Monday, June 2, 2008

barefoot pita bread

The largest population of Arabs outside of the Arabian Peninsula is in a suburb of Detroit called Dearborn. Dearborn is home to numerous really good Middle Eastern restaurants, most of them are Lebanese. Dearborn is also home to the world headquarters for Ford Motor Company, but I never ate there! Where I did eat was a Mediterranean place called La Shish where there was a woman who made pita bread by hand in the middle of the dining room. She was barefoot. That kind of bothered me but the food there was so amazingly good that I didn't really care that much about the feet. I made some homemade pita bread this weekend (I wore sandals) but neglected to get a picture of it. I made it to go with a Moroccan chicken and rice and orzo pilaf that was so very yummy. The pita bread recipe was from this book, of course. I love where we live now, but I do miss the days when my husband and I would go to Greenfield Village and take in a baseball game played by 1867 rules and then go to La Shish for some Shwarma. Fun and yum.

Moroccan style chicken

I think this recipe originally came from Weight Watchers but I have added the spinach. I love this dish very much. It is simple to make, light, healthy, and combines some of my favorite ingredients (chicken and lemon)! Makes 4 servings.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
1 16 ounce can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups of good chicken broth or stock
4 ounces of baby spinach, washed and stems removed

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Season the flour with the salt and lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Cook the chicken in 2 batches in the olive oil until golden on the outside. It will not be cooked through at this point. Remove the chicken and set aside. Place the lemon slices in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from the pan. Add the chicken broth to the pan and whisk, scrapping up any little bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chick peas and add the chicken and lemon back in. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and simmer until thickened and the chicken is cooked through - about 5 minutes total. Turn off the heat and add the spinach.

Orzo and rice pilaf

This was wonderful! I saw a recipe for something similar somewhere recently and did not copy it down or print it out at the time so I could not remember where it was that I saw it. Shame on me. So, I thought I would just "wing it" and make my own and it turned out great! I used my chef's intuition for the proper ratios. This make a lot! Like 8 servings, I think?

1 cup of long grain white rice (you could use brown but that would change the cooking time a lot)
1 cup of orzo pasta (if you don't know, orzo is rice shaped pasta, I think it is Greek)
3 cups of water
1 small onion, diced small
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and orzo and cook it, stirring often until slightly golden brown, maybe another 3 minutes. Add the water and salt and bring to ta boil. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to a low simmer and place a lid on the pot. Simmer the rice for about 20 minutes. All of the liquid should absorb in that time and both the rice and pasta should be tender.

This dinner was very easy to make, even making the pita bread at the same time. The only snag in making this was that I had the pilaf on and cooking and everything sliced up for the chicken, except for the chicken. I like to cut the chicken last since I don't want to wash or change the cutting board more than once. Anyway, I opened my chicken to find it was spoiled! I was really upset. Lately, I have thrown away chicken twice, sausage twice and bacon once all from a local store because it was spoiled 1 day after purchasing. I will not be buying ANY meat at that store in the future. I think that it is ridiculous to charge so much for food and then it is not even wholesome! Instead, I went to the Giant (yes, that's the name and the description of the store) that is 25 miles away (one way) for meat and produce yesterday. I am always amazed at how much better the food quality is at the larger stores. It is worth the trip for the selection and great prices, not to mention the lack of rotten food. I just wish it didn't take 2 hours to grocery shop. Oh well, the husband and I made a fun time of it. I sometimes think we could have fun absolutely anywhere.

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