Sunday, April 26, 2009

Turkey Gyros and Yogurt Sauce

This is a quick, healthy and flavorful recipe that captures a little taste of Greece. 

28 minutes; serves 4

1/2 small onion
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
4 flat pita bread rounds (I like the ones without pockets)
sliced cucumber and tomatoes

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves pressed
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh cucumber, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 500 F. Mix the following gyro ingredients: garlic, onion, parsley, turkey, thyme, salt and black pepper. Mix until well blended.

2. Add oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat for 1-3 minutes. Form turkey into four thin, rectangular loaves, about 1/4 in. thick. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place skillet in oven and bake 6-8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F and loaves are no longer pink in the center.

3. Meanwhile prepare sauce by combining yogurt, garlic, salt, parsley and chopped cucumber.

4. Microwave pita bread 30-60 seconds. Slice cucumbers and tomatoes.

5. Remove turkey from oven. Thinly slice lengthwise. A bread knife works well. Arrange over pita and top with yogurt sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taqueria Style Carne Asada

This is a nice taco meat recipe with lots of flavor. Top with whatever you like, but sour cream with a little lime juice complements it very well. It also works well with the home made tortillas. The combination of oregano, cumin and paprika is common mix in Mexican recipes and is one of my favorites. It's even a nice addition to black beans to use on rice.

  • 3 pounds flank steak (or whatever is cheapest)
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  1. Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the marinated flank steak into cubes or strips. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated. (Remember that cubed or stripped steak doesn't take long to cook and get tough so waiting until liquid evaporates may be too long in my opinion)


If you are feeling adventurous, you can try making your own tortillas using this simple recipe. I admit I've only tried this once and tortillas take a lot of rolling to get them thin. A lot mine were thick and it's almost like eating a taco pastry. I'm thinking of investing in a tortilla press, which makes the process much easier. Also note that it doesn't take long to cook a tortilla. If you cook it too long, it will break apart when you try to roll it. If your skillet or griddle is hot enough the recommended time below may be too long.

Like I said, tortillas take some practice but its fun to try at least once.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup hot water

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Either by hand or with a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening till the mixture is crumbly. If the mixture looks more floury than crumbly, be sure to add just one or two more tablespoons of shortening till it is crumbly. Add about 3/4 cup hot water to the mixture, or just enough to make the ingredients look moist.
  2. With your hand or a large fork, knead the mixture making sure to rub the dough against the sides of the large mixing bowl to gather any clinging dough. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, add a couple more tablespoons of flour until the dough forms a soft round shape. The dough is ready to roll out now, but it is best to let it rest. Cover it with a dish towel, and let it sit for about an hour or so.
  3. Take the dough, and pull it apart into 10 to 12 balls. Lightly flour your rolling area, and roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.
  4. Place each tortilla on a medium hot cast iron skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla does not look doughy.

Skirt Steak with Pepita Sauce

This is a very simple and fresh recipe. We tried it today in fact and were very pleased. It comes from Real Simple magazine. A nice yellow rice would go great with it or a simple chips and salsa.

Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (any thing works, I used London broil because it was on sale)
salt and black pepper
8 tortillas
1/2 red onion, finely chopped (I usually use cut down the recommended amount of red onion)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pepitas (these are roasted pumpkin seeds with a nice toasty, nutty flavor)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

The recipe says to broil the steak, but I grilled mine on a quick gas grill

Heat broiler. Season steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and place on a rimmed broilerproof baking sheet. Broil to the desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. (This is important so the meat soaks up the juices)

Warm tortillas however you like. Surprisingly the package has directions, in case you forgot how.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, cilantro, pepitas, oil, lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with steak and tortillas.

Word Up

Tales from the Home Skillet. This blog will be used to share recipes tried, tested and approved in our kitchen. My interest in blogging about current events has dwindled and food has always been a favorite of mine. I've said before that it would be great to be a successful economist, but my dream job would be food critic.

Most recipes will be tested by yours truly. You see, I do the cooking in our house. Not that Jaclyn isn't great at it, I just enjoy it more and it is a nice way to relax on the weekends (during the week, not so much). It's our little arrangement- she balances the check book and I do most of the cooking. It works out nice because of my minimalism (okay cheapness). Otherwise we'd be using oscillating fans instead of A/C for example.

We like simple fresh recipes of Mexican or Mediterranean flavor, so that's mostly what you'll see but we'll mix it up. I've already added a few as you can see, to get the ball rolling.