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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homemade Oven Fries

Have I mentioned how much I love potatoes? Of course I haven't; this is only my second post.

But I do. Oh, how I love their pulpy, starchy goodness. I could eat them every day in any way (except potato salad. blech.)

So today I am posting one of my easiest, fastest, and simplest ways to make potatoes: oven fries!

I got this idea some time ago from a coupon insert (coupons are good for more than just saving money!) and it has become one of my favorite go-to side dishes (or main dishes, if I'm only cooking for myself) because of its simplicity and deliciousness.

Oven Fries
2 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (i.e. Mrs. Dash's, McCormick's, etc.)
Other seasoning of your choice

First, preheat your oven to 425*.

Now, you obviously need some potatoes. I usually use about 2 medium, but you can make however much you want and just adjust seasoning accordingly.

Now, you might think all potatoes are the same. But you are wrong. Potatoes from the farmer's market are so much more delicious. I can't name the specific quality that makes this so, so don't ask. Just trust me on this one. Go to the farmer's market for your potatoes.

Moving on. The potatoes I got from the farmer's market were pretty small, so I used about five very small (instead of two medium):

Before you cut them, mix up your spices. The important thing to keep in mind (in case you want to make more or less) is just to keep a proportionate amount of olive oil and grill seasoning.

So grab your grill seasoning. Our favorite is McCormick's Garlic and Onion, but I ran out of it awhile ago. I still have some others around the house, so I haven't bothered to purchase any more. So, for today, I am using this giant thing of McCormick's Garlic and Herb that I got for $1.99 from Ollie's (insert angel songs from heaven):

Add a tablespoon of it to a mixing bowl. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil:

Then, I usually like to just add a few more seasonings. Mostly this is for my own enjoyment. I usually add some pepper, paprika, garlic, and maybe some seasoning salt. You can skip this step if you want. But you need to add the paprika. Paprika is like heaven on earth:

Then, stir the olive oil and the seasonings together. It should look something like this:

You want it to be a little smoother than that. Mine was still a little clumpy, so I just added a bit more oil. This is better:

Then, cut your potatoes into wedges like so:

Add them to the bowl and mix it around so that are the potatoes are coated with the oil mixture:

Finally, lay them on a single layer on a baking sheet (or pizza stone, if you are lazy. like me):

Put them in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take them out and flip them so they cook more evenly. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until they are soft on the inside.

When they are done, they will be a little crispy and a lot delicious.

Now, dig in!

These are also especially tasty if you add some cheese during the last few minutes of baking. Yum. I didn't do that this time.

Enjoy your meal.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Post - Gyros With Homemade Tzatziki Sauce!

Welcome to my new blog!

I have thought about creating a food blog for awhile now, but haven't done it. Until now. 

So have a seat and get comfortable while I share some of my cooking (warning: you might not want to read this if you are hungry - it will only worsen your pangs).

My first post is going to be gyros with homemade tzatziki sauce. 

This spring, I lovingly grew 15 tomato plants and 4 bell pepper plants from seed. My intention was to plant them after my husband and I moved to a new state in June. 

Unfortunately, we moved to a townhouse with little sunlight. My tomatoes are not faring well, and I don't expect an abundant harvest, if I even get one at all (it is currently almost August and I have approximately 2 buds on all those plants).

Fortunately, some people at our church have been sharing their lovely garden goods with me.

A wonderful lady at church has been giving me an abundance of cucumbers over the past few weeks. Now, I love when people share their delicious garden bounty with me! But, I hate when perfectly good, healthy, fresh vegetables go bad. So I set off searching for different ways to use these cucumbers. What better thing to make than tzatziki sauce?

So that is just what I set out to do. 

After Googling some recipes, I found that tzatziki sauce is really pretty simple to make. I used this recipe as a guide, and here is what I did. I apologize that I do not have pictures of all these steps.

Tzatziki Sauce
2 5.5-oz cups of plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped (if you don't know how to seed a cucumber, check out the above link. I don't have pictures)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill weed

First, after seeding and chopping the cucumbers, put them in a strainer and sprinkle with some salt. Let them set for about 1/2 an hour. The salt is supposed to help the water drain off the cucumbers, so your sauce isn't as watery. Not much water came off mine in 1/2 and hour, but that's okay.

Next, put the chopped garlic, cucumbers, and lemon juice in a food processor. I used about 2 tbsp lemon juice, but this was a little too much, so I ended up having to add more cucumber. I would suggest adding some, tasting, then adding more if needed. Process these three ingredients in the food processor until smooth. The lemon juice does help the garlic and onion blend a little better.

Then, simply put the Greek yogurt in a bowl and add the cucumber mix. Stir in the dill weed.

Viola! Tzatziki sauce! Fresh and healthy.

Now, onto the meat. As you might know, gyros traditionally are made with lamb meat. Since I now live in The Land of No Diversity, I don't think I could find lamb meat. And, I'd probably be too cheap to buy it even if I could. So, I made my gyros with chicken.

I once again Googled some recipes. What I found is that most gyro meat contained rosemary and marjoram. So, I used this recipe to figure out how to season my meat.

Chicken Gyro Meat
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp dried rosemary 
1-2 tbsp olive oil, or more as needed

Mix the garlic, marjoram, and rosemary in a container. Add olive oil (I didn't actually measure the oil when I did this, so I am just guessing on the measurement. That's why I said to use more if needed) until it is kind of "saucy." I do wish I had a picture of this because I know that is not a good description. Sorry. Next time.

Anyway, add the chicken, and stir until the chicken is coated. You can use less marjoram and rosemary if you don't like quite a strong flavor. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

When you are ready, you can grill the chicken. I think this would have been the best idea, but I was a little too lazy. So I just cooked it in a pan on the stove. I drained the chicken juice off when it was done. Easy peasy! 

To make the gyros, just plop a little (ok, well a lot. but it's healthy, so do so without feeling bad) tzatziki sauce on some pita bread. Like so:

Then, add some chicken. Top with shredded lettuce, diced onion, and diced tomato. Finish it off with a little feta cheese! 

Roll it up, eat, and enjoy!