Friday, March 23, 2018

today's luncheon

Per the threat or promise I had made to my coworkers, I served gyros for our monthly luncheon today. Most of this lunch was not homemade; the only things I made from scratch were the meat and the tzatziki, both of which I can easily do from memory. Otherwise, I pan-fried the naan I had bought earlier in the week, using a mixture of oil, butter, and powdered garlic, gently painted onto one side of each flatbread. Everything else was simply a matter of breaking down: I crumbled the feta, sliced the olives and onions (not for me: I can't stand onions on sandwiches, but I knew there were onion-eaters in the office), chopped the lettuce, and halved the teeny cherry tomatoes that I always buy when I'm feeling lazy about slicing tomatoes. Some pics of the luncheon are below; my apologies for the blurry meat.

Overhead view:

Naan, standing in for pita, but just as tasty:

Blurry meat (sorry):

A shot of my gyro:

The meat got many compliments, as did the tzatziki, for which I was grateful, given that most of my prep efforts went into the meat and the sauce. Personally, I thought the meat had dried a bit too much, but it was still tasty and edible. As I told one coworker, I regretted not being able to serve the meat straight off the pan, still sizzling: the beef-lamb mix was a thing of beauty right at the moment it was lifted from the heat, and the aroma was incredible. I need to make gyros for my personal circle of friends; the Greekwiches are guaranteed to be a hit.

On a technical note: grinding the meat in my tiny, inadequate food processor was a bit of a chore. The goal was to take meat that had already been roughly ground—lamb and beef—and to grind it down to something approaching a smooth paste, similar to the meat used by Greek-American fast-food joints. (Such meat arrives at each restaurant in frozen, rotisserie-friendly "logs" that get placed on the spit, heated until browned on the outside, then sliced and whittled down to nothing throughout the day. The reason the meat looks so solid and homogeneous is that it's a paste when it gets molded into "logs.") I thought I was only partially successful in fine-grinding the meat: after about thirty seconds in my food processor, the meat would tend to gather itself into a ball that got kicked around and around inside the processor, with very little actual grinding happening. I would have to stop the machine, tamp the meat back down so that more of it was level with the blades, then restart the grinding. Somehow, I managed to produce something that, while not quite a paste, ended up being passably smooth and homogeneous when sliced. So... yay, me. Or more precisely: yay, meat.

Oh, yeah: everyone in the office went for seconds. Always a good sign.


Charles said...

Did you apply a Gaussian sharpening filter to the meat before you put it in the food processor? Failure to do so is one of the most common causes of blurry meat.

On a more serious note, have you ever made your own flatbread? It's very easy to get good results, and I find the process quite enjoyable--particularly the actual cooking of the bread in a pan. I have a faux naan recipe that I can share if you're interested ("faux" because it uses yogurt, which is not at all how naan are normally made).

Kevin Kim said...

I would be very interested in seeing that recipe and trying it out. How much of a project do you think it might be to make 20 flatbreads?

(Linguistic note: using "flatbread" as a countable noun doesn't sit well with me, but "a piece of flatbread" isn't quite correct unless you're referring to a literal piece taken from a whole flatbread. Same goes for "a slice of flatbread": it sounds clunky, and a single flatbread isn't the result of slicing. Each flatbread is a whole entity unto itself, so unless you can think of a better way to express the idea of a single, one-person-sized flatbread, I have no choice but to use "flatbread" countably, as much as "a flatbread" sounds awkward to my ears.)

Charles said...

Check your email.

As far as "flatbread" as a countable noun... yeah, I hear you. I can't really think of a better way of putting it. Too bad we can't just use 한 개, right?

Kevin Kim said...

Email—checked! Thanks.