Like a crunchy deconstructed gyro.
Don’t get us wrong, we like nachos as much, nay, more than the next person but variety is the spice of life. What better way to give the chip/meat/cheese/sauce combo than take it on a trip through the Mediterranean? No better way, that’s what. Go ahead and use beef if you can’t find ground lamb or don’t like the flavor. You can also save some time by using pre-made olive tapenade, but we suggest trying to make it at least once; it’s easy and the results taste much fresher.
Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Frying Pan, Mixing Bowl, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Basting Brush (or) Pastry Brush, Microplane
Serving Suggestion: Family Style
Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pale Ale
- 1 lb ground lamb ($6.99/lb)
- 1 medium red onion ($1.29/lb)
- 8 oz feta cheese ($4.39/8 oz)
- 2-3 C tzatziki sauce (About $5/16 oz tub or make your own)
- 10 whole wheat pita pockets (about $1.29/6 pack)
- 1/2 lb pitted olives ($5.99/lb)
- 4 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
- 2 TBSP fresh rosemary (about $1.99/sprig)
- 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil, divided ($8.99/32 oz)
- 1 TBSP ground oregano ($2/2 oz jar)
- 1 TBSP ground cumin ($3.50/2 oz jar)
Olive Tapenade Preparation:
- Finely dice the olives and toss them in your bowl or container.
Dice them small but don't mince them into mush.
- Zest in the skin of the lemon, then squeeze in the juice. Be careful not to get any seeds in.
Stop when you hit the pith (the white part) to avoid bitterness.
- Mince the rosemary and toss it in the mix. Peel your garlic and turn it into a paste by sprinkling about a teaspoon of salt on top and repeatedly pressing it with the edge of your chef’s knife. Throw it in with the rest.
We grow our own.
- Crack about a tablespoon of fresh black pepper in, pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and give it a good stir to make sure everything is well-distributed. Adjust your flavors as you see fit and let the mix sit in the fridge for about an hour to let the flavors meld before you use it.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Take your pitas and cut them into eighths. Pull the halves apart so each piece becomes two chips. Place the triangles in a single layer on your baking sheets, brush them with olive oil and give them a good sprinkle of salt. Put them in the oven for 5 minutes or until crisp. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Don’t saturate them, a light basting will do.
- While the chips are baking dice your onion and mince the 3 cloves of garlic. Remove the chips when they’re done.
- Put the frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook them down for about 5 minutes.
- Toss in the lamb and season it with the cumin, oregano and a good dose of salt and pepper. Break up all the meat and cook it through, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes).
Lamb gives the whole shebang a richer flavor.
- Drain as much of the fat off as you can and spread the meat evenly across the pita chips. Crumble the feta on top of that and pop the baking sheets back in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Pull the nachos out, spread tzatziki and tapenade across the top and devour.
Posted in Recipes
Tagged appetizer, baked, feta cheese, lamb, lemons, Mediterranean, olives, onions, oven, pita bread, snack, stove top
Fried stuff with dipping sauce? Don't mind if we do.
Oh zucchini, such benign taste and texture, what are we to do with you? While nothing to write home about on its own, this summer squash makes for a great addition to pasta dishes or as part of a grilled vegetable medley. How are we gonna twist this one up? Add cheese? Check. Fry? Check. Serve with a tasty yogurt accompaniment? Just read on and cook some already, dammit.
Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, Cheese Grater, Colander, 2 Mixing Bowls, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Spoon, Paper Towels
Serving Suggestion: Family Style for appetizers, Individual Plating as a main course
Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, un-oaked Chardonnay, Dry Riesling
Suggested Beer Pairing: Summer Ale, Pilsner, Saison, Pale Ale
- 2 large zucchinis ($2/lb)
- 4 cippolini onions (about $2/lb)
- 4 oz feta cheese ($4.39/8 oz)
- 2 eggs (about $1.50/dozen)
- 8 TBSP flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
- 1 TSP garlic powder ($2/2.5 oz jar)
- 6 oz Greek yogurt ($2)
- 1 lemon ($0.50 each)
- About 5 TBSP vegetable oil (about $4/48 oz)
- 2 TBSP fresh mint (you’ll need about 2-3 good sized sprigs) ($4/bunch)
Yogurt Sauce Preparation:
- Put the yogurt in a mixing bowl and squeeze in the juice of your lemon.
- Take the mint leaves off the stem and do a quick chiffonade (we like the word, ok; just cut them thinly). Toss them in with the yogurt, stir and refrigerate until your pancakes are done.
Chop your mint into tiny, thin slices so you're not picking whole leaves out of your teeth later.
- Wash the zucchini, cut off the ends and grate them down. Line your colander with paper towels, toss the shredded veg in and add a few healthy pinches of salt. Put the colander in the sink and let it sit for about 10 minutes bit to draw the liquid out.
Draw the liquid out of the zucchini to help it get crispier.
- While your squash is getting dehydrated, peel and finely dice your onions. When you’re done with that, press the zucchini to get as much liquid out as possible. Throw all your veggies into the mixing bowl, beat two eggs and pour them in. Add the feta, flour, garlic powder and a few turns of the pepper mill, then stir so everything is evenly mixed.
Eggs and flour help the veggies keep it together.
- Put your frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with vegetable oil. Once it’s starting to shimmer spoon in a few dollops of the mix; be sure to leave enough space in between them so they don’t touch. Fry until the edges crisp up, around 3-4 minutes, then flip and leave them on for another 4.
Flip when they're golden brown.
- Lay out some paper towels and let your little bundles of joy drain while you fry up the rest of them. Serve with a dollop of yogurt sauce on each one.
If this doesn't look delicious, maybe it's time you started seeing other cooking teachers.
This exotic sounding variation on an all American classic is deceptively simple to make and even easier to eat. Lamb provides a richer, gamier flavor while herbs, spices and feta take your taste buds on a cruise through the Mediterranean. Serve with olives, designer sunglasses and plenty of chest hair.
Equipment Needed: Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Mixing Bowl, Frying Pan w/ Lid, Spatula
Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating
Suggested Wine Pairing: Rioja, Tempranillo, Merlot or Malbec
Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ales, Extra Special Bitter (ESB), Scotch Ales, Winter Ales
- 1lb. ground lamb ($4.99/lb)
- 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 1 tsp oregano (about $3/jar)
- 1 tsp ground cumin (about $3.50/jar)
- 1 small red onion ($1.50/lb)
- Boston or Red Leaf lettuce ($2.50/lb)
- Chunk feta cheese ($4/8 oz)
- Hamburger buns ($3/8 pack
- Tzatziki sauce (about $5/tub; yeah, we copped out on this one; we’ll teach you how to make your own in another lesson)
- Mince your garlic and throw it in your mixing bowl with the lamb, cumin and oregano. Add 1-2 tsps each of salt and pepper and mix it all together with your hands. (This is not only the easiest, but the most fun way to do it. Get over your raw meat hang ups and get on with it).
Get in there and mix it up.
- Grab about a fistful of meat and flatten it into a patty about 1/2 an inch thick. Now go wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
Form the patties evenly so they cook through in the same amount of time.
- Place the frying pan over medium heat and, once hot, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Put your burger patties in and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. About 2 minutes after you’ve flipped the burgers, put a big slice of feta on top and put the lid on the pan for the last couple of minutes.
Sound the alarms, it's a meltdown.
- Slip that meat in between a your buns (double entendre very intended). Slice the red onion thinly and dress your burger along with a couple of leaves of lettuce. Smear on tzatziki sauce to your heart’s content and enjoy.