Thursday, July 30, 2009

Greek-inspired grillin'

While perusing the latest recipes on this week (yes, I was being bad and doing it during class on Wednesday), I came across a couple of recipes that I thought would be perfect to try. After a quick trip to Publix on the way home from work, I had everything that I needed for an atypical but appetizing grilling experience: steak, roasted red peppers, coriander, and pita bread.

I started marinading the steak, but unfortunately, the weather decided not to cooperate. It started raining. When Rick and I talked on the phone, he said that he wasn't going to be able to come over that night due to his having to do some work at home. I decided that I would just throw the meat on my George Foreman and make a Greek salad as a test-run for our meal. Luckily, the weather cleared up, and Rick called back to say that he wanted to come over! Yay!!! While I waited for Rick to come over, I made bread crumbs out of leftover hamburger buns that were in the refrigerator for the roasted red pepper spread and started soaking bamboo skewers in some water.

I was finishing up the roasted red pepper spread when Rick arrived. I was excited to let him sample a taste of it. We were both pleasantly surprised at the spread, and when I put it in a plastic container to store until dinner time, I swear it looked like something I would buy at Whole Foods.

As I've mentioned before, Rick has expressed interest in taking a more active role in dinner preparation, and I have to admit that it is difficult for me to hand over the reigns. He told me last night that he doesn't like to follow recipes which doesn't make it any easier for me. Baby steps!! He was eager to help and joyfully smashed garlic to make the garlic and oregano oil to brush on the pitas. I decided not to do the feta corn that was part of the menu and do a simple Greek salad instead.

We headed outside to the grill and started off with the pita bread. Rick brushed them with the garlic-oregano oil after I took them off the grill, but of course, I had to brush at least one! As we were grilling them, Rick came up with an excellent idea--grilled pita bread pizzas! Looks like that's what we are going to be doing on Friday. He's going to bring over the toppings (a surprise) so we'll see what happens!

The meal turned out wonderfully! Th roasted red pepper and walnut spread was delicious with both the pita and the meat. It was also wonderful on the pita "sandwiches" with the leftover beef that I had for lunch today. Rick's apparently did not make it past 10 am. I promised Rick that I wouldn't quote him this time around because he fears that no one will believe the continued positive reviews of our meals. I'll just say that even though he's not a huge Greek fan, he definitely enjoyed this meal!

Here is the Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread recipe:

yield: Makes about 3 cups
active time: 10 min
total time: 15 min

2 (7-to 8-ounces) jars roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a baguette)
1 cup walnuts (4 ounces),
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Purée roasted red peppers, bread crumbs, walnuts, vinegar, cumin, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until almost smooth.
With motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until incorporated.

Cooks' notes: •Spread is also delicious with crudites, crackers, or toasts.
•Spread can be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Changes that I made:

  • Used leftover hamburger buns to make the breadcrumbs
  • Reduced the recipe by 3/4 due to my purchasing a 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers
The Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita recipe:
yield: Makes 6 servings
active time: 20 min
total time: 30 min

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
6 (6-to 8-inch) pocketless pita bread rounds
Kosher salt to taste

Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, turning once, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Discard garlic and remove skillet from heat, then stir in oregano.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure . Oil grill rack. Grill pitas, 3 at a time, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a cutting board and brush both sides with garlic-oregano oil. Cut pitas into wedges. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm.

Cooks' note: Pitas can be grilled in an oiled hot 2-burner grill pan over medium heat.
Changes that I made: We did 3 pitas only, and I added a little fresh ground black pepper to the oil.
And finally....the Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs!
yield: Makes 6 servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 2 1/2 hr (includes marinating)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 pounds sirloin flap steak or flatiron steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Equipment: 12 (12-inch) skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes if wooden
roasted red pepper and walnut spread

Stir together oil, oregano, garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then toss with beef. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (high heat for gas); see
Grilling Procedure . Thread about 4 pieces of beef onto each skewer, leaving small spaces between pieces, then transfer to a tray.
Oil grill rack, then grill beef, covered only if using a gas grill, turning, until browned but still pink inside, 4 to 5 minutes.

Cooks' notes: •Beef can be marinated up to 8 hours.•Kebabs can be broiled on an oiled broiler pan about 3 inches from heat.
Changes I made: I used 1 pound of plain ole sirloin because there were just two of us (and of course, I cooked mine rare).

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