May was an INTENSE month here at the Ali Does It household. LongJohn went to daycare a month earlier than scheduled and I had a whole four weeks to get all the stuff done on the house I hadn’t had an opportunity to do when we moved in … because of the whole having-a-baby thing. Some of those projects are still in progress but I have SO MUCH to show you when they’re ready to be shown. If May was intense, then June is even more so. I went back to work full time AT A NEW JOB. And on my first day, I had HAND surgery. Today I’m having hand surgery on the OTHER hand. So things are a little nuts, to say the least. Luckily I have a bit of a backlog of posts for you guys. Let’s start with this one for the barbecue, now that we’re officially into grilling season.
The Pie is a huge fan of souvlaki. We’re fortunate that some of the best souvlaki in town is only a short drive away. But it’s actually pretty easy to make your own souvlaki at home, provided you have some time to prep. Here’s how you can do it.
First, let’s start with that most essential of condiments: tzatziki. You can always buy this but it’s easy to make as well. I rarely measure my amounts because I find they vary depending on my mood but here’s an approximation for you. Start off by grabbing about 1/2 cup plain yogurt and plopping it in a few layers of cheesecloth in a colander. Wrap it well and put something with a bit of weight on top. Place the colander over a bowl and shove it in the fridge for a few hours. I use Balkan style yogurt for this, but if you have Greek yogurt you can skip this step.
After your yogurt has been pressed and some of the water has drained out, you can unwrap it and give the cheesecloth a bit of a rinse. You’re going to need it in a second.
Grate up about half a cucumber. Plop the cucumber bits onto the cheesecloth, wrap it up, and give it a good squeeze over the sink and get rid of excess water.
Now, tip that into a bowl together with the yogurt, some minced garlic, chopped fresh dill, salt, pepper, a few drops of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Stir, stir, stir! Shove that back in the fridge for a few hours (preferably overnight) to let the flavours mingle.
For the souvlaki we’re going to create a marinade. Start by finely chopping up a small red onion. I’m being smart here and using a large red onion because I’m making the recipe twice and chucking half of it in the freezer.
Throw the onion bits in a large Ziploc freezer bag and tip in about 1/2 cup olive oil,
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar,
and 4 tablespoons lemon juice.
Next plop in about 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons dried (or fresh) oregano, and of course salt and pepper to taste.
Wrangle yourself a decent-sized pork tenderloin (you can do this with chicken breast too). Don’t be tempted to use a pork shoulder or any other cut for this, as they’ll be too gristly when cubed. Trust me. I did it once when they were on sale and I regretted it. Pull the tough membrane off the tenderloin and trim any excess fat.
Cut it into cubes.
Chuck those cubes into your freezer bag.
Seal the bag carefully, give it a good smushing together, and bung it in the fridge for several hours. While you’re waiting, grab some wooden skewers and plop them in a tray of water to soak for at least thirty minutes before you grill.
When you’re set to start, shove the cubes of marinated meat onto your skewers (I like to use two skewers per so that they’re easier to flip) and grill until cooked through and at an internal temperature of about 145°F.
Serve over rice with a hefty side of your fresh tzatziki and enjoy the summer!