This weekend I drove up to D-town for a belated Father’s Day visit. I went to the Ranger game with my dad and sister. Sadly they lost, but I hadn’t been to a Ranger game in years so it was still super fun! After a long drive back on Sunday, I was ready to take it easy and grab dinner with with a friend. After an unexpected cool front, and by cool I mean a balmy 92 degrees at 8pm, we grabbed a table outside at Opa!. I’ve been to Opa! before but hadn’t had a chance to write about it!

I decided on the Baked Feta. Technically it’s an appetizer, but I ate it as my meal and I don’t regret one single morsel. So delicious. Only thing I’ll do different next time is get a side of kalamata olives.

The patio is dog-friendly so I’ll probably bring the meems next time. Perfect place to meet a group. They have a good wine and beer selection as well as coffee.

Good colors at the game Saturday night!

Happy Monday!

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms with Strawberry Mango Salad

I have grilled Portabella mushrooms before , but they are so great! Especially as a steak alternative, at least I think so! They are hearty and can withstand the grill, plus you can marinate them the same as steaks for a comparable flavor.

Where I got creative was when I added fresh mango, strawberries, grilled corn, mint and jalapeño. I’d like to take a minute and tell you that fresh mint and jalapeño is one of my current favorite flavor combinations. I’ve never been crazy about fresh mint… but fresh mint with jalapeño? Come to mama.

Isn’t this so colorful? I think dish will be in regular rotation on the grill this season. It’s hearty enough for a meal but packed with fresh ingredients that won’t weigh you down.

For this recipe you’ll need:
4 large Portabella mushrooms- 6-8 inches in diameter
1 mango or 1 1/2 cups chopped
2 stalks or 1 1/2 cups grilled corn
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup minced jalapeño
1/4 cup fresh torn mint
1/4 cup chopped red onion

For Portabella marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce or Teriyaki sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Begin by scooping out the gills and stalk of the mushrooms. A spoon works well.

Wash the mushrooms well, they are quite dirty little things. Cover the portabellas in the marinade and garlic. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes.

While the portabellas are marinating, begin chopping up all the fresh ingredients. Need help dicing that mango? Here’s a quick tutorial.

Peel the husks off the corn and remove any silk fibers.

Place the corn and portabella mushrooms on the grill on medium flame. Grilled for about 15 minutes, rotating everything about halfway through. Keep an eye on everything, as a high flame could scorch the veggies.

After the corn is cool enough to touch, cut the kernels off the stalk and add to the salad. Stir everything well.

Top the Portabella mushrooms with the fresh salad and garnish with feta and a sprig of mint!

We served this up with a glass of merlot and a steak knife for good measure.


Super Simple Greek Gyro

Growing up I loved Oreos. I do not use the word loved lightly either. My madre always kept them in a pink glass jar on the very top shelf in the cabinet. The jar was exactly large enough to hold an entire package of Oreos minus one, because obviously you must eat one while unpacking them. My mother’s attempt to hide my beloved Oreos only turned me into kitchen-climbing-ninja-monkey. I’m a total pro at scaling cabinets, pantries, the dairy case at the grocery store… You name it, my petite stature does not keep me away from my goodies!

Of course, that was until one day I sank about 12 Oreos in a glass of milk and ate myself sick. My sweet, crumbly, chocolatey cookies never quite had the same appeal. Eventually the longing for Oreos went away almost completely. Every now and then I like to enjoy a few crumbled Oreos on my coffee gelato, but that’s about as far as it goes.

It seems that in my life in general I have this same over indulgence issue. I get super excited about a new food or project, but then I burn out fast. I think it’s just my personality, to go all in. Then I wind up bored, restless and ready for the next big thing. As I get older, I find this happening less and less. I still get super excited, but I’m better at gauging my expectations and knowing what will ultimately leave me satisfied time and time again.

And what leaves me satisfied time and time again? Greek food. It’s true. It’s so good, healthy, filling and brings in some unique, fresh flavors. After a week hiatus , I was eager to get back in the kitchen, my happy place. And what better welcome back meal than a semi-homemade gyro.

Best thing about this recipe, it’s quick, healthy and a lot of the ingredients can be bought fresh, but already prepared. This is perfect for those of you wanting to try your hand at a simple weeknight meal.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 1/2 lbs thinly cut beef or lamb
Marinated kalamata olives and feta (in the fine cheese case)
Red onion
1 teaspoon of each: kosher salt, ground mustard, cayenne, coriander
1/4 teaspoon all spice

Whisk dry spices together.

Massage the spices evenly into all sides of the meat.

Heat in a skillet over medium high heat.

Cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Since the meat is thin, it should cook quickly.

At an angle, thinly slice the meat into strips.

Load up the naan with your favorite hummus , then stack on the beef, cucumber, onions, olives and feta.

Now dig into your hearty Greek gyro that took you about 20 minutes start to finish to make!