We've been having car trouble lately - as in our Outback has been making death noises that have only worsened with time. Finally we took it in (after like a month) and discovered it would not be a quick fix as our stubborn minds had hoped. I am by no means a car expert, so I won't even attempt to explain what is wrong, but in simple Middle school terminology - it's stupid. But today it FINALLY got fixed, and I won't need to continually be on the lookout for places to pull off the road safely if the car were to finally give up. Maybe I'm scarred because a few years ago my first car completely died half a mile away from my house on a busy street. HALF A MILE people, I mean seriously?? But some super sweet people helped me push the car into a small parking lot to get it off the street, and I eventually had to get it towed simply down the road to my house. It was probably one of the shortest tow jobs that guy had done. But nonetheless we are grateful to have a functioning car again!
Speaking of grateful, this past week we have had a lot of thunderstorms. I LOVE rain. Going to nursing school in Portland, Oregon versus Baltimore, Maryland may or may not have been slightly influenced by the overcast reputation that Portland has. And with these April showers have come new life! Plant and flower buds are popping up everywhere, and our once snow-covered courtyard is slowly on it's way to becoming a jungle once again. When there was a break from the rain, I took advantage of this and barbecued us up some dinner. We have really been into a Mediterranean cuisine lately, loving all of the fresh and light ingredients.
So what is souvlaki? It's a Greek dish consisting of grilled meat on a skewer. You're probably thinking, umm so it's a shish kabob? Well, yes and no. The main difference is in the marinade. Souvlaki marinade focuses predominately on acid based liquids and the main spice is oregano. Whereas shish kabobs focus more on Middle Eastern spices, i.e. cumin and coriander. Either way, what I love about this meal is it's ability to mix and match. While traditional souvlaki consists of pork, you can really use any meat. You can also choose whatever veggies you wish to pair with the meat. And the tzatziki sauce brings everything together. Slightly bitter from the plain greek yogurt, fresh from the dill and cucumber, tangy from the lemon juice, and savory from the olive oil, tzatziki sauce is one of my favorite toppings. Pay close attention to the instructions for prepping the cucumbers - you really want to get as much liquid out as possible so as not to water down the sauce.
Prep time 30 minutes | Wait time 2 hours | Cook time 20 minutes
1. In a bag or container, marinate for 2 hours:
2 pounds chicken, cubed
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2. While the chicken is marinating, cut your vegetables:
2 red bell peppers, 1 inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, 1 inch slices
2 medium potatoes, 1 inch cubes
3. Toss cut vegetables in:
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4. Make the tzatziki sauce (recipe at bottom)
5. Once the chicken is done marinating, place the chicken on skewers, making the souvlaki. Reserve the leftover marinade.
6. Prepare your BBQ by turning one half to high heat, and the other to medium heat. Place the potato cubes over the high heat, as these need more heat to cook properly. Place the chicken over the medium heat. After 6 minutes flip potatoes and the chicken, brushing the reserved marinade over the chicken with each rotation to help keep the chicken moist. Cook for an additional 6 minutes. Reduce the high heat side to medium heat, and continue cooking the potatoes until softened. Add the zucchini and bell peppers to the BBQ, cooking for about 4 minutes on each side. As the vegetables cook, continue rotating the chicken until no longer pink in the middle.
7. Serve the souvlaki with the vegetables, pita bread, rice, and tzatziki sauce.
>> TZATZIKI SAUCE <<
1. Place in a coffee filter over a small bowl to drain extra liquid:
1 large cucumber, grated
2. Transfer the grated cucumber to paper towels, squeezing out any additional liquid.
3. In a small bowl, combine the grate cucumber with:
1 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt