I generally enjoy living out in the country, however, we do live 25 minutes from the nearest town and, more importantly, major grocery store. So, I have to plan carefully whenever I decide to coerce Yes! Chef! into cooking something for me. My youngest son works at Safeway in Placerville, so when I drop him off for work and I have planned appropriately, I can pick up what I need. I can’t just run into town every day because it is too expensive gas-wise and too time consuming.
What does this have to do with Chicken Gyros, I hear someone ask. Well, I think I might have mentioned in some earlier blog posts that I have been enjoying taking a Photography for Food Bloggers course over at PPSOP.com taught by Ron Goldman and Lara Ferroni. (Quite the high-powered duo, I know, right?) And this blog is my final assignment. I must say that I’m a little apprehensive about doing this post, but I will plow ahead anyway.
Oh, yes…living out in the country. I finally decided what dish I wanted to make for my final blog assignment but I didn’t want to run all the way into town for just a couple of ingredients. We have a little country store about 10 minutes from here and I can generally find things I need but not always. I knew I was taking a big chance, but sometimes you just have to take a risk.
I was using a recipe I found from The Girl Who Ate Everything Blog. The Recipe was Chicken Gyros. She made them look quite tasty and I do like Greek food. I piled Obie T. Dogg in the car with me because he had a bad case of cabin fever and off we went. I was able to locate some good looking skinless, boneless chicken thighs and some tomatoes. So far, so good. I did find pitas, but they were perforated so that you didn’t have to be bothered with cutting them in order to stuff them. I’m not a fan of perforated food, but beggers can’t be choosers. I figured the only thing that I might not find was the Greek Yogurt. They did have it only it was vanilla flavored. So, I used plain yogurt instead (boo! and my apologies to “The Girl Who Ate Everything”). But who would think that the little store wouldn’t have any cucumbers? What is up with that? I substituted English cukes (which, truth be known, I like a little better anyway.)
After a quick stop down by the creek so that Obie could stretch his legs, we headed home with the goods. This little creek runs at the bottom of our property and we love to stop here because Obie always find something to smell and I always find something to take a picture of. You must excuse this little picture, but I had just gotten an Iphone the day before and I was itching to try out the camera with an instagram. (Cough. I need practice.)
First I made the marinade for the chicken because I wanted get the chicken in the marinade right away. The recipe calls for marinating the chicken for at least an hour but says that marinating it for 24 hours makes the chicken even more tender. I did end up marinating it over night.
I chopped up the garlic, squeezed lemon, mixed in yogurt and the rest of the ingredients for the marinade. Then I tossed in the chicken thighs. The smell of the sauce was wonderful. All garlicky and everything. I wrapped it up securely with saran wrap so it wouldn’t “stink” up the fridge, tucked it in and said good night.
After that, I made the Tzatziki sauce. Now, in my opinion a good Tzatziki sauce makes or breaks a gyros. This sauce appeared to be a good one. It had all the right ingredients. I love the coolness that the cucumber adds and the tangy-ness of the yogurt.
I enjoy the prep part of a recipe and good prep makes for good end product. Yes! Chef! would say “Mise en place“, which means have everything in place and prepped before you start to cook. (When I was younger I would prep as I cooked and it never worked out very well. This is probably one of the reasons Yes! Chef! does most of the cooking.) The cucumber needs to be peeled, seeds removed and then the cucumber gets grated. Then you need to squeeze all the water out of it by wrapping the grated cucumber in a towel and squeezing. It sounds complicated and time consuming, but it’s not. And, the sauce will be too watery if you don’t squeeze out all the water.
THE NEXT DAY…
So today started out gray and rainy, which is always a good day to cook. (Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about Yes! Chef! cooking at this point.) The rain soon turned into snow while I chopped up the tomatoes and red onions. Yes! Chef! wandered downstairs as if by magic, just in time to cook the chicken. I would have cooked the chicken, but he does a much better job. I asked him if he would kindly cook the chicken and he smiled (one of those indulgent “I’d do anything for you” smiles) and set about getting things ready. Meanwhile, I set a pretty table for the photos. I wanted to use natural light, but because of the bad weather, it was pretty dark in here. But, I set things up by our big windows and hoped for the best.
Greek food, for some reason, reminds me of blue. Maybe it’s the flag. Maybe it’s the beautiful color of the water. Anyway, I thought blue and white would look great with the Gyros.
Here’s Yes! Chef! doing what he does best…cooking. The chicken was quite tender due to marinating overnight in the yogurt mixture. He pan fried it lightly on the stove top and then popped it in the oven to finish it up. He uses the touch method to find out if it’s done or not. As far as I’m concerned, it’s some sort of magic trick, so I’m not much help on that end.
At any rate, the chicken was wonderfully done and he sliced it up after letting it rest for 5 minutes.
Then we made the Gyros, I photographed them and then we ate! (The best part.)
The chicken was very, very tender but not mushy. The sauce was tangy and a little pungent because of the garlic. I’m not a big fan of raw red onion, so I was not very liberal with it. The tomatoes were sweet and acidic. A great condiment with the sandwich. All in all, I would make it again and, more importantly, I would eat it again. It was a great light meal.
Here’s the recipe.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. (And I hope I get a good grade!)