Tag Archives: pita

Food Matters Project #25: Greek Panzanella

I was a little excited about this weeks Food Matters Project.  The chosen recipe was great to put my own spin on it, and a way to enjoy fresh vegetables from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market!

This weeks host is Megan, from Art by Megan.  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, she chose Greek Nacho’s with Feta Drizzle.  Check out her post, or other participants interpretations.  Find the original recipe on page 75 in the Food Matters Cookbook.

I’ve been craving a panzanella salad, which tends to be a summer salad that incorporates bread and tomatoes.  So why not make a greek version of a panzanella?  Last year I had saved a recipe (more of a guide) on how to put one together from Aggie’s Kitchen and have been wanting to make it since.  This was a fairly large salad (bigger dinner and leftovers), so I hope you all have large serving bowls!

Greek Panzanella
Adapted from: Aggie’s Kitchen

3 pitas, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, chopped
1 bell pepper (we had green), chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, halved
6 oz feta, crumbled or cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, gently toss the pita bread cubes, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil and sesame seeds.  Add this mixture to a hot non-stick skillet and toast for about 10 minutes.  The bread should be lightly brown, but not burnt.

Once the bread pieces are cooked, add them to a large salad bowl.  Then, add in tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Gently toss all of the ingredients to combine.

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips

Summer is the time to eat salads, when all the veggies (and fruits) are fresh and vibrant.  Usually, it’s also so hot that turning on the stove or oven is not what you’d like to do.  So there is always salad.

The only problem I have with salads is that they sometimes get boring.  So I’m always searching for a new flavor, a new component, or a new idea.  I’m sharing this salad with you since all of you might need some new inspiring ideas for salads, with summer in full swing!  Or if any of you have delicious ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (July/August 2012)

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups of chopped cucumbers
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 cups of whole grain pita chips, crumbled/broken

3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate juice (such as POM Wonderful)
2 tsp ground sumac
4 garlic cloves

4 oz crumbled feta

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for a salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.  Top the salad with the vinaigrette.

Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top and serve.

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken

I apologize for the silence on the blog the last couple of days, but we’ve had a bit of an internet problem.  Yesterday we not only fixed the internet, but also our dishwasher.  Hard work, but someone has to do it, right?  The joys of home ownership!

Whenever there are many items on my to-do list, I try to make dishes that don’t require too much time, or work.  If I can use up extras from the fridge, that’s a double-bonus.

A couple of weeks ago I made pitas, but had lots of leftover dough.  I divided it into separate balls, and kept it in the freezer.  And when I had the right ingredients for some tabbouleh- I made a tasty, and fast, lunch!

Tabbouleh with Shredded Chicken
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

Even if you don’t have any pitas, tabbouleh is great as a lunch salad- very refreshing and light.  I had leftover chicken, which I shredded and added to the salad, but feel free to omit it.  A great addition is some feta cheese sprinkled over the top!

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
3/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine the bulgur and the boiling water in a large bowl.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Then fluff the bulgur with a fork, drain any extra water.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mix well.

Whole-Wheat Pitas

Just like hummus, I have always bought pitas at the grocery store.  I had found that Trader Joe’s carries fresh and fluffy pitas.  The kind you can’t wait to rip open and sit with a giant tub of hummus and eat away.  I stay away from all others.  Why?  Too many times I have picked up a bag of really thin, limp and not fresh pitas from all grocery stores, definitely not an enjoyable snack.

So when hummus  was chosen for the latest Food Matters Project, I started thinking about getting a little crazy in the kitchen and trying out pitas.  Lately, I’ve had some extra time on my hands, so why not try something new?

As I read over the recipe, I saw that the ingredients included bread flour and whole-wheat flour.  I had neither.  For about 2 seconds I contemplated of not adding those 2 items to my grocery list, but I did.  I’m very glad I did.

When I had made the dough, I had this terrible feeling that it wouldn’t rise (which is why I bought extra packets of yeast).  But I wanted to try it until I succeed (I think the chickpeas got me in a groove).  To my surprise the dough rose, beautifully!

Then came the next part- baking.  It all went fairly smoothly.  I rolled out the dough, sprayed the baking pan, and turned on the heat in our oven.  Of course I couldn’t have picked a better day- it was 70 degrees outside, and even hotter in our condo.  In went the pita, and about 8 minutes later when I pulled it out it looked perfect.  Of course, before I could jump for joy our fire alarm sounded- ooops!  I think a chunk burned on the baking pan.

The recipe makes 8 pitas, and we can’t eat them all in one sitting (although I’d like to!).  So the dough pieces which we didn’t heat up, I divided into sandwich bags and froze them.  So the next time we bring home (or make) some more hummus, or want a fresh and fluffy pita, all I have to do is defrost and bake.  I cannot wait!

And I don’t think I’ll be buying any grocery store pitas ever again!

Whole-wheat Pita
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

1 tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast
1 cup & 2 tbsp warm water
10 oz bread flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
4.75 oz whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in the 1 cup & 2 tbsp of water water.  Stir it around until all of the granules have dissolved.  Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.

I had used our stand mixer with the dough attachment (looks like a hook), but you can do this using your hands.  Into the sugar-yeast liquid, slowly add all of the bread flour, about 3 oz of the whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup), yogurt, oil and salt.  Keep mixing the ingredients until the dough is smooth.  If you did this in a stand mixer, take out the dough and knead it until the dough is elastic (about 5-10 minutes).  As your kneading it, keep adding the rest of the whole-wheat flour, a little at a time (until the dough stops being sticky).

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, and drop the dough ball inside.  Flip the dough around, so all of the sides are coated with the cooking spray.  Cover the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place.  Leave it out until it has doubled in size, for at least an hour (I left mine out for about 3 hours).

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 8 pieces.  Preheat the oven to 500ºF, and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Take each portion one at a time and roll it out into about a 5-inch circle.  If the dough is sticky, use some flour on the rolling pin, your hands and the surface you’re working on.  Place the dough circle on the baking sheet, and into the oven on the lowest rack.  Bake the pita for about 8-10 minutes, until it has puffed up.  Take it out and let it cool before cutting into it.  Enjoy it with some hummus.