Food Flight

An aviator's culinary adventures

Imitation Gyros January 27, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Sandwiches — flyingbubble @ 5:41 pm
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My hand is now famous

Gyros, are arguably my absolute favorite food in the world!  I say arguable… because me, myself and I have not completely decided on a single favorite food since there are so many delicious choices.  My parents introduced me to this delicious Greek street sandwich and despite their high standards for an “authentic” gyro I have only had a few that I didn’t love.  There’s just something about that spiced meat flavor mixed with the cool tzatziki sauce (cucumber sauce).  In the U.S. gyro meat is typically lamb or a combination of lamb and beef.  Surprisingly (or maybe its not a surprise) the gyros (truly authentic) served in Greece are most commonly pork or chicken although some places may use beef or lamb.  I visited Athens and the island of Santorini this past summer.  My friends and I were told by multiple street vendors that all gyros are made with pork and advertisements for “lamb gyros” were false, meant only to attract American tourists.  Another surprise from Athens, was the addition of fried potatoes (basically french fries) to most of their gyros sandwiches.  I was extremely disappointed that my idea of a gyro was a bit off base, but the Grecian versions were equally delicious.  I am now happy to say that I love American gyros and Greek gyros equally.  The best one I had in Athens actually didn’t even have the tzatziki sauce!  It was a small hole in the wall (literally) joint owned by an old man who did all the cooking.  He makes this incredible spicy tomato based sauce from scratch every day.  It was a perfect complement to pork, onions and tomatos (and french fries of course).  Since I’m back in American, I decided to follow a recipe for lamb version.  The flavor wasn’t exactly the same, I think the recipe is missing some key spices for the meat, but it was really good.  Also, a healthier alternative as gyro meat is typically higher fat to keep it moist while its roasting.  These sandwiches are like the New York City hot dogs of Greece.

Here’s the recipe, I fried the meatballs in a skillet instead of grilling so it works either way. (I imagine grilling would be healthier from not using oil to cook)

Weight Watchers Light and Easy Cookbook

Lamb Meatball Pitas

1 lb ground lamb

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soft bread crumbs

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

2 tsp prepared horseradish

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

4 Pita rounds (6″)

1. Prepare Cucumber Raita, allowing at least one hour for sauce to chill

Cucumber Raita

3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; cover and chill at least 1 hour.

2. Combine lamb, parsley, breadcrumbs, mint, horseradish, mustard, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, garlic, and egg whites in a medium bowl; shape mixture into 12 small meatballs.

3. Place meatballs in a grill basket coated with cooking spray; place grill basket on rack over medium-hot coals (350-400) and grill, covered, 4 minutes on each side or until meatballs are done

4. Place 3 meatballs on each pita round, and top each serving with 1/4 cup Cucumber Raita.  Garnish each serving with fresh mint if desired.

NUTRITION: 378 calories, 39.2g carbohydrate, 8.8g fat, 6.4g fiber, 30.8g protein, 75mg cholesterol, 272mg sodium, 132mg calcium, 5.3mg iron.

NOTES:  I fried the meatballs in a skillet in peanut oil until they looked done. I used a store bought tzatziki sauce (since we already had it on hand) and we added chopped tomatoes and onions to our pitas. No french fries this time, but you’re welcome to try that sometime :).


Restaurant Rave January 10, 2010

Filed under: Sandwiches,Vegetarian — flyingbubble @ 4:16 pm
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For anyone who lives in the Phoenix,AZ area I’m posting a photo of the delicious sandwich I had from Liberty Market.  Liberty Market is this great cafe and coffee place that my parents found through twitter.  The founder is a coffee fanatic and was the originator of the Coffee Plantation chain (it has since been sold and run into the ground by the new own

ership).  He spent some time in Italy and was able to purchase and refurbish a traditional “E61” espresso machine.  It is proudly on display (and in use) at Liberty Market’s E61 bar where you can order up traditional Italian style espresso drinks.  Keep in mind that many of these selection are served in tiny little cups containing only a couple of sips by the American coffee standards.  I was really excited to see this after spending some time in Italy this summer, despite the high price for such a small cup I really enjoyed all of our coffee stops in Rome.  Also, if you’re unfamiliar with Italian coffee, they don’t serve “drip coffee” the closest you can get is called an Americano which is espresso mixed with water.  While the coffee alone is worth the long drive to Gilbert, their food offerings are equally noteworthy.  The coffee fanatic partnered with a brilliant Italian chef, David, who has prepared a creative menu of flavor combinations that most wouldn’t have considered pairing.  The scones are to die for so at least order one to go along side your regular menu selection. I ordered a grilled vegetable sandwich with sweet potato salad on the side.


Katie’s Spicy Burger!! October 18, 2009

Filed under: Sandwiches,Vegetarian — flyingbubble @ 9:32 pm
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This isn’t really a recipe but I had this sandwich for lunch a while back and took pictures of it.  I went to a dinner party with my track coach and a friend of hers had brought a large selection of peppers grown in his garden.  I took some jalapenos of course! and one bell pepper.  My favorite burger is from Five Guys Burgers and Fries because they put fresh jalapenos on top (not always, just by my request).  I don’t care for the pickled/jarred kind.  This sandwich was mostly just a compilation of foods I had on hand already.  I used a sandwich thin for the bun, a boca burger, a Laughing Cow wedge of swiss cheese to spread on the bun, some mustard and a fresh red jalapeno!   Feel free to personalize this recipe to suit your tastes but you really need to try jalapenos on a burger.. its incredible. Here are the pictures.