Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's All Greek to Me

This was our table spread for the fantastic Mediterranean meal I made.  A plate of thick cut tomatoes, olives, and feta, homemade falafel, homemade tzatziki, and homemade pitas.  That's right, I did it.  It took time, but really, only the pitas took much labor.  The rest was easy as pie (as such, I've never understood that expression, since pie, especially the crust, is notoriously difficult to make).  First up, Grilled Chipotle Falafel.
So easy.  So delicious.  The smell is intoxicating.  You can find the recipe at Panini Happy.  Now, one note.  The recipe does call for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Personally, I enjoyed the kick, but if you don't, you can always leave it out.  Also, if you have small children, I would recommend leaving it out.  I forgot how spicy the peppers are and was punished by having my 2-year-old daughter throw up falafel all over me.  Lovely.  And on that note, on to the tzatziki!
If you have never tried tzatziki, you are truly missing out.  It is one of the easiest and most delicious sauces you can find.  And please don't try storebought - it really doesn't compare.  It's light and healthy too!  Great for snacks.  The recipe can be found at Kalyn's Kitchen.  And now, for the pitas.
Oh how I love pitas.  Once again, fresh pitas are a million times better than the stuff you get at the store.  They are fluffy and chewy and awesome.  My husband kept sneaking pitas as they came out of the oven.  I had to chase him away to make sure we had enough for dinner.  So there it is.  I made 3 of my 100 things in one go, and it was fabulous.

Pita Pockets
from Family Meals by Maria Helm Sinskey

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup of the water, allow to bloom for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour to form a paste.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot until bubbly, about 15 minutes.  Add the remaining water, the remaining all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and the salt to the yeast mixture.  Using the dough hook, knead on medium speed until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn the ball to coat with the oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 2 hours.

Lightly flour a baking sheet.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a thick log.  Cut the log into 12 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a ball.  Place on the prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Position a rack at the lowest point in the oven, place a large baking sheet on it, remove the other racks, and preheat the oven to 500.  For each pita, on a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough ball into a round about 1/4 inch thick.  Lay the round on your palm, open the oven door, flip your hand over, dropping the round onto the hot sheet pan, and quickly close the door. (Ashley's note: I wouldn't suggest trying to bake more than one pita at a time.)  Bake until the round has puffed, 3-4 minutes.  Flip the puffed round with tongs and bake until browned, 2-3 minutes more.  Using the tongs, transfer the pita to a dish towel, fold the towel over to cover, and press gently with the tongs to deflate.  Work carefully, as the released steam is very hot.  Serve the pitas warm.


Jamie said...

That looks so good and i am so hungry right now. You should come down and make that for me.

Leesah said...

Wow Ashley, that looks amazing! Why did you have to move away? haha

Jana said...

ok these look to die for amazing! i'm putting these on my list of things to make!

Noelle said...

Oh man ash, these look amazing. When can we come visit?

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