Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last of the Season?

Finally our family made it to the Dane County Farmer's Market on the Square (around the capital building) - the largest in the country as well as the oldest! It didn't seem that big at first until we felt like we were done and Ryan said we had only gone around one side of the square (which of course has FOUR sides). There was just about everything there! Fresh produce, eggs, cheese (even a place that was "frying" up baked cheese on griddles - YUM), kettle corn and regular popcorn, rice, honey, maple syrup, baked goods (and lots of them), bison, beef, lamb, chicken - it was awesome! The great thing about Dane County is that during the summer there is a farmers market (sometimes more than one) each and every day of the week, so I didn't need to go on Saturday when it was family time. After my experience at the Boulder's Farmer's Market I was a bit hesitant to go to the HUGE one on the square, but it wasn't nearly as difficult to navigate with a stroller - maybe because it is nearing the end of the season for the outdoor market or maybe because it is so big. Even though the other local farmers markets are finished at the end of October, the large Dane County one will be moving indoors soon and will continue through the winter.

I was hoping to find some tomatoes and cucumbers at the market, but wasn't sure since it was so late in the season for these items. But they have just about everything there, so of course I found some, along with my 100% gras-fed ground lamb, onions, garlic and goat feta (which I already had - so I didn't get more). Now I had nearly all of the ingredients necessary for my favorite summer meal - Grilled Gyros. Unfortunately I forgot to look for the parsley and forgot to put it on my grocery list, so I had to run out the day of and pick up some fresh parsley. I really do think motherhood messes with your memory! Anyway, on to the recipe. I am giving you the double recipe as that is what our family makes since it is so good and the left-overs are AMAZING!

1 lb ground lamb (or 1 lb trimmed, cubed lamb stew meat)
1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and cayenne to taste

Serve with Feta-Yogurt Spread
Greek Salsa (or sliced cucumbers and tomatoes)
Lettuce or spinach (optional)
Pita Bread

Mince onion, parsley, garlic (and lamb if using stew meat) in food processor. Combine ground lamb, parsley onion mixture, panko crumbs, salt and pepper. I usually use my hands to do this - you can wear gloves if you prefer not to handle raw meat. The recipe talks about making kebabs and putting the meat on skewers, but after doing this the first time I found it very ineffective. Instead I make them into thin long patties. Preheat your grill to high and oil it before putting patties on. Cook for about eight minutes (flipping about halfway through). You can also do this in your oven or in a non-stick fry pan on the stove. If going the oven route I would probably put a cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and broil for the same amount of time as mentioned for grilling). I have also made this recipe with chicken and ground beef if you don't like or want to try lamb. Grill pita for a minute or so to warm - be careful not to do it too long or you won't be able to wrap your gyro.

Feta-Yogurt Spread
1/2 cup Greek style or plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I like mine in brine)
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill in fridge til ready to serve.

Greek Salsa
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded, diced
4 Tblsp red onion, diced
Juice of half lemon

Stir all ingredients together and let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.

Assemble the gyros to your liking and ENJOY!

This recipe comes from Cuisine at Home magazine - a wonderful surprise gift from a friend of mine's mother a couple of years ago. Ryan and I love gyros and have always looked for a place to get them, until we found and tried this recipe! Now we can make them at home, although Oakland Gyros (on Milwaukee's eastside) will always be our favorite gyro joint.

My notes:  I have made these with beef instead of lamb and chicken instead of lamb - both are great substitutions if you don't have lamb on hand or aren't feeling very adventurous.  I have also thought of adding some cooked beans to the food processor to add some more nutrition and reduce the amount of meat that we are eating.  Possibly spinach too - it would blend in with the parsley:)

Sorry for the delay, I started this in October, but then holiday season began and I didn't get around to finishing the post until now (January). I'm hoping to be more efficient with my time this coming year and my goal is to add one recipe a week (not sure what day just yet). My next posts will include: an easy and delicious hummus appetizer (and really cheap with some of the recent grocery store deals/coupons), Blueberry Stuffed French Toast (great for left-over bread), Tofu Fried Rice (try it, you might like it) and my new favorite Pumpkin Bread recipe.

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