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Monday, August 24, 2015

Gyro Bar for Friends!

My friend Hannah, and I prepared a Gyro bar for our husbands' work friends! Fun night!

My history with Gyros started a long time ago....Circa 1990-something. Ha!  In a movie that was popular when I was a child, Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith are walking down the street eating them.  They are talking about a business deal or something and he gets Tzatziki sauce on his face, and she tells him to wipe it off.  Gyros can be messy!  That scene still sticks out in my mind...
I think that was the first time I ever noticed the existence of the gyro.  
I remember my dad getting them from some restaurant.  I thought they were gross back then. Ha!  I didn't really like food as a kid.  Oh how things can change!  After that, I didn't think about them much for the rest of my childhood and so on.  My husband and I moved to Jackson, MS right after we got married.  There, we both became Gyro-lovers because of a little restaurant called Keifer's.  If you don't know, it's a Jackson staple!  Situated in the Belhaven District, it serves up Mediterranean style dishes...the most popular one being the Gyro!
An old old picture, taken by my friend, Natalie.  I was so young. Sigh.

These days, there are not many foods I enjoy more than a lovely gyro!  Also, I have found that when you're having several guests over, a Gyro Bar is easy and fun!

Our Gyro Bar consisted of:
Red Onion
Tzatziki Sauce
Warmed Pita Bread
Kalamata Olives
Sauteed Fennel
Artichoke Pesto
Aussie Salsa Verde

Preparation (much more fun with a friend) included simply chopping all the veggies, mixing the sauce and dips, preparing the meats and sautéing the Fennel in a pan.  
Gyro meat is usually lamb and sometimes chicken, cooked very slowly on a rotisserie.  I don't own a rotisserie cooker.  I do try to stick with the theme of slow cooking though, because Gyro meat should be tender.  I usually do chicken tenders in a crock pot with seasonings (lemon juice, garlic, oregano, shallots) for several hours.  Fish takes almost no time at all and is tender just after cooking.  So I just throw it in the oven on 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, with a few seasonings.
I also put the pita bread in the oven wrapped in foil and brushed with olive oil.  Do that part right before eating time.

Tzatziki Sauce
I always throw this together in the food processor and I probably make it a little differently every time.  So I do not have an exact recipe.
About a cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 a peeled Cucumber
1 to 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
handful Fresh Mint Leaves
handful Fresh Dill
Salt and Pepper
Sometimes I even add Feta Cheese (because Feta is awesome!)
-Blend in the food processor until smooth.

Artichoke Pesto
This is a recipe I made up and is in a previous blog.  
Click here for the recipe:  The post with the Artichoke Pesto Recipe
This time, I added in a couple tablespoons of the Tzatziki Sauce.  Yum!

Aussie Salsa Verde
My next door neighbor is from Australia.  I've referred to him before, as the Awesome Aussie. :)  At some point, I will do a full blog post about Australian recipes.  His wife let me borrow some Donna Hay magazines.  She is the Aussie version of Martha Stewart.  This recipe sounded crazy as I was doing it, but the result turned out fabulous!  It works great as a dip or a sauce.
I just took a picture of the magazine page. Ha!  Thanks, Donna Hay!

So the next time you are entertaining multiple guests, I fully recommend this idea.  There is so much you can do with it.  You don't have to do it just like we did.  I serve up different ingredients every time!  If you have any great ideas, please comment below and let me know!  I'm always looking for more inspiration!  Thanks for reading and Happy Gyro Night!!