Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken, pita, hummus, etc

Tonight was Greek night. I made:
-Greek viniagrette (homemade - Food Network, Ina Garten)
-b/s chicken breasts marinaded in greek vinagrette (b/s chicken breasts $2.49 @ Jewel till 8/12)
-hummus (homemade - Joy of Cooking)
-tzatziki (homemade - Joy)
-salad w/ Greek viniagrette
-Garnish - Thomas' Sahara whole wheat pita, diced: tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mozzarella.

Overall, it was tasty.
The highlights:

Greek Viniagrette. Red wine, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil. A key to making any type of viniagrette (a solution of vinegar and oil) is to wisk the vinegar and seasonings first, then add the oil s-l-o-w-l-y from a measuring cub while whisking. Make two batches. You'll notice a difference. Wife said that it needed a stronger vinegar presence and less oregano, though it was good.

Greek Chicken.
The chicken was pounded to appx 1/2" and marinaded for about 2 hours. Grilled out doors.
Pounding the chicken does 2 things:
1) makes it more tender
2) makes the thickness consistent, allowing for consistent doneness throughout the meat.
Chicken can be marinaded as long as 2 days or as soon as 5 minutes. The type of marinade you use and the desired taste will vary the time. Ex. A salty marinade is best done in less time. To allow longer time, add water or another liquid filler to dilute.
Preheated the grill on high till it was appx 475 degrees. DON'T GREASE THE GRATES!
Put the chicken on SMOOTH SIDE DOWN.
Close the grill, turn down to MED-HIGH. Cook appx 4-7 minutes per side. DON'T TOUCH THE CHICKEN AFTER PUTTING IT ON! You'll know it's ready to turn when some white, fatty liquid appears on top of the chicken and it easily separates from the grates. ONLY TURN ONCE.

Here are some things that need some work.
Hummus. Needs to be made 1-2 days earlier than I want to use it. When I've just made it, the tahini and lemon flavors overwhelm the dish. Perhaps I could use less of both. While Joy's recipe says to use 1-16oz can of chick peas, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 3 T tahini, I should first blend the beans, then add some salt and garlic, then add the lemon juice and tahini 1 T at a time and then taste. The Jewish-Egyptian mother of a neighbor suggested using some olive oil. That might add some good flavor as well as smooth it out.

Tzatziki. The recipe calls for diced cucumber. I think it would be better grated, as in dill sauce. Also, it called for 1 T. ea of dill and mint. Probably could have gone 1-2 t. of mint, though I like dill. More garlic.

Pita. I used the tortilla warmer lined with waxed paper to warm the pitas in the microwave. While it made them and kept them warm, it also made the top and bottom ones a bit gummy on the exposed sides. Next time I'll warm them in the oven or on the grill, then put them in linen in the warmer.

Feta cheese. Needed it.

Overall, a good and healthy meal.

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