RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
It’s HOT and summer is here! The upside is, is that our kitchens are still open, our bellies are still hungry, and there are plenty of delicious things that you can cook without turning on too many ovens and stoves.
Speaking of ovens… there are none on The Rise and Shine set, and I have been dying to make some type of bread. Then the “Bzzz Bzzz” of my mental light bulb started flickering… Pan-grilling homemade pita bread! Easy for summer time home cooks as well because there are no ovens to heat!
A lot of people are familiar with the Greek word Tzatziki for yogurt cucumber dip. Myself growing up in a Persian home and wonderful Persian cooking, we called this yogurt cucumber dip Mast-e Khiard. It is all basically the same “dip” with maybe a few ingredients or flavor adjustments, but they are both very similar and very delicious.
Fresh homemade pita bread is the BOMB! Forget the prepackaged, dry, unexceptional pita you can find in grocery stores, and make a batch yourself! The upside is that there are few ingredients, and one of the easier yeast type breads to make. Simply heat up a skillet or griddle, and cook your pita! And a little extra bonus… my pita recipe also makes a great pizza crust. So, there’s that little foodie nugget for you.
Tzatziki (Yogurt Cucumber Dip) best if made the night before.
2 medium garden variety cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups good quality Greek yogurt
1/2 large lemon, squeezed of juice
3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
In the Kitchen With Scotty’s “Soul-Licious Seasoning” or Salt and Black pepper to taste
A good fruity Olive Oil fro drizzling
- Peel and halve the cucumbers. With a dinner spoon scoop out the seeds and center pulp from the cucumbers. Discard. With a box grater, hand-grate the cucumber into a bowl. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt and toss. Let the cucumbers sit and extract their natural juices for at least 15 minutes. Remove the shredded cucumber and place on a kitchen towel or layers of paper towels and then squeeze out all the excess water.
- In a separate non-metal mixing bowl, add your 2 cups of Greek yogurt. To that add the squeezed dry shredded cucumber, minced garlic, and fresh lemon juice. Hand mix with a fork or spoon.
- Mix in your finely chopped green onion (white and green portions), fresh dill, and the minced fresh mint. Finally, add the Soul-Licious seasoning to taste. Cover and let the flavors meld a minimum of three hours to overnight. Serve with fresh homemade pita bread and maybe drizzle a little olive oil on top for extra flair. My Greek friend, James Siderias, says to "Never!" drizzel olive oil on top, but you do you. 😉
Homemade Pita Bread
2 3/4 - 3 cups All Purpose flour
1 package (.25 ounce or 7 grams) Dry Active Yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- You will find this is a lot easier to make with a stand mixer and dough hook attachment. Of course, you may do it by hand but it will take some elbow grease. Start off by pouring the yeast into your mixing bowl, then the tepid warm water. Give it a mix with a hand whisk and mix in one cup of flour. Whisk to a semi thick paste and let it set and allow the yeast to "bloom". Look for tiny bubbles starting to surface on the top of the mixture…like a pancake before your have to flip it.
- Once the yeast is activated and bubbling away, attach the dough hook to your mixer and start mixing in the flour a little at a time. You’ll start getting a wet sticky dough. Keep adding a little of the flour and mixing in just until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl and balling up on its own. It may still be bit sticky and wet, but that is ok.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and dust your hands with a bit of the flour. Knead the dough to a soft satiny smooth ball. Add a little olive oil to the mixing bowl, place the dough into the bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap, place the bowl in a warm spot of your kitchen, and let the dough rise at least one hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn the risen dough back onto the surface and with your fingers punch it down to release the air. Shape into a rectangle and cut 6-8 even sized pieces. Roll those pieces up into smooth balls, and cover with plastic or a towel. Let then rise again another 30-40 minutes.
- When you’re ready to start cooking the pita, remove one ball and place on a lightly dusted surface. Start heating a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. With a rolling pin roll the dough out into a circle about 1/4" thick. Place into the hot skillet and grill about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure the pita isn't sticking and move it around in the pan for even grilling. You’ll notice the pita starting to bubble and separate some in the center… it is suppose to. Some will have a full “balloon” and some will have smaller separate pockets. Flip the pita over and grill an additional three minutes or until the both sides are nice and browned.
- Stack the pitas into a towel to keep warm like your would do with any bread. Cut into small triangles and fill with Tzatziki, grilled meats, hummus or babaganoush, fresh herbs, tomatoes.. whatever you like!