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Chicken Gyro Salad
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Chicken Gyro Salad

Before I drone on about this fab chicken gyro salad, I wanted to thank all of you who commented, both here and on Instagram, and emailed over the past few weeks to send your thoughts, prayers, and condolences about my dad. (This post will fill you in if you’re unsure what I’m talking about.) Writing about dad last weekend was incredibly difficult and your kind and heartfelt words helped to lift me up. You guys really are the best and I thank you endlessly for your love and support.

Chicken Gyro Salad

And so this chicken gyro salad: it’s pretty hard not to love. Prep is simple with a super basic yet insanely flavorful Greek-inspired marinade for the chicken and a few chopped up veggies. You can buy the tzatziki cucumber-yogurt dipping sauce in most grocery stores these days or easily make your own (recipe is below but I’ve made and loved this one in the past too), especially if you’re burdened with a seemingly endless supply of garden cucumbers.

Chicken Gyro Salad

And as much as I love to bake my own bread stuffs, I bought some whole wheat pita to go with this salad. Pita isn’t something I like to tackle on a weeknight after work so I bend my own rules to make dinners like this one work when I’m short on time.

Chicken Gyro Salad

This was another meal I made when Kyle’s business partner was over a few weeks ago and I wish I were kidding when I say that there were virtually no leftovers, save some tzatziki and feta. The three of us completely devoured almost everything you see here: one and a half pounds of grilled chicken thighs, four (I think?) whole pita, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a head of romaine, two cucumbers, and almost half a red onion. And can you blame us? I’m making it again tonight when my mom is up to visit and I can barely contain my excitement!!

Chicken Gyro Salad

Chicken Gyro Salad

Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    For the marinade and chicken:
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika, plus more to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • For the tzatziki:
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, unpeeled (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups (554 grams) plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced*
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • For assembly:
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1 pound small-medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 4 large pitas (intending 1/2 per person) or more as needed
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade: Combine all of the ingredients in a gallon-size zip-top bag and smush them around until the chicken is well-coated. Refrigerate for anywhere between 2 and 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high and cook the chicken, discarding the leftover marinade, for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes then chop or slice into pieces.
  3. To make the tzatziki: Shred the cucumber using the shredding attachment of a food processor or on the large-holed side of a box grater. Wring the shredded cucumber in a clean kitchen towel until just about no liquid remains.
  4. Mix the shredded cucumber and all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. *The garlic will bloom in flavor the longer it sits before serving so you may want to cut back a little if you're planning to make the tzatziki in advance.
  5. To serve: Lay the lettuce, onion, tomatoes, chopped cucumber, feta, pitas, and chicken out on large platters or in serving bowls. Assemble salads with desired toppings with tzatziki drizzled over the top. Any leftovers will keep for a day or two, tops, in the fridge; tzatziki will last about 4-5 days; feta will last a couple of weeks.

Source

adapted from Goop via Smitten Kitchen

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2016/08/chicken-gyro-salad/

Peach Blueberry Pie
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Peach Blueberry Pie

I wish I had a better story to go along with this pie. But in all honesty, the past 6 weeks have been some of the most difficult in my life. I made this peach blueberry pie last Sunday in an effort to keep myself busy, to keep from crawling into a hole. My dad passed away almost 4 weeks ago after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer just two weeks before. There are no words to describe what this summer has been like. And even though he was 82, this was too soon. It was just too soon. I wasn’t ready to let go.

dad

My parents came to visit over Memorial Day weekend and dad showed no signs of being sick. He and I went on a shopping spree at the nursery for flowers for our yard – he pulled the wagon around like a spry young guy would have and helped me pack the car to the gills with flowers and ferns. We made Cobb salad for lunch that day. He helped us set up our deck furniture the next day. We made rotisserie chicken on the grill that night. A few weeks later, he played 18 holes of golf with a friend and flipped burgers on the grill at my brother’s house on the 4th of July. His decline was rapid and utterly heartbreaking. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a parent.

Peach Blueberry Pie

There’s no association I have between this peach blueberry pie and my dad. But aside from all of my other memories of him, the food we shared bonded us. His favorite was the humblest of meals – chicken parm. It was one of the first meals I could could cook while living on my own. It’s one of the last we shared as a family the night my dad came home from the hospital to spend his last days at home with his family. And it’s the one we honored him with during the luncheon following his funeral service.

