Monday, January 27, 2014

Gyro Sliders

The Superbowl is upon us and that makes me crave game-day snacks. Now I love spicy buffalo wings, pizza and nacho cheese dip. But this year, I wanted to try something different. Gyros. 

Well, my take on gyros. Gyro sliders. These little bite-sized snacks are quick and easy to make for your game-day crowd. 

No gyro is complete without tzatziki. It is a tangy combination of cool cucumber, spicy garlic and fresh dill - all brought together with zesty lemon.

My favorite gyro toppings are tomatoes, feta and thinly sliced red onion. 

The result is a juicy lamb slider with all of a gyro's flavors in a quick, easy bite. Perfect for any game!

Gyro Sliders
(Recipe makes eight sliders)

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic (I like to use a micro plane)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 pita bread, cut into quarters

  • 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • 1 english cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves grated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Mix together lamb, garlic and spices in a medium size bowl. Form eight small slider patties and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix together yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice and spices.
  3. Sprinkle grated cucumber with salt and squeeze out any liquid. Add to the yogurt mixture and set aside.
  4. Heat a large saute pan (medium-high heat) and add oil. Cook patties in batches of four, three minutes each side until dark brown. 
  5. Place cooked patties on a sheet pan with a wire rack, to drain any excess fat.
  6. You can serve the sliders in a few different ways. I first cut the pita bread into quarters, stuffing each quarter with tzatziki, feta, tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions. Another fun option is to use a ring mold to cut circles in each pita to make "pita" buns. Enjoy!
Want more? Watch Wendy See Wendy Do's first video: Gyro Sliders in 60 Seconds.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brioche Nutella Bread Pudding

You know when you wake up and have a hankering for something sweet?  Well this was one of those mornings.  So I raided my pantry and ended up with a sweet, chocolatey and nutty bread pudding in less than an hour!
Brioche.  Nutella.  Pecans. Custard. Powered sugar.  Delight!  Enjoy for breakfast, dessert or just because.

Brioche Nutella Bread Pudding
Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

3 brioche buns (you can also use croissants, challah or a hearty bread)
3/4 cup nutella
1/4 cup pecans (half or chopped)
1 cup half and half
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powered sugar
pinch of salt

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Slather Nutella onto brioche rolls to make Nutella sandwiches.  Cut sandwiches into 2-inch pieces and place into a medium-sized baking dish.  Scatter pecans on top.
  • In a medium bowl, combine half and half, eggs, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and salt.  Once combined pour over brioche pieces.
  • Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and back for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the top is golden and all of the liquid is absorbed.  
  • Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Farm Fresh Tomatoes with Basil Oil

We are in the thick of CSA season here at the Wendy See Wendy Do house!  Every Monday evening a beautiful bounty of fresh and delicious organic tomatoes, onions, greens and herbs arrives at our door courtesy of a local Wisconsin farm. 

This is the second season we are enjoying the harvests of Tomato Mountain Farm through their CSA program.  CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" and is a network of people who pledge to support a local farm and in return get a portion of the harvest.  Which means weekly, fresh deliveries of kale, chard, onions and loads of tomatoes.  
This week - our delivery included ripe and red slicer, Juliet and sun gold tomatoes.  Once you see them you want to devour them right away.  One of my favorite ways to serve tomatoes comes right from my own "urban" garden - homemade basil oil.

Now I am not going to pretend to be some pro urban gardener.  I live in Chicago which means I have a limited season to say the least.  However I am pretty proud of my back deck garden which features sweet and purple basil, heirloom mint (cut from my grandmother's garden in Pennsylvania) and lots of hot peppers.
So basil oil.... so simple and so delicious.  Don't go out and buy the stale stuff at the store.  It would be like eating dried basil over fresh basil.  You cannot compare!!  Fresh basil oil has the lovely, luscious quality of olive oil with the fresh and sweet flavor of basil.    

Basil Oil 
Makes 3/4 cup

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and create an ice bath on large bowl.
  2. Once water comes to boil, add basil leaves and blanch for 30 seconds then transfer basil to ice bath.
  3. Dry basil leaves (I use my salad spinner) then add to food processor with olive oil and blend. 
  4. Strain basil/oil mixture through a fine sieve into a container.  Oil can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.  Serve over freshly sliced tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Beet Stacks

Are you a fan of beets?  I have to admit... they had to grow on me.  Growing up my mom LOVED them, my dad not so much, and me and my brothers - well - we were on the fence.  That is until a few years ago when I was introduced to roasted beets.  I fell in love with their intensely earthy, sweet flavor.  Plus their gorgeous red and sometimes vibrant yellow and orange coloring makes them pop on any plate.

Beets are a root vegetable known as beetroot or garden beets and they have been cultivated for centuries.  The tasty roots date as far back as 8th century BC Babylonia.  Aristotle even wrote about the ruby lovelies.  
Traditionally the dark-red roots are boiled, served cold over salads, or pickled (which I hate!).  In Eastern Europe they are one of the main ingredients in the popular cold soup: borsch. 

For me - roasting is the best way to prepare beets and so simple do.  This recipe makes a wonderful side to any summer meal!!  

Makes 4 beet stacks
  • 4 beets, small to medium sized
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Scrub, rinse and pat beets dry then rub with a small amount of olive oil and wrap tightly in foil (two beets per foil packet).  Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until beets are tender and easily pierced with a knife.  Allow to slightly cool then carefully remove skin.  (The beets will stain your hands and clothing! So I use rubber gloves.)  Set aside.
  3. In a small, dry frying pan toast walnuts until slightly browned.  Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and walnut oil then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  5. Once skin is removed slice beets width-wise into three or four sections (depending on the size of the beet.)  
  6. In layers, alternate beet slices and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle stacks with balsamic walnut oil vinaigrette, fresh thyme leaves and the toasted walnuts.  Enjoy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cedar Plank Salmon

I find the best recipes are usually the simplest.  I used to think whipping up an impressive meal meant hours of prep work, lots of crazy ingredients and dozens of pots and pans.  This recipe is the exact opposite!

