Brian's Photo Blog — Article 690
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Greek Tzatziki Sauce Elevates Gyro and BBQ Lamb
Tuesday 3 October 2017   —   Category: Cooking & Food
In Testing the Waters of Mediterranean Cuisine I related how articles and recipes on and meals at certain Portland restaurants were fueling my interest in Mediterranean cuisine. In yesterday’s Serrano Yogurt Sauce and Greek Salads I gave specific examples of how I took that inspiration and brought it to life in my own kitchen. In today’s article, part two of a three-​part series, I am going to give you more delicious examples.
I enjoyed my first gyro in my more-​than-​half-​century sojourn on this planet at the McMenamins Thompson Brewery and Public House in south Salem, exactly a week before Memorial Day 2016. It was also my first taste of tzatziki.

Both were incredibly killer! So less than three weeks later I made my first home­made gyro wrap.

The six ingredients I prepared were: red onion, homemade tzatziki sauce (down­load recipe PDF), tomato, cucumber, Israeli Pastures of Eden sheep’s milk feta cheese and lettuce.

On a sheet of parchment paper I placed a piece of Trader Joe’s lavash cut di­ag­o­nal­ly into a triangle.

On top of that I spread some of the tzatziki sauce and then put a modest portion of diced steak which had been stir-​fried in a cast-​iron skillet and spiced with Weber Steak 'n' Chop seasoning.

To complete the gyro’s innards, I added the rest of the ingredients listed above.

In addition to all of these ingredients tasting so good together, the various colors and texture also made them quite photogenic.
Once all of the ingredients were in place it was time to wrap things up. First the lavash was folded and then the parch­ment paper.
I served my first homemade gyro with some of my homemade coleslaw. The gyro was very delicious, and my home­made tzatziki was really good.

I have made three additional batches of tzatziki since then, but I can’t be­lieve it’s been over a year since I made that first gyro. I’m missing out!

Well, that pretty much wraps things up for the gyro.
After greatly enjoying a lamb burger at The Observatory and a lamb shawarma at Zaatar Fine Lebanese Cuisine I was eager to make some lamb dishes at home, but the high price of the meat in grocery stores was making me think twice. Eventually I found some lamb shoulder blade chops on sale for half price at Market of Choice in nearby Corvallis — only $4 per pound, which is pretty cheap for lamb. Closer to home, I have found that WinCo consistently has good prices on lamb, and sometimes Costco as well.

I wasn’t sure about the best way to cook this cut of meat so I searched the Web until I found a Pan-​Grilled Lamb Shoul­der Chops recipe with a tasty-​sounding marinade. The only change I made was to add some Trader Joe’s Herbes de Pro­vence to the mix.

After marinating the lamb overnight I made adjustments to the next two steps: I didn’t scrape off the marinade before cooking it, and instead of grilling the lamb in my kitchen in a pan I barbecued it on my beloved and much-​used Weber Smokey Joe.

Once there was a serving on lamb on my plate, I topped it with a generous amount of my scrumptious homemade tzatziki sauce (be sure to download the recipe PDF if you have not already done so), which went really well with the lamb.

My new Lemon and Olive Oil Marinade (download recipe PDF) was awesome! I’m really glad I barbecued the meat and didn’t scrape off the excess marinade.

I have used this marinade with chicken since then, and I think it would work equally well with pork and fish. I’m not so sure about beef, but you never know.

Even though a shoulder blade chop is not one of the better cuts of lamb, the marinade really transformed it, and a lot of the fat was melted by the barbecue fire, adding juiciness in the process. It was a real winner, and I need to make it again soon as well.

The best 8 photos from these two meals have been added to the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2016 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 690
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