Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Pork Souvlaki With Tzatziki Sauce

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The word Souvlaki simply means, “meat on skewers”. Greeks also use it to describe an actual meal, loaded with perfectly grilled meat, and topped with Tzatziki sauce. Souvlaki is street-food and is super delicious. Usually made with chicken, today I’m doing it using pork, pork tenderloin to be specific. This is my Pork Souvlaki With Tzatziki Sauce.

I’m starting with the Tzatziki sauce. The most important trick to making Tzatziki Sauce is to thoroughly drain the gated cucumber before mixing it into the yogurt.

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mint

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E.V.O.O.

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Marinating the pork for Souvlaki.

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Olive Oil

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Tzatziki Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: overnight (8 to 12 hours)
Total Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, medium-size bowl with a tight-fitting lid, box grater, vegetable peeler, mesh sieve, cheesecloth, chef’s knife, hand-held juicer, Microplane

Pork Souvlaki
Prep Time: 30 minutes (time includes skewering the pork)
Inactive Prep Time: overnight (8 to 12 hours)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 10 to 12 skewers
Equipment: indoor grill pan, large bowl with a tight-fitting lid, whisk, wooden skewers, metal tongs, chef’s knife, hand-held juicer, 2 sheets of cheesecloth

Tip: Drain the yogurt the night before.

Ingredients For Tzatziki Sauce: 
1 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt, full-fat
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 large (10-ounce) hothouse (English cucumber) peeled, grated using large holes on a box grater, and drained
2 tablespoons of *e.v.o.o.
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, freshly grated
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 sprig of fresh mint for garnish
1 sprig of fresh dill for garnish

Directions For the Tzatziki Sauce:
Start by lining a mesh sieve with cheesecloth. Make sure the cheesecloth is large enough to cover the yogurt completely. Place over a large mixing bowl. Cover the yogurt completely with the cheesecloth. Place a heavy bowl on top to help the yogurt to drain. The next day unwrap the yogurt and transfer it to a medium-size mixing bowl with a tight-fitting lid and place back into the refrigerator.

Wash and dry the bowl and mesh sieve.

Using the same mesh sieve, lined with another piece of cheesecloth add the grated cucumber and 1/2 teaspoon of  Kosher salt. Tightly twist up in the cheesecloth and squeeze gently with your hands removing as much of the excess moisture as possible. Untwist the cheesecloth, set it carefully back into the mesh sieve. Place the mesh sieve over a bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes to continue draining.

Remove the yogurt from the refrigerator. Remove the lid. To the yogurt add ground cumin, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, grated garlic, Kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. At this point taste for seasoning if needed. Place the lid on, transfer back to the refrigerator to chill.  Spoon the Tzatziki to a serving nice serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill and mint right before serving.

Tip: Soak skewers for 1 hour before using.

Ingredients For Pork Souvlaki:
1 (2-pound) pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt, full-fat
1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cumin
8 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, juiced
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dried)

Garnishes: 
3 lemons, halved and grilled
8 sprigs of fresh oregano
mixed organic greens (as a bed for the platter)
sweet and tangy pepper drops, optional

Side Options: Links for recipes are below.
Greek Village Salad with Grilled Ciabatta or grilled pita bread
Roasted Greek Potatoes
Blackberry Cornbread Cake

Directions For Pork Souvlaki:
Prepare the marinade. In a large mixing bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice, grated garlic, Greek yogurt, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried rosemary,  sweet paprika, bay leaves, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, whisk to combine.

Add the pork to the marinade. Toss to combine making sure all the pork is well-coated with the marinade. Cover with lid (or tightly using plastic wrap) and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours and/or overnight.

When ready, thread marinated pork pieces through the prepared skewers.

Preheat the grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the flesh side of each lemon with a little oil. Place the lemon halves onto the grill. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes or until you get nice charred grill marks. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Once again, prepare the indoor grill pan. Brush with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat. Place pork skewers on the grill pan (in batches). Grill until well browned and internal temperature reads 150-degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer. Be sure to turn skewers evenly to cook on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Adjust the temperature of the grill pan if necessary.  Repeat this process for the second batch. Allow the pork skewers to rest for 5 minutes. Discard any leftover marinade.

Transfer and arrange the pork skewers to a large serving platter lined with organic mixed greens. Garnish with fresh sprigs of oregano, grilled lemons, and sweet and tangy pepper drops.

Serve Pork Souvlakia with aside of chilled Tzatziki Sauce.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream

Oven Roasted Greek Potatoes (Lemoni Patatas)

Greek Village Salad

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Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream

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My sister, Tina was coming over to do a photoshoot of a few of my favorite traditional Greek dishes. She took a lot of amazing pictures so I had a little something in store for her. For dessert, I’m made a Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream.

Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Mint

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet, 2 large mixing bowls, 1medium-size mixing bowl, hand-held electric mixer, whisk

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
2 cups of whole-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons of whole milk ricotta, room temperature
1 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of fine white cornmeal
3/4 cup of maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 pints of blackberries, reserve 1/2 of 1 pint for garnish
Pure Maple syrup for serving
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

Ingredients For Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Maple emulsion (extract)
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Cinnamon sugar for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla extract, ricotta, and eggs. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, maple sugar, baking soda, and salt, whisk dry ingredients together until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk mixture until smooth.

Line the blackberries in the buttered skillet, then pour the batter over the top. Finally, pour heavy cream into the center of the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Directions For Maple Whipped Cream:
In the meantime, in a pre-chilled large mixing bowl, add heavy cream. Using a hand-held mixer, beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Add maple emulsion (extract) and powdered sugar. Beat until firm. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

I like to serve my Blackberry Cornbread Cake warm with a dollop of cold Maple Whipped Cream on top. Finish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a sprig of fresh mint.

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Coeur A La Creme

Coeur-A-La-Creme

Coeur à la Crème is cream cheese and whipped cream #dessert with a fruit topping that’s traditionally made in the shape of a heart. I’d compare this dessert to being a French-style cheesecake. Coeur à la Crème, by its name alone, seems as though it would be so hard to make, it turns out is easier than a traditional cheesecake.

I saw this dessert made by Ina Garten, who I love, and knew I had to recreate this dish, but in a style of my own. At the time, I didn’t have the correct mold.  Ina Garten made this dessert using a mesh sieve, so that’s what I used as well. Since then, I have bought a traditional Coeur à la Crème mold. Let me show you what one looks like.

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Let me walk you through how easy this dessert is to make.

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Vanilla Sugar Jar

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Equipment: Stand Mixer with whisk and paddle attachments, mesh sieve, heart-shaped mold, a large piece of cheesecloth, 1 large mixing bowl, 3-quart saucepot, large serving platter

Ingredients:
12 ounces of softened cream cheese
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large piece of cheesecloth

Ingredients For Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries
1.2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup blueberry jam
1 sprig of fresh mint

Directions:
To start, add the softened cream to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let that mix on low speed for a couple of minutes. Next, add in the confectioner sugar and cream that together until the sugar is incorporated. A good tip is to have the mixer on very low speed while mixing in the sugar, otherwise, the sugar will spray all over the place.

Next, it’s time to change to the whisk attachment before adding in all the flavorings. Add in the lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds, (tip: add the empty vanilla pod to your sugar container and you’ll have vanilla sugar for future recipes), pure vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream. Again, start the mixer on low speed, then crank it up to high. Whisk all the ingredients together until they have the consistency of whipped cream.

Using a mesh sieve or the traditional Coeur à la Crème mold lined with cheesecloth as seen in the above pictures, transfer the flavored whipped cream to the sieve. Make sure you have a large enough piece of cheesecloth ( you can purchase cheesecloth at your local grocery store) to cover the top of the flavored cream too.  Place the sieve with the covered flavored cream mixture inside a larger bowl to allow the excess liquid to drain, as seen in the pictures above. Transfer to the refrigerator and let it set up for 24 hours. Discard the liquid.

Directions For Blueberry Sauce:
Add the blueberries to a saucepot, reserving a good handful back for garnish.  water, sugar, and fresh lemon juice.  On medium heat, stirring all the ingredients together, watching until it comes to a bubble. Turn down to a simmer and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juice thickened slightly.   I remove about 1/4 cup of the semi-cooked blueberries, place them into a small bowl cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator along with the reserved fresh blueberries.

Add the cooked blueberries and blueberry jam to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Place into a plastic container with lid and chill overnight in the refrigerator. That’s the blueberry sauce. The semi-cooked and fresh blueberries will give our sauce a variety of different textures.

The next day, remove the flavored cream from the frig.  Unfold the cheesecloth from the top of the mold. Place a large serving plate over the top and invert the whole dessert onto the plate. Carefully peel off the rest of the cheesecloth from the cream. You’ll have a white silky dome-shaped dessert with little specks of vanilla resting like a soft pillow on your serving plate.

Next, take the blueberry sauce, semi-cooked blueberries, and fresh blueberries out of the frig. If the sauce is too thick, add 1 maybe 2 tablespoons of very hot water to thin out the sauce, and stir well. Using a spoon, spoon the sauce over the top of the dome-shaped cream and let the sauce fall down all over the sides. Spoon over the semi-cooked blueberries on the top of the sauce and let them fall all down the sides as well. Finally, take the fresh blueberries and sprinkle them all around the outside rim of the dessert. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

You could use whatever berries you like for the topping. Raspberries would be delicious.

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