~A Greek Affair!!

Yesterday (April 28th 2016) was my 30th birthday!! Yes, I know I know, I am 30 now! The big 3-0!!

Well, for the most part I am kid at heart so I am excited. I have a feeling this decade is going to be an awesome one, rest of which time will tell 🙂 On the eve of my birthday, the hubby surprised me with 30 balloons and flowers which made my day! To top it all off, he even cooked dinner!! Talk about being pampered! I am a lucky girl!!

I will be recapping my birthday celebrations in a separate blog post, but in the meantime wanted to share the recipes the hubby made that evening for dinner.

These recipes are not my original. We attended a couple’s cooking class at Sur La Table this past January (I’ll be talking about our experience in that class on the blog soon) and the hubby followed their recipe for the most part making some tweaks along the way. So the recipes below are the ones with our modifications.

Serving size for the dishes shared below is 2-4 adults.

Warm Rosemary and Garlic Olives with Pita Bread

This is a pre-dinner snack. The olive mix can be made in bulk and stored covered, in the fridge for about 4 weeks. We bought the Pita Bread from Phoenicia and popped them in the oven just before eating. The warm pita bread went perfectly with the olives.

To make the olive mix you will need:

  • 3 cups Kalamata olives, or a mix or olives, rinsed well (we prefer the pitted ones, but that’s up to you)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 300F

2) In a Pyrex bowl (or any oven safe bowl) mix together olives, garlic, orange zest, rosemary and olive oil. Bake in the oven until the oil is bubbling, stirring halfway through. Usually takes 30 minutes. Once done, take out of oven and let the olives cool to room temperature (still warm though) before serving.

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Warm Rosemary and Garlic Olives with Pita Bread

Greek Village Salad with Pita Croutons

Ingredients:

  • 1 bell pepper (capsicum) of any color, cored, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 pieces of Pita Bread, cut to bite pieces, toasted – these are the croutons!

Method:

In a large salad bowl, combine the bell pepper, cucumber, green onions, lettuce and the herbs. In a small bowl mix together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk well. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients. Add tomatoes, cheese and pita croutons and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as per your liking. Your salad is ready!

 

Tzatziki Sauce

This sauce is delish you guys!! It’s just so refreshing and yummy! Even though it’s a Mediterranean dish, it can be paired well with Indian food too, if you want a twist to the ever green Indian Raita! I myself will be trying this out instead of the Raita with Biryani or some other dish that needs to paired with raita I make in the future.

Tzatziki Sauce is traditionally served as a dip for various appetizers and grilled meat options. It’s applications are seemingly endless!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cucumber, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon of salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 cups whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1) Grate the peeled cucumber and transfer to a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Toss it with ½ teaspoon of salt. Let it stand for 10 minutes and the press the cucumber with the back of a spoon to discard any excess liquid.

2) In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as per your liking. Your sauce is ready to serve! You can cover it and put it in the fridge to make it last for close to 2 days.

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Tzatziki Sauce

Chicken Souvlaki Skewers

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, trimmed to discard fat, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Skewers (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to use)
  • Oil for spraying (we used PAM)
  • 1 medium tomato thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced

Method:

1) In a medium bowl add all the marinade ingredients and mix to combine. Add chicken and toss to coat the chicken with the marinade evenly. Cover and put the marinate in the fridge for atleast 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

2) When ready to make, preheat oven to 375F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray cooking oil.

3) Put chicken on skewers leaving ¼ inch between pieces

4) Place the skewers on the oiled baking tray and drip any leftover marinate on top of the pieces. Spray oil and put it in the oven for a total of 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Keep an eye out for the chicken might start to dry while cooking, in which case spray some more oil.

5) Take them out of the oven and place the skewers on a dish, served with cut tomatoes, onions and Pita bread along with the earlier prepared Tzatziki Sauce!

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Chicken Souvlaki Skewers

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Yummy in my tummy!!

While I was boring and just had water with lemon and mint, the hubby paired his food with red wine (Becker Vineyards Malbec) and really enjoyed the pairing. Now you are all set to enjoy the Mediterranean flavors in the comfort of your own home! Enjoy and do let me know how you liked these dishes.

TGIF!! Have a great weekend y’all 🙂

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3 thoughts on “~A Greek Affair!!

  1. Pingback: ~ 2016: My year in review!! | raindropstosunshine

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