Inspired by Mr. Fitz, trying something new

I don’t quite remember when I stumbled onto Mr. Fitz’s blog, but I so enjoy reading his posts about sausages, dining out across the pond, and his kebab gyros. Since following Mr. Fitz, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making some gyro myself, but it’s hard to find lamb out here in the boonies, I was happy to read his post yesterday using beef and pork. It gave me hope that maybe I could try it out with what I had on hand, which was beef and venison.

May had set to thaw some deer steaks for Wednesday and after showing her Mr. Fitz’s post, I managed to talk her out of a few while also getting her in the kitchen with me. It’s spring break this week and I really didn’t want her to spend the entire time watching MTV.

Mr. Fitz has his own secret blend of spices, so that was the tough part. Since we’ve never before made gyro kebab, it was google to the rescue. We googled Lebanese spices, then Mediterranean spices, and checked the spice cabinet for what we had on hand. Because my mom gave me all her spices when she last moved, we ended up finding a lot of spices we could use and some like curry (we’ve never tried) to use at a later date.

The spices we used were:

  • garlic
  • minced onion
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • thyme
  • pepper
  • salt
  • cinnamon
  • coriander
  • parsley
  • cardamom

One tablespoon of garlic and a teaspoon of the others. The smell of the blended spices made our noses tingle. While I put a bit of each kind of meat in the processor, May added a spoon of the spices. We pulsed until it was kinda like “potted meat”. It took several “rounds” since we only had the mini processor, but we giggled and planned our day as we went.

Once all the meat was mixed and squished, we realized that we no longer have a loaf pan. We went with “What’s the worse that could happen?” and simply shaped our meat into a loaf.Β We also thought about that nice sauce they have at the gyro place in town, tzatziki, and once again used google.

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Yeah, it’s raw, but it smelled so good. We put it in the fridge to let the spices mingle and hit the store to find ingredients for our sauce.

A little later in the year, we could have picked mint from the flower garden, but not yesterday. Luckily google netted us some recipes without mint, using dill, and well, we found a jar of dill weed in the pantry.

If you live in a small country town like we do, you may be able to relate to having to go heavy on the “subbing” when it comes to ingredients. Yeah, we could have made the hour and a half round trip to a larger store in Nashville, but the sun was starting to shine and we had a “21 bow salute” for Allison lined up. (What? You’re not a Teen Wolf fan?)

We were pretty lucky to even find Greek yogurt at the market, the only problem was there were 2 choices, blended with fruit or fruit on the bottom. Once again “What’s the worst that could happen?” had us pick the fruit on the bottom. Kathy, the nice lady at the store arranged the bag so that our fruit would stay on the bottom. She couldn’t make English cucumbers magically appear in the produce section, so we went with a plain ole cuke, besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

When we got home, we scooped out the yogurt and May ate the fruit. I halved and hollowed out the cuke, zipped it in the chopper and gave May the tea towel to squish out the juice. We placed the yogurt, cuke bits, dill weed, lemon juice, and some sour cream in the chopper and blended it up. We tasted it and while it didn’t taste exactly like the gyro place, it wasn’t that bad either.

Once we finished making the sauce, it was time to gather eggs. We didn’t really need anymore eggs, but the chickens keep blessing us each day anyways.

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Plenty of eggs from Monday and Tuesday, so we made omelets for breakfast. On Wednesday, we only gathered 9, we gave Biscuit an egg for being such a good goofy watch dog, and went back to the kitchen.

The oven was set at 350Β°, we put the meat in, and hit the driveway for a nice game of basketball, silly girl style. She’s a show off like her dad, so she won, but I ended up having to give her a ticket when she got bored of playing. She in turn gave me a ticket for being “too needy on basketball” when I tried to talk her into another round. With a little time left, we grabbed the long bow and proceeded to honor our hero, Allison.

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My dear sweet Gannicus. One of May’s arrows skidded and pert near killed the old guy. He’s pushing 6 years old, but he’s still spry enough to jump out of the way. Oh look we missed an egg!

By the time we got back in the house, it smelled heavenly. We pulled out kebab gyro out of the oven to cool, taste buds all tingly. “How ’bout we go shoot some hoops?” I asked “How ’bout we “Just Dance”” she replied, so we compromised. Four dances and another round of silly girl basketball.

Maybe we lost track of time, my back pocket buzzed and it was Sir Hotsalot on his way home. The gyro wasn’t quite cooled enough, but the fryer was ready for his fries. We deemed it dinner time anyways and well, my slicing skills left a lot to be desired.

