The next best thing

One of the most thrilling aspects of wedding planning is honeymoon research. I’ve spent countless hours, scouring Airbnb, Tripadvisor, and my new favorite, Fathomaway. I daydream about lounging in a hammock on a pristine beach in Tulum, armed with a good book and a Michelada, eating fish tacos to my heart’s content, or gazing out at the Mediterranean from an infinity pool, on the top of a cliff in Santorini. I can almost feel the coarse back of the elephant I long to ride through the rice paddies of Ubud. Who knows where we will go yet, but we’re sure having  a time just shopping around.

Lately I’ve been enamored with the possibility of Tulum, but for the longest time I was set on Greece and it’s still big on the radar. Naturally, all of these idyllic images of Greece have left me craving Greek food. We found a Middle-Eastern chicken kebab recipe from Once Upon a Chef, which employs a stellar marinade that delivers a cacophony of flavors. I think the Greek Yogurt is what really makes it. The recipe calls for marinating the chicken for eight hours-overnight, but we just marinated it for two hours and it was unbelievably full of flavor. The night we were cooking, I called Jay from the grocery, asking him if he could take the lead on cooking the bulguhur (which neither of us had ever made before). I failed to mention we’d be using it for tabouli and he ended up making the bulghur pilaf recipe on the back of the box. When I got home and saw him toasting the grain in a skillet with butter and onion, and was like, “What are you doooooing?! This is for tabouli!” Luckily, it was a happy accident because I thought it was just divine, especially with some greek salad  and a glass of rosé.

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Chicken, Zucchini and Onion Kebabs with Bulghur Pilaf and Greek Salad

Serves 2 hungry people.

  • Chicken, zucchini and onion kebabs (recipe below)
  • about 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
  • *olives and pepperoncini peppers optional
  • Greek vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Bulghur Pilaf (recipe below)

Greek Vinaigrette

  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • about 8 grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, split

Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil and whisk to combine. While whisking, gradually add the olive oil. Leave the garlic clove in the vinaigrette for about 10-15 minutes, just long enough to infuse the vinaigrette. (Depending on how big your salad is, you may or may not use all of the vinaigrette at once). Toss with the romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, feta (and olives and/or pepperoncini if you like).

Bulghur Pilaf (slightly adapted from the back of the Hodgson Mill box)

  • 1 cup bulghur
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade, it makes a HUGE difference)!

Melt the butter in a skillet, over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté until the onions have browned. Add the bulgur and toast until golden, for about 5-10 min. Add the chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 min.

Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup plain, Greek yogurt (we used Fage, which is my favorite, in 0% but 2% would work just fine if not better)
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cumin (it calls for 1/4 tsp but we’re not big on cumin, so we scaled way back)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  1/2 tsp + a heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs), trimmed of any extra fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into wedges
  • 1 yellow or sweet onion, cut into wedges

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, spices, zest, juice, and garlic and whisk until everything is incorporated. Thread the chicken onto metal skewers, alternating with the onion and zucchini. Don’t cram the skewers (about 4 of them will do). Put the kebabs on a baking sheet lined with foil and spoon/brush the marinade over the skewers, thoroughly, so that all of the chunks are covered. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to overnight if desired.

Prepare your grill (we use charcoal). If using gas, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and be sure to grease the grates with vegetable oil. Turn the skewers occasionally, to ensure even cooking. Depending on what kind of grill you have and the heat, this should take anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes or so. We like a little char on everything. Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve with Greek Salad and tabouli or bulghur pilaf.

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2 Comments

Filed under Entrees

2 responses to “The next best thing

  1. Found your blog though a crazy Internet rabbit hole…discovered you’re in Greensboro and flipped!! Hi!! So–couldn’t see where to contact you directly, but would love to chat. I’m a food photographer and I think we could do some fun projects together. You can find me here: danadillehunt.com

    • Hey Dana,

      What a lovely surprise, I can’t believe we haven’t met yet! I would absolutely LOVE to get together with you and talk food and food photography and doughnuts and anything else! I checked out your blog and your photos and goodness girl, you’re talented! I’m envious of your recent trips to Portland and San Fran. It looks like you hit up all of the essential spots. I love San Fran but was 15 when I went so I’m definitely overdue for a return, and I’ve never been to Portland and have been dying to go for so long!
      : ) Wanna meet for coffee or something sometime next week?

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