Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm So Fancy

There's somethin' somethin' about a gratin that seems so posh.

So, I just MUST whip up some Bay Scallop Gratins courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa the next time I have a get together. I'm sure they will be a super big hit with my usual crowd of 3-year-olds.

In this go-around, I made them for little ole' moi and The Husband along with the kiddo. My adventurous 3-year-old actually did eat two whole bites of scallop. But he was enticed by the promise of  a Hershey's Kiss for his new-food-trying efforts.

I followed this recipe almost to the T. I did not have Pernod, and then I looked up what it is: a licorice-flavored liquor. Ummm. That flavor mixed with scallop flavor in my mind brought on a huge wave of the gags. So, I just substituted the Pernod for another tablespoon of white wine, which is already called for in the recipe. Sorry, Barefoot Contessa. Since we're keeping it real, dear readers, I whipped up these scallops last week while in the midst of a major asthma episode. And my deluxe cocktail of inhalers, steroids and meds kind of killed my appetite. And brought on some major nausea and shakes and delirium. Good times! But that is why I opted for the more basic-tasting wine, if you know what I mean.

When I make these again just for The Husband and me, I will just whip them up in one large gratin rather than the cute individual gratins because Clumsiness is my middle name, and removing small hot gratins from a hot baking sheet to plates on the table is waaaaaaaaaaaay easier said then done. When I do get it together for an adult din din partay, I will rock out the smaller ones, for sure.

I served these for a light dinner. The Husband hadn't been feeling so hot either, so he wasn't a huge eater on this lovely day. He always says scallops leave him wanting more food. So, I recommend this dish as an appie. The Barefoot Contessa says to rock out some fab bread on the side. I served rice and a salad.

Bay Scallop Gratins
Makes 3 gratins
From "Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics"
By Ina Garten

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Pernod
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. good olive oil
1/4 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
3 Tbsp. dry white wine
1 pound fresh bay scallops
Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 3 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.

To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add the olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.

Preheat the broiler, if it's separate from your oven.

Place 1 Tbsp. of the wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. With a small sharp knife, remove the white muscle and membrane from the side of each scallop and discard. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done.  If you want the top crustier, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

Please note: The Jersey Girl used 1 Tbsp. white wine instead of Pernod.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's All Greek to Me

So if you're a Greek food purist/snob you may want to click elsewhere. For all others: Welcome to my riveting post re: Gyros Gone Jersey Girl Wild.

Straight away, I will warn you: My tzatziki sauce is missing cucumbers. This is no fault of my own but rather a deliberate decision in making sure that The Husband eats the tzatziki sauce. You may remember from previous posts (since I know all 10 of you have been following my blogging career for YEARS), The Husband has a thing "with," or I should say "against" cucumbers. And mayo. And shopping. And mushrooms. Don't even get me started with the mushrooms.

So I lovingly placed the cucumbers on the side so that me and the kiddo would would get some of that fresh crunchiness action up on our gyro creations while making The Husband happy.

See that. I'm all about the compromise.

In addition, I'm 99 percent sure that in real life I mispronounce all of, well the two Greek words that we are using today: gyro and tzatziki (which, if we're being honest here, tzatziki is also a bitch to spell. And it just made me break my swear word policy on my blog. Sorry, Jesus.)

Aaaaand finally, my son, bless his 3-year-old hungry hungry belly, lovingly referred to our perfectly warm pitas filled with delicious lemony marinated shaved pork, cool tzatziki sauce, salty feta and fresh veggies, veggies and more veggies as "tacos." Ie, "Mommy, can I please have more tacos?" and "These tacos taste yummy" and "I love tacos."

Naturally, I went with his whole narrative.

"Sure, Baby Doll. Tacos IT IS!"

This was really easy breezy to make. And it does get a ton of veggies down the gullets of your family. And, honestly. Who doesn't love a taco, I mean gyro?

Below is the recipe for my sauce. And then, I'm listing the recipe for the Old Neighborhood Shaved Pork Gyro recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It is on the Old Neighborhood Web site as well. In an uncanny stroke of luck, my ghetto Shop Rite actually carries the Old Neighborood Shaved Meat products. Yay!

Feel free to serve these bad boys with all sorts of veggies and toppings. We did red peppers, cucumbers, plum tomatoes, romaine and feta. You could totally do hummus, olives, peppers of varying colors, scallions, fresh herbs, etc. Woo-hoo!

I didn't serve these in a traditional gyro roll-up style. I kinda just cut the pitas in half and stuffed them. Top Chef plating, it is not.

Gyro toppings: Tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onions.

And more toppings: plum tomatoes, feta cheese, romaine.

Beneath that rainbow of veggie amazingness is some tasty shaved pork. Honest.

Here's my little man loving a ride on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. 
That smile is gold!

Tzatziki Sorta Sauce
10 ounces Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Parsley, chopped
2 scallion greens, minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and gently stir together with a spoon until well blended. Refrigerate if made well ahead.

Shaved Pork Gyros from Old Neighborhood Shaved Pork
By Susan Chan

1 1-lb. package of Old Neighborhood Shaved Pork
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. cumin
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
tzatziki sauce (see ingredients & recipe below)
pita bread
olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 tomato, cut into strips
Lettuce leaves
Crumbled feta

Marinate the Shaved Pork with 1 tbsp. oregano, 1 tbsp. cumin, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, minced garlic clove, salt, and pepper for at least 30 minutes. I left the amount of salt and pepper to your discretion, but if you need a point of reference, I used 1 tsp. salt with 2 tsp. black pepper.

If you are making the tzatziki sauce yourself, mix all of the tzatziki ingredients together, and set it aside in the fridge.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add 2 tsp. of olive oil. Add the shaved pork.

Cook the pork for about 4-5 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

In a separate pan, heat ½ tsp. of olive oil. Lightly toast one pita bread.

Remove the pita from the pan, and place it on a dish.

Remove the tzatziki sauce from the fridge.

Place one lettuce leaf in the center of the pita.

Add tomato strips, onion slices, and cooked shaved pork.  The amount added is dependent on how full you would like each gyro.

Top with feta cheese and some tzatziki sauce. For the tzatziki sauce that appeared with this recipe on the Old Neighborhood Foods Web site, click here.)

Fold the sides of the pita towards the center.

(optional) Wrap with foil or parchment paper to hold the gyro in place.

Repeat steps for each gyro.

Serve and enjoy!