Peach Blueberry Pie
Peach Blueberry Pie

It was as humble a meal as dad was a man. He was kindhearted, selfless, always smiling, and had a hilarious sense of humor. He grew up of the most meager means: the son of an Italian immigrant, one of four children, living in the Arthur Ave. and 187th St. area of the Bronx in the prewar era, moving around like gypsies throughout his childhood. In winters, he shoveled coal into the basements of his apartment buildings for heat and in summers, he hauled blocks of ice off the ice truck for the apartment’s ice box. As a kid, he learned to drive and smoke at the age of 12, hopped the wall at the Bronx Zoo to visit the animals, ran numbers, played dice in back rooms of local businesses, and played stick ball with friends in the park where the new Yankee Stadium now stands. As a teenager, he slept on the couch for a few years because the two bedrooms in their most recent apartment were for his parents and sister. This was life in the Bronx at that time.

Peach Blueberry Pie

Money or not, those Italians could cook. It was my grandmother who taught my mom how to make pasta e fagioli. And it was dad who passed his family’s gravy recipe on to me. It was that gravy, the smell of it permeating the house throughout my childhood, that inspired the name for this site.

Peach Blueberry Pie

This pie is humble in its own right. It’s one my dad would have loved, especially warm with a scoop of ice cream on the side. There’s no fuss happening here, except for maybe the lattice top. Sliced summer peaches at their peak of ripeness – not boiled and peeled, just sliced – blueberries, sugar, spices, natural thickeners, and lemon juice. The pie dough is different from my usual (and favorite) all butter, really flakey pie dough but in this case, it gave me a much firmer dough to work with than the all butter version, a quality needed when weaving this lattice pie lid.

Peach Blueberry Pie

Peaches and blueberries just work so well together, with their sweet and tart flavors playing off of each other. And this pie showcases these fruits – two of my summer favorites – so beautifully. I added just the right amount of thickeners to the fruit so that there’s no slumping or running away of the fruit and juices when you slice the pie. Each piece stands up on its own and holds an overzealous scoop of ice cream like a champ. The bottom crust is actually crispy, thanks to some shortening in the dough and 30 minutes baking on the bottom rack at a high temperature – and that crispness holds for 2 full days when kept at room temperature. I couldn’t have been happier with how this peach blueberry pie turned out. It’s one I’ll continue to make each summer; hopefully next summer with a lighter and more healed heart.

Peach Blueberry Pie

Peach Blueberry Pie

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

    For the dough:
  • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 7 tbsp (about 2 1/3 oz) vegetable shortening, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • 10 tbsp (5 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces and frozen for 30 minutes
  • 10 - 12 tbsp (1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups) ice water
  • For the pie filling and topping:
  • 4 medium peaches
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening and process for 10 seconds until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Scatter the cubed butter over the flour mixture and pulse it into the mixture with 10 to 12 1-second pulses. The butter should be about the size of small peas. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
  2. Drizzle 8 tablespoons of the water over the mixture and with rubber spatula, fold the water in until it comes together when you squeeze it lightly, adding the remaining 4 tablespoons of water as needed if the dough seems too dry.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces - one a little larger than the other, about 16 and 14 ounces each. Shape each piece into a flat disk, about 4 inches each, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days before rolling.
  4. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes until malleable. Roll the smaller piece into a 15 × 11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut the dough into 8 long pieces, 15 × 1 ¼ inches. Separate them slightly and freeze for about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining dough on well-floured surface into a 12-inch round. Roll the dough up on the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch pie dish, rolling it out in the dish and gently coaxing the dough snugly into the dish, leaving the sides to overhang the dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. To make the filling: Pit and slice the peaches into ¼-inch slices. Mix them together with the blueberries in a large bowl. Stir the 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, flour, cornstarch, and salt together and then stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the fruit mixture to the cold dough in the pie dish.
  7. Remove the dough strips from the freezer and position 4 of the strips evenly spaced next to each other over the fruit. Fold the 1st and 3rd strips two-thirds of the way back and lay one of the remaining strips perpendicular and atop the two flat strips already on the fruit. Return the folded strips back to their original position and repeat with the 2nd and 4th strips and another remaining strip of dough, spacing it evenly away from the side of the dish and the other strip of the same direction. Repeat each step once more until all of the dough strips are snuggled into the lattice shape. Trim the edges of the strips back to the edge of the dish and crimp the bottom dough up into the strips.
  8. Preheat the oven to 500° F with racks in the lowest and middle positions. Refrigerate the pie while the oven preheats. Reduce the oven temperature to 425° F and place the pie on a baking sheet. Brush the top dough and crimped edges with the heavy cream and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  9. Bake on the bottom rack for 25-30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F, cover the edges of the pie with a foil strip or silicone pie shield, and move the pie and baking sheet up to the middle rack. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 3 hours before cutting and serving. Leftovers can be kept loosely wrapped with foil to prevent the crust from getting soggy at room temperature for a few days.

