 ½ cups water, roughly at room temperature
- 2 tbs butter, melted
Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3-5 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for a few additional minutes.

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