Sunday, April 14, 2013

Best Quarter I Ever Spent

  A few years ago, I lived in Philadelphia, with access to its enormous and well-stocked library system.  Much as a supermarket seeds its checkout lanes with candy in order to inspire impulse buys, my local branch arranged a rack of books, recently removed from the collection right near the circulation desk.  So while you wait for the person in front of you to pay fines dating back to 1984 or argue that their adorable little cherub returned The Best of Barney DVD, at least, the nanny said she did, you would have something to browse, and hopefully purchase.  During one of these waits, I spied a copy of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals for twenty-five cents.  An older edition than the one shown here, but nonetheless, a cookbook for a quarter?  That is a win, my friends.  It's been in use ever since, in fact, the falafel recipe and the Welsh rabbit recipe are both from the book.  But it had been a long time since I thumbed through it looking for something new.  Last week, spurred on by my recently neglected New Year's resolution I discovered Middle Eastern Meatball Sandwiches.  Mmmm.  They were ridiculously easy and completely delicious.

Verdict:  This cookbook is one of the MUST owns of my collection.  Also, I love Sara.

adapted from Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals

1 recipe tzatziki  - you can use Sara's from here, I make mine up.  My edition of the cookbook is dated enough that it's called cucumber yogurt sauce.

1 lb ground turkey (or beef or lamb, but I used turkey)
1/2 C chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/2 t or so oregano
salt and pepper

pita bread with pockets (warmed)
lettuce washed dried and cut into ribbons to stuff into the pita

Make it gluten-free: The pita is the only gluten containing component here, so serve these over rice or alongside a nice greek salad to enjoy the flavors without the wheat.

Mix the turkey, onion, garlic, egg, oregano, salt and pepper together.  Form these into oval patties, bigger than a meatball but smaller than a burger.  I divided my ground meat evenly into 8 sections and made each a patty and was quite pleased with the size.

Cook them.  Now, I found this a bit tricksy.  Sara says you can skewer, brush with olive oil and grill for 8 minutes a side, which sounds heavenly, but I am without a grill.  She also says you can broil for 8 minutes a side, which is what I tried, but perhaps my toaster oven's broiler is inferior, because after the first 8 minutes in the oven, I began to panic and the rare state of things and had to improvise.  I slid them into a hot non-stick pan for 4 minutes (with the side that had been touching the broiler pan into the pan first because it was RAW) and then flipped for 2 more minutes. They ended up with a nice little crust but still very moist.  I'd hesitate to do it all in the pan, lest they dry out.  I'll let you know if I hit upon a better method, but this was still pretty painless.

Cut each pita in half, stuff each half with some lettuce and one patty.  Generously drizzle with tzatziki.  Start planning when you're going to make them again.

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