Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chicken Gyros w/ Pickled Beets

State Fair Season is right upon us.  In Kentucky, the State Fair starts today and goes until Aug. 25.  One of our favorite things to do at the fair is eat... obviously.  And one of our favorite booths to visit is definitely one that offers Greek gyros! 

Every now and then, we'll divulge at home with gyros of our own.  They're so easy, and versatile - not to mention completely delicious!

For these, I pickled some beets, made some orange-cucumber tzatziki, and loaded up on some grape tomatoes and lettuce.  Pair those accompaniments with some marinated chicken, and you've got a meal!


Chicken Marinade:

1 lb. chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
juice from 1 orange
juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup olive oil

Pickled Beets:

2 small red beets, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
hard spices - for these, I used a combination of mustard seeds, crushed bay leaf, star anise, cloves, and juniper berries

Grape Tomatoes
Grilled Onions
Homemade Tzatziki
Any other toppings you want!

For the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, orange juice, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, chili flakes, and olive oil.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add chicken to the bowl and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

For the beets: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, rice wine vinegar, and spices.  Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Let cool slightly. 

Place julienned beets in a medium bowl and strain pickling liquid over top.  Let pickle for a least 30 minutes.

Preheat a propane or charcoal grill to high heat. 

Remove chicken from marinade.  Spray grill with non-stick spray or wipe grates with oil.  Grill tenderloins until white throughout. 

Heat pitas on grill until marked. 

To assemble, place one or two pieces of chicken in the center of each pita.  Top with lettuce, grape tomatoes, onions, pickled beets, and tzatziki (I simple combined plain greek yogurt, orange juice, and finely diced cucumber).  And you've got yourself one heck of a gyro!

Have you ever made gyros at home?  How do you like yours?

Have a great weekend guys!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sauteed Chicken Breast w/ Roasted Beets, Celery Root, Apples, & Pears

I recently became the proud owner of a Vitamix blender.  Working in the restaurant industry, I've been exposed to these blending beauties for quite some time, but never splurged on one for our home.  That day finally came about a month or so ago.  And what a glorious day it was.

Andy seems to think it's main use is to make a variety of milkshakes.  I constantly find quarts of ice cream in the freezer labelled "milkshakes, please".  But for me, it means I can make silky smooth purees, vinaigrettes, and a plethora of other culinary delights. 

So for this dish, I paired the savory roasted items with a tart parsley-dijon vinaigrette and a smooth parsnip puree.  Andy cleared his plate in a matter of minutes and said that I could make this dish over and over again without any complaints from him.  Sounds like a winner in my book!


2 skin-on chicken breasts
salt and pepper
olive oil, for sauteeing

1 red beet, peeled and diced
1 celery root, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 large shallot, diced
olive oil, for tossing
salt and pepper, to taste

Parsnip Puree:

1 lb. parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Parsley-Dijon Vinaigrette:

1 cup fresh parsley
juice from 1 lemon
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 to 1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets, celery root, pear, apple, and shallot with olive oil to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning vegetables and fruit halfway through.

For the parsnip puree, combine the parsnips, milk, heavy cream, and butter in a medium sauce pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the parsnips are fork-tender. 

Strain the liquid from the parsnips, but reserve it, don't throw it away.

Place the parsnips in a Vitamix (or you can use an immersion or regular blender, too) and blend on low speed, adding the reserved liquid until you get your desired texture.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the vinaigrette, place the parsley, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and apple cider vinegar in Vitamix (or regular blender).  Turn on medium speed and slowly add the oil until completely emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat a large saute pan under medium high heat and add oil.  Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the pan, skin-side down.  Cook until skin is golden brown, then flip chicken over and cook until white throughout.

To plate, place a good amount of the roasted vegetables on the center of the plate.  On one side, spoon some of the vinaigrette.  On the other side, place a good dollop of the parsnip puree.  Place the seared chicken breast, skin-side up on top of the vegetables. 

And there ya have it!  One tasty chicken dish!

Hope you guys have a great rest of the week/weekend!