THE OFF SEASON: a whole lot of lemons

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I have always liked lemons, but I never really “noticed” lemons until I spent a week in Greece.  It’s been 8 years since my visit to the birthplace of Western Civilization.  Along with a friend, we spent a day in Athens and the rest of the week on the island of Corfu. The trip was the teeniest of samples that left me hungry for more Grecian adventures.

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Corfu took my breath away.  The scenery and landscapes looked just like the pictures you see in calendars or in scenes from the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants movie.  I distinctly remember the blues of the ocean, the pinks of the sunset, the foam on an ice cold frappé sipped on the beach, and the smell of lemons.  Lemons were everywhere.  Lemon trees lined the gravel roads, fallen lemons littered the grass, lemon wedges garnished the foods, and the scent of freshly squeezed lemon juice lingered on my laundry.  Then and there, I took note of lemons.

greece_02Wanting a reminder of Greece, I decided to google and cook up something summery + lemony.

L E M O N  C H I C K E N  S K E W E R S
recipe adapted from foodiecrush

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2 boneless + skinless chicken breasts
3 lemons
4 cloves of garlic | minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp of dried oregano
grape or cherry tomatoes
red onion
bell pepper

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cut chicken breasts into 1″ chunks then set aside
zest 1 lemon
juice all but 1/4 of 1 of the 3 lemons
combine zest + lemon juice + oregano + salt +pepper + garlic into a bowl
slowly whisk in the olive oil to complete your marinade
combine chicken + marinade in a freezer bag
marinate in the fridge for 30mins to 3hrs.

lemons_13I used bamboo skewers and started by soaking them in water for about 30mins.  My mom has always done this so I follow suit.  It think she said its to help avoid the sticks from splintering…??…

lemons_14prepare your veggies | cut bell pepper + red onion into roughly 1″ skewer-able squares

I start by skewering the bell pepper first [my logic is that it’s the sturdiest of all items going on that skewer therefore making for a sturdy skewer foundation. LOL]

skewer the veggies + chicken in whatever you order like

lemons_15grill completed skewers evenly on both sides for about 10-15mins until the chicken’s juices run clear
finish by squeezing that 1/4 lemon over top the skewers

lemons_17Enjoy and serve as is, with your fave sides or amp it up by serving it with the quintessential grecian sauce of choice; tzatziki.

*continue reading for the recipe*

lemons_18For this recipe you will need 1 more lemon!

lemons_11[ recipe by Chuck Hughes from Chuck’s Day Off via foodnetwork.ca ]

This was my first time making tzatziki sauce and I didn’t realize how simple the recipe was.  The sauce was so delicious and easy to make that I had to share it.

T Z A T Z I K I  S A U C E

1 English cucumber | seeded and diced [I didn’t bother seeding mine and it turned out fine]
1/2 Vidalia onion | diced [I didn’t have this specific onion on hand so I used a white onion]
3 cloves of garlic | minced
2 cups low fat Greek yogurt | 500mL
1 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup of dill | chopped
1/2 cup of chive | chopped
salt
pepper

lemons_10 set up a colander/sieve over a bowl
toss the chopped cucumber + onions with 1tsp of salt
place the cucumbers in the colander/sieve set + let drain for @ least 1hr in room temp
with the flat side of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic with 1/2 tsp of salt to make a paste
combine yogurt + garlic paste + olive oil + lemon jucie + dill + chive | season with salt + pepper
pat the cucumber dry with paper towels | add to yogurt mix
keep refrigerated until ready to use

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I posed the idea of a trip to Greece in 2016 to Mike.  He wasn’t with me when I went and seeing as I’ve only been to 1 of the 160+ Greek islands; all signs point to YES let’s go to Greece.  I’m determined to make it back to the Mediterranean.  In the meantime, these 2 recipes are my offerings toward major Grecian vibes until Mike gives me a definitive YES!.

-αντίο

madelaine

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