Friday, January 27, 2012

Tzatziki Sauce and Pita Bread

Whenever we go to my favorite Greek / Italian restaurant I order tzatziki sauce with pita bread for an appetizer. After this last time I did so, I was determined that I could make it at home which would also enable those on the Feingold Diet in my house to eat it.  For the tzatziki sauce I used this recipe for the foundation. I did not have the same quantities on hand that she did so kind of adjusted it a little bit.

Tzatziki Sauce

2 cups Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
about 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the cucumbers, she suggested and I do as well to put the seeded and diced cucumbers into a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Let sit and drain for at least 30 minutes (I did mine for an hour). This will help get rid of some of the excess water in the cucumbers helping to make your sauce less runny and watery.

In food processor add everything but the yogurt. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

The result was very yummy! I will have to say mine was still a little more runny than I would like and think I will tweak it a bit next time.

Pita Bread

I will have to admit I had no intention of making pita bread. However after getting home from buying the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce, I realized I had forgotten to buy the pita bread. Not wanting to wait to make the tzatziki sauce, and not wanting to go back to the store I decided to make it. It was already late in the day so I wanted something easy and settled on this recipe. I thought it turned out good and tasty.  If I were going to serve it to friends I would probably cut it up, brush it with a little olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.

Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes (I used my Kitchen Aid). When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.

Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F (I did 475) and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.

Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes (these times vary).

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

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