Gyros recipes

Gyros Meat

1 large onion peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground lamb*

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 tablespoon marjoram

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the onion and garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until a smooth paste forms, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times to evenly distribute the mixture. (If you do not have a food processor, you may also use a stand mixture and its paddle attachment to combine the meat into the paste-like texture.) Spread and press very firmly into an 8½-by-4½-inch greased loaf pan, making sure to smooth the top flat.

Place in preheated oven and bake approximately 50 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the middle registers 165 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.

Once cooled, remove from the pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill several hours or overnight for easier slicing.

*If you cannot find, or do not care for ground lamb, feel free to use all ground beef.

To make the gyros:

Unwrap the gyro loaf and use a sharp knife to cut long strips no thicker than ¼ inch. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Lay the meat strips in the pan and fry until lightly browned on each side. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain slightly and use in desired preparation.

Makes 6 to 8 gyros sandwiches

Penny Kazmier

Homemade Pita Bread

1 2/3 cup (200 grams) all-purpose flour

1¾ cup (200 grams) whole-wheat flour

1½ teaspoons instant or quick rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1¼ cups (295 grams) water

Cooking spray

All-purpose flour for counter

Combine flours, yeast and salt in a bowl; mix. Add water and mix until a shaggy dough forms and turn out onto the counter. Knead by hand 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. (If using a mixer, shorten the time by approximately half.) Spray the interior of a medium-size bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl, turning to coat with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap (I use a shower cap) and place in a draft-free location for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Once risen, remove plastic wrap and on a lightly floured counter, divide dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place balls 1 inch apart on counter and allow to rest covered in plastic wrap approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a cast-iron skillet or pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Sprinkle counter with flour and roll each dough ball into a 6- to 7-inch diameter circle approximately 1/8-inch thick. Using a floured pizza peel or back of a cold baking sheet, slide rolled dough onto hot pan in oven and allow to bake 2½ to 3 minutes. This should be done as soon as the dough has been shaped and is a continuous process as you bake the remaining dough. (Be sure to stand near your oven to watch during the baking of your first pita as it is amazing to watch the dough puff up.) Carefully remove each baked pita from the oven, place on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel so they remain soft. Allow pita to cool several minutes before serving. Store after completely cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic. These freeze well.

Makes 8

Penny Kazmier

Tzatziki Sauce

2 cups grated cucumber (one seedless cucumber works well)

1½ cups plain Greek yogurt (preferably not fat-free)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, mint or a combination

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 medium clove fresh garlic, pressed or finely minced

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (I added an extra ¼ teaspoon after the mixture set)

Place grated cucumber in a wire strainer and sprinkle with a good pinch of salt, toss and allow to sit 10 minutes. Press cucumber into strainer to remove excess moisture. (You want this to be as dry as possible.) Place drained cucumber in a medium-size bowl.

Add yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, garlic and salt to the drained cucumber and stir to combine. Allow mixture to rest 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add additional chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice and/or salt as desired.

Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, just be sure to place a dry paper towel on the top of the surface of the mixture to absorb any excess moisture that may accumulate. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 2½ cups

Penny Kazmier

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