Friday, March 8, 2013

House of Orange plus Alioli

We are sneaking up on that holiday of holidays...St. Patrick's Day! You all thought I was going to say Easter, didn't you?

Well, I'm Irish and proud of it. I also have a good dose of German, but who's counting? Between the Irish and the Germans, we have good boozing-it-up holidays (Oktober Fest and St. Patty's)-if I was in to such things.

But, I'm really not.

We do have a bit of an issue going on in the Barefoot Hippie household. See, Mr. Hippie is not Irish. As a matter of fact, he's Dutch. Which isn't a problem-364 days of the year. But on the 365th day, i.e. St. Patrick's Day, we have a minor hundreds of years old rivalry going on.

See, the Dutch Protestants way back when, were with the House Of Orange, against the Catholics, and all things green.

Our Dutch-Irish kids get the choice of siding with their mom or dad on this day of days. To wear orange or green? that is the question.

It usually is a simple matter of who has what color in their closets. Some years green wins out. Some years its rather orange here. But, the food is always Irish.

I shared our favorite Irish recipes last year. Oh, and a rather green recipe too. Check them out at Irish Eyes are Smiling and Going Green (noodles). Awesome Irish goodness, in time to work them into your menu next week.

Tonight for dinner I am making another Barefoot Hippie favorite, Peppered Pork Pitas. This is a 3 step recipe-pork, pitas, and alioli. 3 steps, but all are easy. The most complicated part is the pita bread. If you don't want to venture forth on that aspect, just pick some up at your grocery store.

Pita Bread
(Follow the directions carefully. This is a very soft dough. If you overwork it, the dough won't puff during baking. That being said, they really are rather easy. Also, the worst that will happen is that they won't puff. They will still be delicious.)

3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T yeast
1-1/4 cups water
2 T butter, margarine or shortening
3/4 t salt

In a mixing bowl combine 1-1/4 cups of flour, yeast, and salt. In a saucepan heat the water and butter until the butter almost melts. Add to the flour mixture. Beat by hand, or with a mixer on low, for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, add as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic. Cover with a towel. Let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Roll easy dough portion between well floured hands into a very smooth ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rest 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (pop your baking sheet in the oven right now too). Gently flatten balls with your fingers, taking care to not crease dough. Cover, and let rest another 10 minutes. (keep dough balls covered until ready to use.

On a well-floured surface, lightly roll one dough ball into a 7" round, turning dough over once. Keep a slightly puffy rim on the edges. Do not stretch, puncture or crease the dough. Repeat with another 2 dough balls.

Place 3 dough rounds on a preheated, ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 3 minutes. Flip over with a wide spatula, and then back for an additional 2-3 minutes, until golden. Cool for 3 minutes on a wire rack, then place in a plastic bread bag. It keeps the breads soft and from drying out.

Repeat with the rest of the dough. I usually start rolling out the next batch of bread after I flipped the batch before in the oven. Gives me 2-3 minutes to roll out 2-3 more pieces of bread.

the dough balls flattened by hand, and having rested for the 10 minutes more

Rolled out. See how the edges are still thick. Not thin like pie crust edges.
Baked and puffed. Delicious.

So, these pita bread take about 1-1/2 to 2 hours of hands on time. There are breaks, but, that would be your all around time commitment.

If you don't have that kind of time, skip making the pita breads, and go right to this step. Feel free to collect $200.

Peppered Pork Pitas
1 pound pork, (tenderloin or country style ribs work great) cut into thin strips
1 T olive or vegetable oil
1 green pepper, julienned
1 onion, peeled, halved, sliced thinly length-wise
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t salt

Mix all together in a medium bowl. This can be done ahead, during one of those pita bread raising periods. Just cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork and cook until pork is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Alioli (ay-li-oh-li)
1/3 cup mayonaise
2 T lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

Mix together in a small bowl. Cover, and refrigerate about an hour to let the flavors meld.

Easy-peasy. This alioli is also really good with sweet potato fries.

What's on your menu for this weekend? Are you trying any new recipes? 

Btw, have you entered the giveaway on yesterday's post? There is some great loot. You have to follow Home Grown and Healthy via email in order to enter. They are a very natural, healthy, simple living type blog. Check them out, and feel free to enter.