Sorry for the lack of updates….it’s the beginning of the month, which means studying for three tests. Thank goodness I only have to do another two weeks of psycho studying and then SUMMER!!
First, apples. This is actually kind of a boring “experiment.” I’m kind of having a hard time differentiating between the different apples, probably because I eat them so far apart. Today I had a Jonagold apple, which I really enjoyed. It was really juicy…it tasted like apple juice. That’s probably dumb to say, but some apples don’t taste like apple juice, you know? Red Delicious apples are definitely not in any apple juice I’ve tried…they have a completely different taste than apple juice. One of my favorite parts of the Jonagold was its massive size…it was freaking HUGE! I know I said this week was Pink Lady week, but I had a tightwad moment when I saw the price…something like $2.80 a pound? Noo, thank you. Maaaaybe next week.
Anyways, this past Sunday I made an AWESOME dinner. This dinner was so cool to me because it had a “theme,” if you will…everything had a kind of (Americanized) Greek vibe to it. This super dinner consisted of (ahem): Greek turkey burgers, Chickpea salad, and pita chips.
SO. GOOD. And so easy!
(I’m fully aware that this dinner is by no means gourmet or anything, but I’m [slowly] working up the cooking ladder)
First, the salad. The recipe comes from Shelley’s mom and I had it awhile back when Shelley brought some leftovers back from a family cookout. It’s basically, in my opinion, a quintessential cookout/summer salad – very fresh, very light, and simple ingredients. I love the crisp cucumbers and the addition of chickpeas and black beans makes it hearty enough for a meal in itself. It’s also really colorful, and you all know how big of a sucker I am for colorful dishes. This is also one of those dishes that taste better after you let everything marinate together for a long time…yum.
Taken from Shelley’s mom, serves 6-8
– 3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
– 1 can chickpeas, drained
– 1 peeled cucumber, cut into chunks
– 1 green bell pepper, chopped
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 can black beans
– 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
– 1/2 of a lemon, juiced plus zest
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– 1/2 packet of (you guessed it) Italian Dressing mix
I basically just dumped all of the ingredients into a tupperware, then put the lid on and shook it up to mix everything together. The cilantro and lemon really shine in this salad, so add them. Unless you’re one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap. Then don’t add it.
Next up I made some pita chips. It wasn’t anything really special and it was kind of on a whim…I decided after staring at a bag of pita chips at the store that I was perfectly capable of making pita chips myself.
And so it happened. And they were good.
Actually, I burnt half of them. It’s so weird to be able to burn food now that we have a new oven. Burning anything was practically impossible in our old oven…we were much more susceptible to salmonella from undercooked chicken. Gross.
Anyways, all I did was cut two pitas in half, then tear the halves apart, then cut them into chips. I topped them with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. And I also may or may not have added Italian Dressing Mix….then I baked them in a 350 degree oven for maybe 10 minutes? So since I burned them, you should cook yours for 8ish. Just keep your eye on them, okay? The pita chips tasted pretty good, although next time I don’t think I’ll separate the pita…I’ll just cut it in half, then cut it into chips. I think they’ll be crunchier and more like the store version that way.
Also, don’t eat a pita chip straight out of the oven. Immediately after taking them out of the oven, I decided that it would be an excellent idea to taste one.
Stupid. I burnt the crap out of my tongue.
Finally, the burgers. Actually, it was more like meatloaf in burger form. I don’t believe a real burger should have anything mixed in the meat…a hamburger = meat patty, not meat patty + cheese + breadcrumbs + blablabla……
But for the sake of this blog, I will be calling them Greek burgers. It sounds a lot more appealing that Greek Meatloaf Patties. Gross.
I took this recipe straight from a blog called Iowa Girl Eats. She has a ton of great recipes and her posts are so cute. I pulled a rockstar diaries and read ALL of her entries. Stalker, much? Yes.
These “burgers” were a big deal for me. Sun-dried tomatoes. I have coveted those shriveled tomatoes ever since seeing them on Everyday Italian two years ago. I previously avoided all recipes with sun-dried tomatoes though, only because they are so expensive (one small jar = $6.00). I decided that this was finally the time to break down and buy them, so with the consent of Shelley and Kayla (who graciously let me add the jar to the “group pile” in the buggy), we bought them.
“Small” blunder = flinging $2.50 worth of chopped sun-dried tomatoes on the floor because half of the cutting board was hanging off the counter. It was really ironic and really stupid. Shelley said she wanted to laugh at me, but was scared to because of the look on my face.
Greek Turkey “Burgers”
Taken from Iowagirleats.com, serves 6
– 1 lb. ground turkey
– 8 sun-dried tomatoes
– 3/4 package of frozen spinach (thawed with liquid squeezed out)
– 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese I used the tomato basil feta…YUM
– 1/4 purple onion, finely diced
– About a tsp each of thyme, oregano and dill
Basically I just dumped all of the ingredients into a huge bowl, mixed it with my hands until everything was well incorporated, then let the meat mass hang out in the fridge for about an hour. Then I formed them into six patties, heated up a tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, and let them cook. It probably took 7 minutes on each side. The patties surprisingly stayed together really well – I seriously considered mixing an egg in to bind everything together, but the patties definitely didn’t need it. I think the hour of chilling in the fridge really helped.
These were so flavorful. I didn’t put any condiments on top (only had some spicy mustard with a few bites) and I didn’t put it in a bun (I think think bread takes away from the yummy stuff in between) and it was still delicious. Next time, I think I’ll try to make a yogurt dip to put on top of the burgers (mmm), but they don’t really need it. The feta cheese melted and became kind of gooey and every once in awhile I’d get a bite with a chunk of sun-dried tomato…UGH. SO GOOD. My favorite part (besides the taste) was of course all of the colors…purple from the onion, red from the tomatoes, green spinach…very beautiful, in my opinion.
Food = art. And my food is equal to a four year old’s finger painting, compared to food that Ina Garten makes. Oh well. I’m still young.