Source

Lattice pie dough and baking method adapted from Cook's Illustrated | peach blueberry filling loosely adapted from Joy the Baker

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2016/08/peach-blueberry-pie/

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Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Dressing
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A classic Cobb salad for two, with its infinitesimal array of topping ideas, is the ultimate summer salad. Basically any dressing will do, but a 5-minute, egg-less, blender Caesar dressing gives this beauty a punch of saltiness it intrinsically needs.

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Salad

Let me preface this salad talk today with a tiny story. A yarn, if you will. For most of my life – like until the past two years – I thought this salad originated in Cape Cod around the turn of the 20th century. Every time I saw it on a restaurant menu or one of those now-so-hipster but originally-seen-in-the-corner-deli variety chalkboard menus, I envisioned beach goers packing up this salad in containers, spreading out old sheets or blankets (this was before we bought such things), enjoying it with a green dressing, sea spray in the hair and sand between the toes.

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Salad

And one day I was like: Duh. Cobb. Not Cod. I suppose the mix-up in my adult brain had something to do with the fabulous Ina Garten discussing green goddess dressing and packing meals for the beach. I swear I haven’t been smoking anything; I just wasn’t paying much attention.

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Salad

ANYWAY. This Cobb salad. I won’t go into the actual story behind the origin (wiki will tell you about it) because I want to gush to you about how fantastically easy it is to throw together and how incredible it is with this genius Caesar dressing. Most versions include grilled chicken which I’ve felt a little “meh” about recently so I skipped it. Believe me, you won’t miss it here.

This version is so loaded up with good stuff: hard-boiled eggs, juicy cherry tomatoes, ever-so-thinly sliced radishes and cukes, crumbled bacon and blue cheese, and a fanned-out avocado half. It’s all set atop a bed of crunchy chopped romaine and served with a quick blender-version Caesar dressing I’ve been pouring on everything for months. The punch of tangy flavor from this Caesar really sets the whole salad off.

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Salad

Feel free to use your favorite dressing though – ranch! creamy balsamic! red wine vinaigrette! fresh herb vinaigrette! ooo! a drizzle of balsamic reduction would be amazing, too! And of course, feel free to swap out/in your favorite toppings. I added what I had hanging out in my fridge before they reached the omg-point. (You know which point I’m talking about.)

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Salad

I made this Cobb salad with genius Caesar dressing a second time over Memorial Day weekend for my parents – who FLIPPED OUT over it – along with icy cold glasses of passion tea (without the lemonade). It was and will continue to be the ultimate summer weekend lunch – beach or no beach involved.

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Dressing

Cobb Salad for Two with Genius Caesar Dressing

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 main dish servings

A classic Cobb salad for two, with its infinitesimal array of topping ideas, is the ultimate summer salad. Basically any dressing will do, but a 5-minute, egg-less, blender Caesar dressing gives this beauty a punch of saltiness it intrinsically needs.

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2-4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced and fanned out
  • 2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
  • For the Genius Caesar dressing:
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp - ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced very finely
  • 2 anchovy fillets or 1 ½ tsp anchovy paste
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp hot sauce
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Assemble the salad: Arrange all of the salad components over a bed of lettuce on two plates or in two wide, shallow bowls. (I arranged the salad in the photos in one big bowl and then divided it between two plates.)
  2. To make the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender (starting with just 2 tablespoons of water and adding more if you want a thinner dressing). Season with salt and extra ground pepper to taste. Drizzle over salads. Store extra dressing a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Source

Smells Like Home original | Caesar dressing adapted from Food52 Genius Recipes

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2016/08/cobb-salad-for-two-with-genius-caesar-dressing/