Monday, February 7, 2011

Going Greek: Tzatziki and Lamb Kebobs

I decided to try cooking up something new for 2011.  This time I wanted to try making Greek food since we love eating it in restaurants.  So I made some homemade tzatziki from scratch and some marinated pork loin chops.  The pork loin chops were really hard to find in a regular grocery store that wasn’t super expensive, but I had some good luck finding some at a reasonable price at Costco.  We tested it on some friends and it was definitely delicious and tasty.  So good, we’re going to eat it again this week to use up the fresh herbs.

Tzatziki: Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)

Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature

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Final tzatziki product

Grilled Lamb Chops

Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Directions

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

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Clean, dry, and cut the loin chops then marinate with the dressing

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We let it sit overnight to soak in the flavors

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I used a hot grill pan and seared on both sides for 2 1/2 minutes.

We served the lamb loin chops with white rice, toasted pita flatbread, a spring green salad, and the tzatziki dipping sauce.  YUMMY!

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