Eating a Rainbow: Greek Salad and Pita Night, a.k.a. the best night of the week

On Barkley’s last eye check – he has a propensity for eye infections and is now, sadly, on drops for life – the veterinarian said that in all her time in veterinary medicine, she has never encountered a dog like him. Now, this has to be taken with a grain of salt as she is a young woman – her name, for example, is Madison, a name that conjures up images of youth – but it turns out that he is the most cooperative dog she has dealt with when it comes to people jabbing his eye with a handheld pressure machine, putting weird little litmus-like papers in his eye, and, of course, giving eye drops.

The reason is that Barkley is literally a Pavlov’s dog. From the first time I gave him eye drops, I would also give him a treat, and now he one hundred percent associates food with eye drops. He is part Labrador, after all, which makes him extremely food-motivated. He licks his lips the second I bring out the drops; he also has an internal clock that is so accurate, he begins to nudge me with his nose at 7:00 am and pm, when he is due for his drops. “Eye drops” is right up there with “walk” for words we cannot say without consequences.

Speaking of walks, I am looking very much forward to the day that it doesn’t take me five minutes to get dressed to go out for twenty-five minutes. Barkley has also associated my legwarmers with walking; from the moment I go to my bedroom to pull on my thickest, woolliest legwarmers, he follows me from room to room, staring at me until I get the leash.

So I’m looking forward to the weekend even more than normal, because – ALLEGEDLY – this extreme cold is going to break and we may even have plus temperatures. PLUS TEMPERATURES. I don’t even want to get my hopes up too high, but PLUS.

I always look forward to the weekend; I do make an effort to enjoy each day, each day is a gift, blah blah blah, but I love the flexibility and family time that the weekends bring. I especially enjoy the food. Fridays are my favourite weeknights because a) they involve wine, and usually lots of it, and b) it’s Greek salad and pita night!

You know those quizzes that say if you could have only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? This would be my meal: Greek salad, pita, and hummus. When I was pregnant with my youngest I ate it every other day. It’s just so good! So full of nutritious vitamins, protein, iron, and deliciousness. Most people associate onion with Greek salad but mine is onion-less, due to my dislike of raw onion. And cooked onion. And any onion that is not disguised by being pureed into a dish. It’s not the flavour I abhor, it’s the texture. And so, I give you my Greek salad and hummus recipe.

Greek Salad and Hummus, The Best Dinner of the Week

Chop up a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers (I like baby cucumbers but will use regular ones in a pinch). How much? Let’s say two peppers, five baby cucumbers (or most of one Long English), and a LOT of cherry tomatoes. I don’t know how to measure them; a couple of cups, maybe? Add black olives – the pitted Kalamata ones from Costco are the bomb – and some feta cheese. If you’re a non-dairy person, you could make some almond feta. For the dressing I use 1/3 cup olive oil, and then almost 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar and 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I like my dressing ZESTY. Add some garlic powder, basil, and oregano in indiscriminate amounts. Just shake it in there until it looks good. Pour over top and toss.

For the hummus I use a big can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, 1/5 of a pound block of tofu (bear with me here, explanation to follow), 1/4 cup each of lemon juice and olive oil, 2-3 cloves of garlic, a heaping tablespoon of tahini, a teaspoon of cumin, and some salt and pepper. I have no idea how much. Then I blend it all in my food processor until it’s nice and smooth. The tofu makes it super creamy. Usually I buy a block of tofu and freeze it in 1/5ths, individually, and thaw when the need for hummus is imminent. Occasionally I’ve pulsed in roasted red peppers or pitted Kalamata olives, but usually I prefer my plain-Jane version.

I warm up those cute little mini “party” pitas in the oven, and the guys get sauteed chicken breast as well, which I prepare while drinking large glasses of Cabernet Franc.

Photos from my old YMC posts, back when I used to stage my food. Let’s drop some feta artistically on the placemat! And allow the peppers to hover around their chopped up friend!

Who needs a filter when you can crop out your forehead? Yes, that glass does say Queen of Everything; my parents gave it to me for my birthday and I love it!

Comments

  1. Today we had some (for us in March) very cold weather, which is about what you’re hoping for as warmer weather, with highs near freezing. But I was thinking about you as I took my half-hour walk today. I was in jeans and my legs were cold and wondering if in a much colder clime you wear long underwear all winter and then if you’re hot once you get inside, but I guess the answer is leg warmers.

    I’ve had to do a little food photography for recipe blog posts for work, and my sister’s exact instruction were:

    Use natural light
    Put the thing on a napkin
    Sprinkle some shit on the napkin that was in the thing

    • nicoleboyhouse says:

      Exactly that! Sprinkle it around! And yes, legwarmers are the key. I also have a coat that goes all the way to the tops of my boots, but when it’s windy I need the extra layer.

  2. bibliomama2 says:

    Tofu hummus? That is so smart! I wish I could get excited about Greek salad. Alas, I don’t like tomatoes or peppers and I loathe and despise olives – I try not to! People look so sophisticated eating them! Sigh. On the other hand, I cannot get enough roasted Brussels sprouts right now. Neither can Lucy. And Lucy gets excited every time I put on a sports bra, because I usually walk her before I work out. And amen on the frigid temperatures. ENOUGH already.

    • nicoleboyhouse says:

      Mmmm roasted Brussels sprouts. I’ve seen the hummus made with plain yogurt – that’s how I got the idea. It just adds some creaminess and you can’t taste the tofu.

  3. I am very skeptical-but-interested in your hummus recipe. Tofu???? A great way to add even more protein, right?

    And I feel about tomatoes the way you feel about onion, so I might sub in some red onion for your cherry tomatoes in that salad. But it sounds LOVELY. And fresh and bright and crunchy. YUM.

    Tell me more about your feta. Is there… a good kind? Do you get it in a big block? Does it have to be… a specific type? I have had good feta and I have had, much more often, NOT good feta. And so I am put off of feta… though willing to reconsider if there are some criteria I should be looking for.

    • nicoleboyhouse says:

      I get my feta at Costco – sometimes I buy it in a block and sometimes it’s “crumbled” but it’s always sheep feta (let’s not think too hard about this). It’s a Greek brand, the name of which I can’t recall, but it’s good. I was nervous buying it the first time because Costco – it’s a huge amount. But we go through it and it’s tasty.

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