Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Terriyaki Chicken Gyros

I've got four words. These. Changed. My. Life.
This is now number one on my list of the best things I could put in my mouth. That's all I'm going to say.
I did my own spin on a recipe I found on Annie's Eats. If you want that recipe you can find it here http://annies-eats.net/2009/06/02/chicken-gyros/. I HIGHLY reccomend mine though; it's easier and you're more likely to have the ingredients on hand.

Terriyaki Marinade:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

2 cloves minced garlic

However much boneless, skinless chicken you want; Iused about 1 lb but there's enough marinade for more.

Cut the chicken into strips, place in a plastic bag and marinade for at least 4 hours in the fridge. Grill or bake. I grilled mine on my George Foreman.

Tzatziki Sauce:

This is definately not a traditional Tzatziki sauce, but it's got hints of it here and there.

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 -1/2 tsp. lemon zest ( more or less according to your taste)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2-3 minced garlic

1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. dried oregano or fresh if you have it on hand.

salt and plenty of ground pepper to taste

Mix this up and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavours meld. Yes I spelled flavour with a "u". I am Canadian

To Assemble:

Pita bread- I highly reccomend trying homemade pita bread. I used this recipe and it was fantastic. However, store bought would be fine...but fine is not amazing. I'd go for amazing, which the homemade are. Here's the link http://annies-eats.net/2010/04/20/whole-wheat-pita-bread/

Fresh tomatoes, chopped

chopped cucumber

thinly sliced red onion

chopped romain lettuce

Feta cheese.

Take your warmed pita, spread some tzatziki sauce on it, fill with some slices of chicken, tomatoe, cucumber, onion and romaine. Top with crumbled Feta. So Good! Bon appetit from California!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Jam

Mmm... homemade strawberry jam; all you need is a hot biscuit. I used to be scared of doing anything that involved canning even though I have helped my mom do alot. I guess it's just doing it on my own that scared me. It shouldn't though because as long as you follow the directions, it's super easy and I think it's fun. An added bonus is you feel so accomplished and good about yourself after you do it and you literally get the fruits of your labours! So for all of you who are scared of mason jars and canners, here's a little step by step tutorial on making homemade strawberry jam.

First you want to make sure you have all your supplies and equipment ready. Wash your jars in warm soapy water or just run them through the dish washer to sanitize them. You need unused lids and new or used rings to screw the lids on.

You also need a canner (seen on the left), a heavy 6 or 8 quart pot (far right) and a little saucepan (behind pot). Fill the canner, a little less than 3/4 full and bring that to a boil while you prepare the fruit. Bring water to a boil in the small saucepan too; it is for softening the rubber ring on the lids. Once it comes to a boil, turn off heat, put lids in it and leave them in the hot water until you're ready to use them.

Once you've got your canner going, wash your strawberries and cut the stems off. Depending on which recipe you use( I use Sure Jell), you will need about 3 lbs of strawberries. Buy them on sale. I bought mine for 89 cents a pound which is a GREAT deal. Also as a side note, DO NOT double your recipe. For some reason it never works out, just do a batch at a time.
Smash the strawberries up. Leave it fairly chunky. The chunks will cook down so don't worry if you have some big ones. My recipe calls for 5 cups of crushed strawberries. You need to be precise when it comes to making jam.

Ok next measure out your sugar (7 cups for Sure Jell recipe), have your pectin ready and about 1/2 tsp of margarine or butter.

Pour the berries into the pot. Add the whole box of pectin and the butter. The butter helps reduce foaming.

Stir that up and bring it to a FULL ROLLING boil on high heat. This means it does not stop boiling when it is stirred. Stir it constantly.

Once you've got it to a full boil, add your sugar all at once and bring it back to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Make sure you use a long handled wooden spoon so you don't get burned. Once it's back to a full boil, boil it for exactly one minute or according to the recipe you're following. Turn off the heat.

Now with a spoon, skim the top of the jam to take of any foam.
Put it on a cracker and eat it. Yum! ok, back to work...

Using a funnel, ladle the jam into your prepared jars and fill them until they're about 1/8th of an inch away from the top. Be careful not to burn yourself. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp rag or paper towel. You want to make sure you have no jam on the rims so you get a proper seal. Next place your lids on the jars and screw the rings on tightly.
Lower the jars into the boiling water in the canner. This will probably cool the water off a little. Put the lid back on and once you hear the water start to boil again, start 5 minutes on the clock( depending on your altitude the time will vary. Your recipe should let you know how long to process the jars according to your alttitude).
Along with my 89 cent strawberries, I also picked up some 33 cent mangoes. I cut them up with a little banana and now I have a bunch of little smoothie packs chillin (haha get it?) in my freezer. Back to jam...

Once the cans are done processing, remove from your canner and place to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. You'll hear pop pop pop! That's good, that's what you want to hear because it means that your cans are sealing. You will need to check that each does have a good seal after 24 hours by pressing the tops of each lid. If it pops back at you, it didn't seal and you'll have to refrigerate that jar (up to 3 weeks).
Isn't jam so pretty?! I hope this was helpful and that you're no longer scared of making jam. It's easy and cost efficient if you get your fruit on sale. Enjoy!