April 19, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
My best friend, Becca, arrived in London yesterday!!! And perfect timing. The weather is gorgeous and I have been dying for friend time. Things couldn’t be better! I have been getting ready all week, cleaning and cooking, researching “must sees” for our 3 day excursion to Barcelona while she’s overseas, and of course getting my guest basket spruced up!
So after she got settled, we set out for one of my favorite local pubs to grab lunch. I picked the place because the food is great and I was thinking, hey, it might even be nice enough to sit in their beer garden. Silly idea. When am I going to learn? We started our 10 minute walk just as the sky was turning a dark shade of grey ahead.
Should we run back and grab umbrellas?
No, Becca replied, it’s not that far right?
Yeah your right, even if rains when we get there we can just wait it out with an extra p… uhhh is that hail?
I think it might b… OUCH! crap…. Run for it!!!
Needless to say, while we made the 10 minute walk in 5 minutes, we showed up looking like hideous wet mops. Nothing a friendly bartender and a few rounds couldn’t fix. Plus we heading to sunny Spain tomorrow so nothing can really keep us down!
I’d also had dreams of a gorgeous dinner in our garden which went by the wayside, thanks to: soaked lawn furniture, Chris informing me that the grilled needs to be seriously cleaned before I can cook on it, and not getting our act together to eat again until 9:30 when it was too dark considering I haven’t sorted patio lighting yet.
But in anticipation of today’s afternoon tea, followed by a trip to Burger & Lobster tonight, followed by a trip to every tapas bar we come across in Spain, I cooked up a light dinner for us last night of Quinoa Greek Salad and Mixed Grill with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce.
This is a very basic Greek style salad because Becca HATES onions and I DESPISE olives. I’m sure that the addition of either red onions or some kalamatas would be great. But as it is, it is tangy and salty and delicious. I tossed the tomatoes, cucumber and feta with cooked and cooled quinoa.
Then drizzled with this simple lemony oregano dressing. I made the dressing in advance in a small tupperware so I could just shake it up right before serving.
I also made my cucumber dressing in the morning, not only giving it time for the flavors to meld, but so that all I had to to that evening was grill up my meat. Be sure to drain your shredded cucumbers, which I did by grating into a small colander over a bowl, then pressing out the excess moisture.
Stir together with plain greek yogurt (I used fat free), some minced garlic, and some cumin for that extra special something.
And I would definitely recommend cooking your meat by skewering and grilling for a better summery flavor, but in a sauté pan worked just fine. I used chicken and lamb, but steak, shrimp, and/or pork would all be excellent. Just be sure to pay attention to the varying cooking times.
Serve it all up with a yummy Rosé wine on your patio for a glamorous healthy casual evening. Or just slop it on the plates and call it a night like we might have ended up doing… Still tasty and fun!
Mixed Grill w/ Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
2 lbs. meat in 2 inch chunks: combination of shrimp, chicken, lamb, pork, or steak
1 Tbs. Greek seasoning
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup shredded cucumber, drained
1 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Skewer each type of meat separately, sprinkle with Greek seasoning, and drizzle with olive oil. Reserve.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Heat your grill and cook the meat, rotating skewers halfway through. Chicken will take about 8 minutes; shrimp – 4 minutes; pork- 6 minutes; lamb and steak- 4 minutes for medium.
Once cooked through or to desired temperature for the lamb, let rest for 5 minutes then serve with the yogurt sauce.
Quinoa Greek Salad
1 cup Quinoa
2 ¼ cups water
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups diced cucumber
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup lemon infused olive oil
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp black pepper
Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small pot, then reduced to a simmer. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
In a mixing bowl, toss the quinoa with the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and feta. Mix the olive oil, balsamic, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to make a dressing. Then toss with the salad and serve.