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I’m thinking maybe a slicer for Mother’s Day, and next time we’re chilling our gyro properly.

Hot Stuff had his on a sandwich, May and I had ours on a salad.

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Guess what? No Feta at the market, no problem, we had mozzarella in the fridge.

So, it wasn’t the same as the gyro place in town, but it was tasty, and really, it was our first try. We’ve decided to try it again soon, only next time, we’re getting an earlier start, so that we can chill it properly before slicing.

We learned a few things while trying something new. 1. the worst didn’t happen. 2. substitutions are great, but we’re going to have plain Greek yogurt for next time. 3. we really enjoyed trying something new and are looking forward to the next time! 4. the spice mix we had left over made for some tasty grilled venison steaks!!

Thank you Mr. Fitz for allowing us a look into your kitchen and inspiring us.

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16 thoughts on “Inspired by Mr. Fitz, trying something new

  1. Pingback: Gyro Jerky is amazing… | mydiabetesandme

    • Yes, Mr. Fitz’s slices are beautiful, looks just like what we get when we go out for gyro salads. Mine tore because it was still a little warm when I sliced it. Also his instructions call for cooking it in a loaf pan, pressing out all the air pockets, cooking for a while in the pan, then for a while out of the pan. Our loaf pan has disappeared, so we ended up doing it free-style, shaping it into a loaf, so it didn’t really hold together as well as it would have. We are going to do it again, only next time I’m going to make sure I have a loaf pan and start earlier so it has time to cool properly.

      With some more practice of technique, Michael won’t even know it’s homemade.

  2. Am really pleased that not only do you enjoy reading my posts .. Yet also that you gave this a go.. And you ain’t too far off with the spices either!! Like the idea of venison.. Wondering how the fat content works? Maybe add some pork back fat also next time. And I think you really do deserve a bacon slicer for Mother’s Day .. Ahem

    • There was not much fat at all. The ground beef was fatty, 73/27 and it was like the venison soaked up what would normally be “poured off”. Thank you for the tip about adding some pork fat, I will do that next time. You sir have created a monster wanting to try all kinds of new things πŸ™‚ If I get that bacon slicer come Mother’s Day, I’m going to try requesting some equipment for making sausages for my birthday. Thank you for not only inspiring us to get in the kitchen more, but for the great time I had with my normally glued to the tv teenager yesterday.

        • This batch was good, next batch will be in a loaf pan, cooled before slicing, and even better πŸ™‚ The taste was so good, that we’re gonna keep making it until we get the technique right, and the pretty slices.

  3. For a Greek yogurt substitute, basically make yogurt cheese. Take plain yogurt, put it in a colander lined with anything that will keep it in there (cheesecloth or paper towels or coffee filters) over a bowl, and let it drain in the fridge overnight. Bingo! If it’s too dry, just mix some of the whey back in. I love gyros and I bet the venison added a wonderful flavor to the mix! Another thing that may make a difference is the grinding. It’s very, very fine. Hold on: This is the closest to what I had in England. Try this recipe for the cucumber sauce: http://turkishfood.about.com/od/CheeseYogurtDairy/r/Turkish-Yogurt-With-Cucumbers-And-Herbs-Is-Called-cacik.htm

    • In such a small town, it’s hard to find many “normal” ingredients, so every sub tip is a big help in our kitchen πŸ™‚ It was really good on the salad. The sauce had a “hint” of the peaches. On the bright side, they did have plain regular yogurt and I’m gonna try it next time. I couldn’t even taste the venison and that’s a first for me. (this is the first year I’ve not done “beef jerky” for myself, I used to be so scared of the “wild”)

  4. Lots of spices, love it! Before, I used to cook with store-bought seasonings, all different kinds. Cubed, granules, liquid, and bottled. But after learning how to keep an eye on my food intake, I found out that most of what I used are full of MSG. not healthy! Now, I used salt, pepper and lots of herbs and spices!

    • That was so me! My husband thinks I’m a bit loopy, reading ingredients, but when I saw that they put MSG and wheat flour in things like taco seasoning, I had to start making my own. Yesterday was the first I’d ever used coriander (aside from cilantro) or cardamom, and it showed me that I need to branch out the spice rack.

      I also wanted to thank you for listing my blog in your 13 this morning. I already had this post planned out for this morning, but will be doing the Versatile Blogger post tomorrow. It was a joy to read so many “new to me” blogs this morning πŸ™‚

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