Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vegan (and Gluten-free) Gyro

**Attention**  No husbands were harmed in the making of this gyro.
Yes, I had to make that statement, because my husband is not a spicy food fan, like me.  These gyros definitely have a kick, but you can absolutely adjust the spices to fit your taste buds. He powered through the spice and even went back for seconds, so thats a true testament to how delicious these babies are!  If you have followed me in the past, you know I have had some pretty serious health issues over the past 4-5 years.  I've taken matters in to my own hands and have tweaked my already very clean diet to improve my healing to the highest possible factor.  This includes avoiding meat, gluten, and dairy. It's farmer's market season, so this helps to amp up my creativity in the cooking department based on what's growing in the garden and what's new at the market on Saturday.  This meal was a huge hit for us! And,  if you do eat dairy or don't worry about being gluten free, you can make it based on what you have on hand, (that's basically what I did!)  I hope you enjoy!! 

This may seem like a lot of work, or like it will take forever to make, but I had this done and on the table in less than 40 min.  You could even save time by purchasing pitas or flatbread in the bakery. I'll share the order that I made everything.

Eggplant "Gyro Meat"
  • 2 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp (6.8 g) paprika*
  • 1 tsp (3 g) ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp (1.5 g) cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp (1.4 g) salt
  • 2 Eggplants
Instructions:  Get eggplant roasting first.  Preheat oven 400° F. Cube eggplant into 1 inch pieces. Coat with olive oil and spices.  Taste to check that seasoning is to your preference. Cook in a baking dish for 30 minutes. Make flat bread while eggplant roasts.

Flat bread: 
  • 2 cups unbleached gluten free flour mix (or if not gluten-free use all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, fitted with a dough blad or a stand-mixer. Mix until a ball forms. Or use your hands to form a ball if you don't have a mixer. The ball of dough should be soft, pliable, but not sticky. If it is sticky, add flour by the tablespoon until it no longer sticks to your fingers.
  2. Transfer the ball of dough to a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and roll both halves into balls, and then in half again, until you have 8 small balls of dough.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure your surface is still well-floured. Take one ball and use your fingers to flatten it into a circle. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 5 to 6-inch circle. Place the flattened dough on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with 3 more balls of dough. Lay another sheet of parchment paper over the circles and continue with the remaining 4 balls of dough (laying them on the top sheet of paper).
  4. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place one of the circles of dough in the pan and cook until bubbles begin to form (if using all-purpose flour) or the center begins to rais up from pan to create a pocket about 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs or a fork to flip it over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining circles of dough. 
  5. I set my timer for 2 minutes per side and that worked perfectly. That way I could prepare the tzatziki while those were cooking. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. If flatbreads seem to crack in the middle when folded, wrap a damp paper towel around it and microwave for 15-20 seconds to make is softer and more pliable. Now on to the sauce!

Cashew Tzatziki:
  • 1 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 2-4 hours (or overnight)
  • **(If not dairy free, use 1 cup of greek yogurt instead of soaked cashews)**
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • ¾ cup  water
  • 1 small cucumber chopped
  • Sprig or two of mint or dill (whatever you have on hand)
  1. Drain the cashews and add with all other ingredients (except for the chopped cucumber pieces) into a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, add the cucumber pieces, and mix. Store in the fridge. (This gets better as it sits and flavors meld.)
***You could prepare this the day before and store in the fridge if you like. It seems to get better as it sits. 

Once all of your flatbreads are cooked and sauce is made, the eggplant should be just about done. This makes enough for approximately 8 gyros. Layer your flatbread with your tzatziki sauce, eggplant, thinly sliced onion, and maybe even some extra cucumbers or tomatoes, or whatever toppings your little heart desires!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring Flower Crowns

This is what happens when you are a crazy animal and flower lady...
We recently went under a name change with our local flower farmer business.  Lola,  our black lab was the original namesake for the business, "Black Dog Homestead," but we decided to change the name to something more flower focused.  The new name is "Bushel and Peck Wildflowers," and we have been busy bees prepping for this year's flower season!  Lola was not even offended that the logo and name changed.  She has been such a good sport that she agreed to still be our mascot, and continues to model for us!

I decided to play with some spring blooms from the yard to make this flower crown that doubles as a beautiful fresh flower collar for my babes!

I used tulips, narcissus, muscari, some foraged branches and vines, and some tiny little blooms that are probably weeds, but I think they are pretty and a beautiful accent!!

Our crazy little sweet boy, Odie, also had to have a flower crown collar, but his is a bit more manly...

I used the foraged vine foliage to make a leafy collar that accented his lion's mane, and just a few small buds that sit at the "lapel" area that act as a little puppy boutonnière. Its a little peter-pan-ish, in a good way! *wink, wink*

"Do I look ok, Mom?" 

Lola loves to wear something special on her collar or her rain coat, or thunder shirt.  She has such a big personality, and its obvious that she feels pretty by the way she prances and smiles with her eyes!

Odie is the same way!  They have such big personalities!

This was my day today...surrounded by flowers and pets!! Doesn't get much better than that!

  He looks like one of the lost boys, (he he!) They totally pose!  You can tell they were very proud of their fancy flowers!

Showing a squirrel her flowers...

Odie took it upon himself to test the sturdiness of the collar...

 Durability tested, Odie approved!

 " Should I do a serious face?"

"No, I'll smile instead..."

 Being a doggy model is hard work. The struggle is real.

This is only the beginning... get ready for more flower hi-jinx. We're going big this year!!

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