Monday, April 28, 2014

Chicken Shawarma: A Middle Eastern Meal

Photo courtesy of
So, I pride myself (just a little ;) on the fact that my family lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 years. It's cool, right? One night we had some new friends over for dinner, and I swear to you at one point she said, "When my family used to live in Saudi Arabia..."!!! Jeremy and I did a double take. Seriously? What are the chances??? Yep, my (awesome and now old--in military terms) friend Beth lived there with her family when she was young. Kindly, she returned the favor a couple months and had us over for chicken shawarma, a super yummy street food that's common in the Middle East--kind of like a burrito but waaaaay better.  The meal was incredible! I was immediately transported back to my younger days...

Needless to say, I got the recipe from Beth and we've made it so many times now I've got the recipe memorized. We made it for my in-laws who were here this month and my father-in-law went crazy over it. I promised him I'd put it up on the blog, so here it is with Beth's permission and for Tom's (and your) eating pleasure...

(I've included all the fixins for a complete meal, so read through everything to see all the ingredients you'll need, and then I'll tell you how to put it all together at the bottom. Buckle your seat belts, folks...)

Grilled Chicken Shawarma
1 TB ground coriander
1 TB ground cardamom (if grinding your own pods, use 1/2 tsp--it's strong stuff!)
1 TB ground cumin
1 TB chili powder
1 TB grill seasoning (i.e. Montreal brand)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced

Mix all of the above in a small bowl until paste-like. Spread on boneless chicken breasts and let sit for at least one hour. Put on hot BBQ grill and cook until no longer pink and you get some good grill marks--a little charring is yummy, but don't dry them out! Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting lengthwise in strips.

Cucumber Salad
English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
Red onion, sliced very thin (optional)
Feta cheese
Olive oil and vinegar
Salt and pepper
(or you can cheat and just use Ken's Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing, like I did)

I didn't include amounts in this recipe because it depends on how much you want to make. But it should be equal parts cucumber and tomato, with a little red onion thrown in if you like it, and tossed with a little dressing and feta cheese. Comment if you need more guidance than that ;)

Tzatziki Sauce
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated (squeeze the water out)
1 TB mayonnaise
1-2 TB lemon juice, depending on how much zing you like
1-2 tsp dill, depending on how much you like dill
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Putting it all together...
Take a pita or flatbread (click HERE for a yummy homemade flatbread recipe), and stuff it (or roll it up) with some chicken, cucumber salad and tzatziki sauce--proportions to your liking. You can also put some lettuce in it if you want some greens, and I always have some hummus on the side (click HERE for my favorite hummus recipe yet--and I've tried a LOT). FYI, they also put French fries in our shawarma on the streets in Saudi. Just sayin'...


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Best. Hummus. Ever.

This post is short and sweet... I have tried a few hummus recipes in my day, and this one's the best I've found yet. Thanks for sharing it, Patrice!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Best. Salad. Dressing. EVER!

Photo courtesy of
I got this recipe from my angel MIL, Ruth, when she came to save my life last year! Seriously, with a cancer diagnosis and an emergency C-section all in the same week, I could NOT have survived without her. Ever since she left (which was 8 months ago now), I shake this dressing up in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge. ALWAYS.

The only weird ingredient in this recipe is onion juice. Before May 2013 I had never heard of the stuff; how about you? But it's supposedly easy to find--look for it in the spice aisle at the grocery store. It comes in a box about the size of vanilla extract. Just FYI...

Onion Vinaigrette
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
2/3 C distilled white vinegar
3 TB apple cider vinegar
4 1/2 tsp onion juice
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 C vegetable oil

Combine sugar, dry mustard, salt, and vinegars. Stir (or shake) until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in onion juice and Worcestershire sauce. Add oil slowly, whisking continuously until blended.
Note: recipe makes enough for 4-6 times the amount of salad.

You can use any combination you like when you're making a salad to go with this, but here are some suggestions:

4 C mixed greens (Romaine, Spring mix, just something colorful!)
2 green onions, chopped
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (feta also works well)
1 tart/crisp apple, cored, seeded and slivered (pears or strawberries also work well)
1/4 C coarsely chopped pecans (almonds or walnuts also work well)
*1/2 C Craisins, optional

It's fun to mix things up with the nuts in a salad! You can either toast them in a toasted oven or in a pan on the stove really quick. But if you've got a couple extra minutes, try this: throw some sugar, cinnamon, and/or cayenne pepper in the pan with the nuts and stir them till the sugar caramelizes. Just watch it carefully, stir constantly, and take it off the heat as soon as the sugar turns to liquid so it doesn't burn. OR you can use Anne's recipe for Sweet & Spicy Pecans from her Baby Blue Salad. Click HERE for the link to that one... Enjoy!