After a whole week & a half of meals dedicated to comfort foods that would give warmth, bolster spirits during a time of great need, and provide extra calories for someone who has a tendency to shed weight like water off a duck’s back when they’re stressed, Saturday night was just the night to make something easy, filling but not too gut-straining, plus still relatively comforting but fresh & palate-perking.
I know that the holidays are finally here, and usually that would imply bringing out all the favourite holiday-centric meals, but I’m just not feeling it as of yet; plus I’m pretty sure the damper on my mood has something to do with TheHubbs’ stress & sadness revolving around MIL and the passing of FIL last week after a long, stress-filled week of just patiently waiting.
[Sidenote: the term sofa-meal(s) will be used as a term, from this point forward, to denote any dinner-time meal consumed while sitting sofa-side. Usually it will imply the meal was simple make and easily eaten while feeling physically or emotionally fragile; something from Netflix will very probably be playing on tv as accompaniment & distraction.]
So that brings us to this: homemade lamb souvlakis & tzatziki, greek salad and a side of hummus with extra pitas. I have to say: it was really damn good for a sofa-meal.
Most of our sofa-meals in the last four to six months basically consisted of a small pot of soup and a couple sandwiches. Simple & speedy to make, but not terribly soul-satisfying. The meal’s only saving grace is the soup being homemade; made ages ago in vat-sized quantities, portioned out then vaccuum sealed and frozen with the intention to be eaten as future meals.
This meal was remarkably satisfying considering it’s basically just an assembly job and in my opinion: a cold meal. The biggest surprise was how quickly it took to reheat the large chunks of leftover lamb that I had frozen from last weekend’s roast leg of lamb. It’s not easy to reheat roasted meats originally cooked to medium rare without drying it out or overcooking it.
I’ve said it before and I’m certainly happy to say it again: I ❤️ my Sansaire. I should reallt try to think of using it for so many more things. I had a facepalm moment the other day when I saw that someone had used their sousvide setup to proof their challah bread dough! Why didn’t I think of that myself?!? It’s the perfect way to proof yeast bread doughs because you can control temperature AND keep the dough from drying out at the same time!!
/end sidetracked tangeant
Anyhow, like I was saying: easy to make meal that is pretty satisfying.
I love Greek salad because it just needs cucumber, tomato, bell pepper in the colour of your choice, and a bit of red onion (although I use green onions) to be all chopped into bite-sized pieces and tossed together in a big bowl. Drizzle with a genous amount of your favourite olive oil (mine is garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil from Blue Door), a good splash or two of red wine vinegar, to taste. Season everything with salt, pepper, & some dried oregano; then rain down a whole bunch of cubed feta cheese overtop before mixing it all with a really big spoon.
If you happen to enjoy kalamata olives, the time to add a small handful would be at the same time your feta cheese came to the party. I would suggest that you halve the olives, as these are pretty intense flavour bombs and please consider removing the stones! No one enjoys having to figure out the polite way to spew olive pits without other people noticing.
At this point I would highly recommend that you leave the salad alone at room temperature for awhile so the flavours can do their thing and the veggies can rid themselves of any fridge coldness that remains if they were once hanging out in the icebox, chilling.
I especially love tzatziki made at home. I use: Greek yoghurt + grated cucumbers that were lightly salted then left to drain in a small colander, then quickly rinsed and squeezed off as much of the extra liquids as possible. Add the mandhandled cucumber to the yoghurt, a bit of salt & pepper for seasoning, a good squirt of lemon juice and +/- a tiny bit of garlic with a drizzle of olive oil, if you’re into that sort of thing. Mix everything together with a spoon, taste for seasoning, adding extra lemon juice if needed to brighten things up a bit more, then leave the tzatziki alongside the greek salad for their flavours to become one.
As for dessert: the long awaited & anticipated Apple Tarte Tatin!
I’d been wanting to make this recipe since last week, but didn’t get around to it until this past weekend. Super easy recipe that I wish I had learned to consider making much sooner and much more often!
Seriously, this is the easiest way to make an apple pie/tart. Just peel, slice & core a bunch of apples, squeeze over a lemon’s worth of juice to stop the apples from getting too browned and sprinkle with your favourite spices; I used some cinnamon, a few shakes of ground cloves & half a dozen gratings of fresh nutmeg.
Make a simple caramel sauce with sugar and apple juice (or calvados if you’re able to handle that sort of thing ^_^) in an oven-safe skillet, large enough to eventually accomodate all your apples and sauce. Wait for the sauce to get a little thick and properly coloured, then carefully add in your apple slices and gently toss until everything’s evenly coated with the caramel. Leave alone to cook for about 5 minutes & preheat your oven to 375°.
While you’re waiting, roll out a sheet of puff pastry until it’s about 5cm larger than the diameter of your pan. Once the apples are slightly pre-cooked, very carefully lay your puff pastry sheet overtop, tucking the pastry all the way around the edges so no apple peeks through (use the back of your wooden spoon if needed, DO NOT EVER TOUCH HOT CARAMEL!!). Once you’ve tucked your apples under their puff pastry blanket, put the whole skillet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
When the time is up, pull the skillet out from the oven, very carefully put a large plate on top of the whole pan and very quickly flip the whole thing over. Let cool at least 15-20 minutes for the caramel to set up before serving with vanilla ice cream.
WARNING: This dessert is amazingly easy, but also incredibly dangerous if you’re not careful to take special attention to the fact that this dessert has molten hot lava temperatures. Caramel is not something you wanna just be blazé about! It’s crucial to make sure your caramel is at least a little bit “thick” so it doesn’t just spill all over the place, and please be sure to protect your arms when you flip the pan over.
Original Jamie Oliver recipe I followed for Apple Tarte Tatin found here.