Monday, September 22, 2008

Simply the best meal ever

Let me just preface this by saying that I don't consider myself the greatest cook. I'm not even one for great experimentation in the kitchen, but I do like to try new recipes every now and then and I'm ALWAYS on the hunt for that "signature" dish that my family will love. You know the kind...the one I will be asked to make again and again (and again). Well, I think I've finally found that signature dish.

I can always count on my blogging pal, Judy, from NoFearEntertaining. I love her site because I am always able to find a yummy, fun recipe to try. She has *never* steered me wrong when it comes to cooking up something tasty.
My latest experiment was no different.

So what was this grand meal I made? I made Souvlaki -for the first time- using THIS amazing recipe courtesy of Judy's friend, Peter. Now, I've never been much of a pork fan, but the taste of this is beyond belief. I found some pork strips (labeled "Pork Shoulder" from Costco) and went from there.

The only changes I made to the recipe noted below is that I used "Mediterranean" oregano instead of "Greek" oregano:

and I marinaded the meat for two days (accidentally):

Jim grilled the skewers on the barbecue and, as you can see, they turned out fantastic:

As chance would have it, Judy had just posted another recipe that I wanted to try, too, and it complemented my main dish perfectly: Tomato,onion and cucumber salad. What made me smile extra big was that all the main ingredients came fresh from my garden!

The dressing is so simple, uses very few ingredients - and I got to use that cool Mediterranean oregano again!:

I added yellow pear tomatoes to this, some lemon cucumber as well as green cucumber, and used green onions instead of red. The result was a very colorful salad:

My mom joined us for this meal and she's been begging me for these recipes ever since, you go, Mom!:

Pork Souvlaki

1 boneless pork butt (shoulder)
1 medium onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 heaping tsp. dried Greek oregano
wooden skewers (soaked overnight)

1) Trim excess fat from your pork shoulder and cut into uniform pieces.
2) In a large bowl, add your marinade ingredients along with the pork pieces and toss to mix and coat all the meat. Place in the fridge for at least 5 hours and for best results, overnight.
3) Place your wooden skewers in a shallow baking dish that's filled with water. Allow the wooden skewers to soak overnight (so they don't disintegrate when grilling).
4) The next day, a couple of hours before you are going to grill your souvlaki, allow the pork to come to room temperature and then start skewering your meat (it's easier when your meat is at room temperature).
5) Pre-heat your gas grill (or prepare your charcoal grill) and when you have a medium-high heat, grill your souvlakia for 3-4 minutes a side and then keep warm until all the souvlaki are cooked.
6) Squeeze fresh lemon juice on your souvlakia with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and dried Greek oregano.
7) Serve with some crusty bread and Tzatziki.

Judy's Tomato, onion and cucumber salad:

It is such a simple recipe:
You need tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Slice and place in a large flat container. A glass 8X8 cake pan works great.

Salad Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white vinegar
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the sliced of tomato, onion and cucumber. Place in fridge for an hour or so before serving. Stirring frequently to make sure the flavors are well blended.

In addition to the Souvlaki and tomato salad, we had some roasted red-pepper hummous, tzatziki made by my mom (yum), and some middle eastern flat bread.

My mouth is watering just from writing to you about this meal. It was that good.


  1. Wow that looks so good. And what a great way to use up our tomatoes and cucumbers and basil from the garden. I can't wait to try this. Yum!

  2. That looks really tasty. I bet the meat was lovely after 48 hours marinating.

  3. Thanks for the fabulous recipes. I can attest to their perfect creation and ravenous consumption. The flat bread was excellent with it, and the tzatziki complemented everything. It was an absolutely perfect meal and evening. Isn't it great to step out into the garden and gather food for your meal? It's one of the big joys of life, I think.
    Some of the super fresh eggs from your girls just wound up in a German dessert: Tante Ekas Moccha Crème. They couldn't be any fresher; I got them right out from under the girls. Please thank them for me again!

  4. Yay...I am so glad it turned out!!! I knew you could do it. Love the salad too!!!

  5. I'm delighted to read and see that the souvlaki was immensely enjoyed.

    Spread the word and tell'em Peter sent ya a taste of Greece!

  6. I would like you to cook this for me. Again and again and again.

  7. What gnightgirl fact, lets set a date for that. Ill go get my calendar....and my garlic press....

  8. Being half Greek, I love your menu! Everything looked really good. I read several food blogs and your dinner looks as good as any I've seen. Makes me hungry!

  9.'s 5 am....I may have to actually eat breakfast this morning!!
    That looks so yummy! Where's the pork!!!

  10. That looks soooo delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I think I will try this also.

  11. Hey Danni, I love Judy's recipes too.
    It looks like yours turned out great.
    I am going to try it too.
    Have a good day.

  12. Dear Farmgirl,
    Don't worry. I won't tell goatgirl's pigs about the pork.

  13. I love, love, love Greek food. I haven't graduated to pork yet (I'm still recovering from 15 years as a vegetarian), but this recipe is enough to make me reconsider. Minimally, it at least makes me want to try it with chicken. Yum.

  14. The pork sounds great!! Everything looks great also. I always think the raw tomato salads looks sooooo good, but I have a serious confession to make. I can't take the texture of raw tomato's, so I never have tried them. My kids will eat raw tomato's though lol!!

  15. Yummy! I gave you an award, have a great day!

  16. hubby will be home Monday and I now have a great meal to have ready for him. Thanks! Thank you also for thinking of my daughter

  17. hello fellow Oregon person!!

    I am you 'pre-farm'. I am stuck in the city and hating every second of it. I tried to figure out (roughly) where you are at by the pics, but alas I cannot.

    I am at work right now, but am emailing myself the link so I can peruse your blog at home in my jammies.


    PS this looks DELISH!!

  18. Close down the farm immediately....move to New York City and become a food vendor so I can eat this meal daily.Thank you Danni. See you tomorrow. LOL

  19. I was introduced to your blog by my friend "goatgirl". I never thought about blogging until I read "goatgirl" and now I'm addicted to visiting her farm via my computer. I love your story and your desire for a quieter life. I became a stay at home mom shortly after our first daughter arrived from Korea. She was followed by a sister and brother also from Korea. I wasn't sure I could be a mom/home maker full time. But it didn't take me long to fall in love not only with my babies, but being a homemaker as well. Some of my favorite things: making homemade bread and smelling the yeast as it rises, warm laundry fresh out of the dryer, picking tomatoes out of my garden and snipping fresh basil to put on our bruschetta. We live in the country near a lake and I begin many mornings with a walk along the water. I will be back to visit your blog and enjoy your stories and pictures. And your recipes. I copied the tomato, cucumber salad one to try tomorrow. It looks yummy!!


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