Day #1: Greek Feast

To kick off my cooking challenge, I decided to keep it simple and try greek chicken souvlaki recipe, a greek potatoes recipe and pair them with a greek salad.

Greek potatoes with lemon vinaigrette, greek souvlaki, and greek salad. Opa!
Greek potatoes with lemon vinaigrette, greek souvlaki, and greek salad. Opa!

Greek Chicken Souvlaki

I chose this recipe because it offers a simple way to practice marinades and marinades are a great basic to know when cooking proteins. Marinades are a fabulous way to add flavour simply by allowing the food to soak in the marinade for some time before cooking. Marinades tend to contain an acidic ingredient, an oil, and spices.

Recipe 

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions can be found at The Black Peppercorn. Recipe adapted from Steve Cylka

What I learnt 

I made a few marinating mistakes as I tried this recipe that you can hopefully avoid.

Do not overload the chicken with marinade. I decided to halve the amount of chicken without reducing the recipe for the marinade. As a result there was a lot of liquid in the plastic bag. Have you ever heard the saying “they mix like oil and vinegar” to describe people that do not go well together? Well that’s because oil and vinegar literally do not mix together! Because there was so much liquid in the bag, the vinegar floated to the bottom of the bag and the olive oil floated to the top resulting in majority of the chicken marinating in vinegar and some of it marinating in olive oil. For a period of two days! Which leads me to my next piece of advice…

Do not marinate for too long. I let the chicken marinate for two days in the fridge because I assumed that the longer it sat, the better and more flavoured the chicken would be. WRONG. According to Jessica Howard from Startcooking.com, acidic marinades can actually toughen poultry over time. While she states that poultry can marinate for up to two days, most food sites recommended marinating for a few hours or overnight. My take: when in doubt follow your recipe instructions!

For more marinating Do’s and Don’ts, I recommend checking out Marinating 101: An Introduction to Marinating Beef, Chicken and Fish.

 Greek Potatoes with Lemon Vinaigrette

When I chose this recipe, I was looking for something that was quick and easy. What I wanted was the greek potatoes made in restaurants. However, upon reading the title of this recipe I should have anticipated that they would turn out differently from my expectations.

Recipe 

1/12 cups of olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large shallot (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper
3 pounds large potatoes, washed, and cut into 6 wedges
1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions can be found at The Food Network. Adapted from Bobby Flay.

What I learnt

Given that the recipe called for me to drizzle the vinaigrette over the potatoes multiple times, I should have known they would be moist. They were. There was a lot of olive oil. Everywhere. The result was disappointing – although it may have been partially due to my cooking skills.

Edible?

The meal looked pretty. However, it whats on the inside that matters and it was not very pleasing. Ah well, here’s to a better tomorrow!

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