Four ingredients.  Juicy Lemons.  Fresh Dill.  Tender Salmon.  Cedar Planks.  Add a little salt and pepper and you have an elegant, delightful meal perfect for a summer dinner party or a romantic meal for two.
According to Great Lakes Grilling, the pairing of salmon and cedar planks started with Native Americans who occupied and fished in the Pacific Northwest.  In those days, the salmon was tacked on big wooden slabs and roasted over an open fire.

Unfortunately our condo association wouldn't take to kindly to us having an open fire on our wooden back deck.  Thankfully nowadays you can buy grilling planks almost anywhere.  The planks impart a wonderful smokiness to the fish without drying it out. 
I cannot take credit for this delicious and simple dish!  Sometimes you just come across recipes that are too good to be changed and this is one of them!

So for further details I will refer you to creator of this recipe - Allison Eats.  You need to add this food blog to your favorites!  I would also highly recommend the mustard dill sauce she pairs with the fish, too.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hum Sun Tea

Oh, Wendy See Wendy Do readers.... I do apologize!

I have neglected you!

To explain... I recently got a job.  A full-time job that seems to be taking my... well... my full-time. 

No excuses!  I am back and ready to blog.
It is nearly 90 degrees this weekend in Chicago which means one thing at my house - SUN TEA!!!  I love sun tea for so many reasons but mostly because it is fool proof.  All you need is a pitcher, a couple of tea bags, whatever add-ins for additional flavor and sun.  

Today I added lemon and local strawberries for a nice hint of tart and sweet.  My other favorite flavor combinations are: peach/mint, basil/raspberry and orange/fresh ginger (which is so spicy sweet!!)
Today I wanted to kick my tea up a notch - it is Saturday after all - so I added a healthy splash of my favorite Chicago-based "botancial spirit" Hum

This ruby-colored, rum-based liquor is infused with hibiscus, ginger root, green cardamom and kaffir lime to create an herby, spicy, intoxicating concoction that you can add to just about anything!  I love to add a splash of it to prosecco.  I have used in place of grenadine to make a spicy Manhattan.  Most times, I just enjoy a few ounces of Hum on the rocks with a squeeze of lime and some soda water.  Did I mention I LOVE this stuff?

So... Hum Sun Tea was created!  


  • Large pitcher
  • 2 large tea bags (I use Lipton)
  • One half of a lemon, sliced
  • One cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Hum liqueur  (Click here to find a store that sells Hum closest to you)
  1. Place lemon slices, strawberries and tea bags in pitcher and fill almost to the top with water.
  2. Place outside or near a window in direct sunlight.
  3. Allow tea to steep for at least one hour.
  4. Fill a glass with ice and add one to two ounces of Hum liqueur. 
  5. Top off glass with tea and garnish with a lemon.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Florida Keys, Lobster Tails & More...

As I type this post I am sitting in paradise.  The warm sun is glimmering off of the Gulf of Mexico while a gentle breeze of briny ocean air whips through the palm trees.  I am in the Florida Keys.  It is one of my favorite places on the planet!  My grandmother has wintered on Summerland and Sugarloaf Keys for nearly 20 years.  I have had the incredible fortune to come and visit many of those years.  It is the ultimate retreat from Chicago's early and usually wet spring. 

It probably goes without saying - the food here is divine!  Whether you are visiting a local fish shop for the day's catch or dining at one of the many extraordinary restaurants, the Keys offers a southernmost American cuisine rich with sweet Florida lobster tails, briny conch, moist grouper and tart key limes.

After landing at the Key West International Airport, my parents and grandmother whisked me off to one of my favorite Key West restaurants - Louie's Backyard.  The moment you walk into the old Victorian home turned Caribbean-American restaurant you know you are in Key West.  ((The King of Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet, even lived next door in the 1970's.))  I always order the same thing:  conch fritters, fish tacos and a few freshly made mojitos.  
Once back on Sugarloaf Key (about 15 miles away from Key West), we begin planning family meals which, of course, have to include copious amounts of Florida lobster tails.  These cuties can be steamed, broiled, baked or grilled.  I prefer them grilled and buttered basted. 
Can you believe that in my excitement to eat said lobsters I FORGOT to take a picture of the final product?  GASP!!!  My apologies!  I will, however, share with you with a picture of a wonderful lobster dish that we enjoyed at yet another incredible Key West eatery.
Curry butter roasted lobster tail with coconut, fennel, pistachio pistiou, Israeli couscous and cauliflower @ fin
This beautiful plate is the creation of fin Executive Chef Michael Schultz.  Located on Key West's famous Duval Street, this Caribbean small plate concept restaurant is captivating local and visiting palates with dishes like: Foie gras waffles with orange, chestnuts, and cinnamon basil smothered in a spiced rum sauce OR Madagascar jumbo prawns roasted in key lime brown butter with chorizo piperade.  My grandmother and I both had the foie gras waffle and nearly fell out of our seats it was so good! 

A fun fact for any of my Philly readers: before coming to the Keys chef Schultz worked for world-renowned chef George Perrier at the 5-star rated le bec fin in Philadelphia.  Not sure if the name of his current restaurant fin is an homage to his former work place.

Next week I will be sharing with you my G'ma Betsy's Key Lime pie recipe.  Come back and check it out!!  Here is a preview:
Key West in a bite!!!