I will never forget my first Gyro experience. I was working at an engineering firm. One of the engineers who was the only female on our team and I would go to lunch at least once a week. She was a foodie. Today, I blame her for 50% of my food addiction. She is the one who introduced me to a lot of different foods. Well, my husband started the addiction. Until I met him, the fanciest place I had ate was Chili’s. Well, maybe I wasn’t that bad but believe me, Mexican food was the most out of the ordinary I ever got. I do blame her 100% for my addiction to Indian food no doubt. She had no idea what she was starting 🙂 I miss not working with her anymore. Of course, my husband is extremely exciting. He doesn’t get “surprises” every month on the CC bill.
My first place for the gyro she took me was Niko Nikos in Houston. It was a little place in Montrose area. I was really excited because I knew Guy from Dives, Diners, and Drives had featured this place on his show. There was a line of course. Lots of trendy people. They all ranged from office people to girls just chilling having wine and enjoying the pretty day on the patio. Excuse me while I mentally sneak 5,000 calories into their Gyro while they’re not looking because I am totally jealous of these women being able to chill out and enjoy the day while I am at work stuck in the office!
Okay, I am back! Ha! At this point in my foodie career, I am still a “safe” eater. I order a gyro and a Greek salad. My friend Jen ordered a few desserts while pronouncing every name correctly I am assuming. She knew all the desserts without even looking at the tags. I was totally out of my norm. Here I am, a total country girl in the middle of Montrose surrounded by all these Gucci purses and people who drive Mercedes. Yes, I was totally out of my element in my latest clearance rack special from Ross!
It was a stand in line joint. You order and then pray you can find a table from what I remember. Maybe you ordered and they gave you a number. When your number is called, you go get your stuff. Yea, I think that is it. I am almost sure now that I think about it.
Now for the food………….. It was awesome! They gyro was huge! The Greek salad was good also. However, it is hard to mess up a Greek salad in my opinion. I rarely order salads at restaurants. I don’t believe in paying $8.00 for a $.50 worth of lettuce! But, this came as a combo so I figured what the heck. Besides, if the Gyro wasn’t for me I wouldn’t starve to death. It was all great though! I took half of the gyro home along with half the salad. That is how I justified eating out to my family. “Well at least I bring home half so you can try it too”. Yea, it didn’t work but I tried.
Since then, I have try gyros from a couple of other restaurants around the area. I also tried Yia Yia in Downtown Houston. In all honesty, to me that gyro blended in together and wasn’t as messy. However, the reason why it was easier to eat is because it was quite a bit smaller. I have also tried this little Greek place in Pearland. I forgot the name of it but it was a Maw and Paw place. My daughter, Avery, has grown to love Gyros as well so this is a quick fix for us if I don’t feel like cooking during the week. Or, if you’re like me and love Restaurant.com, they use to have coupons available. I was fine with this place until recently, a few months ago found out that the owners really aren’t Greek and everything is frozen. I was very upset about this so I decided if I want a Gyro from now on, I would either have to learn to make them myself. I mean, if she isn’t Greek and she can do it, then I can too right! Or, I would have to venture out and actually dress cute on a weekend and drive to Montrose.
This past Sunday, we went to a Phonesian grocery store in HOuston. If you haven’t been it is an experience. They have a lot of pre-made mediterraneon food. They have homemade pita bread coming down from conveyers in the deli. I try to stay away from processed foods but I saw frozen Gyro meat so decided to buy it. In the meat department, I bought ground lamb. I am a sucker for buying meats that I have no idea what to do with. On the way home, I got on Pinterest and googled ground lamb recipes. Beef Gyros kept coming up. So, I figured what the hell. Lets try it out. Here is the recipe I decided to attempt.
At this point it is still a work in process. This is not a meal you get home from work and make while running your normal family duties. This a.m., I woke up and put all the spices in a bowl with all the meat. I was in a hurry and she is pretty abdoment about making sure the onions are drained, etc. so I used onion powder. Hey, it is 6:00 a.m. in the morning. Since I woke up, I have made veggie soup, prepped a prime rib, and am in the first stages of making homemade gyros give me a break! Here is my pic of stage 1 of the recipe above.
While I was slaving all day at work, my meat was soaking like the picture above. Once I got home, I remembered I had missed an essential step……………. I didn’t put the meat through the food processor. So, I did that then put it back in the loaf pan. Then I put it in the oven to bake just like the directions said.
Now, this is where the very high tech stuff comes in. In her blog, she said to use bricks and wrap with aluminum foil. Well, my husband wasn’t home at the time. I knew where there were some left over bricks at. They were in the far corner in the back of the garage. Yes, the garage that I attempted to clean three weeks ago! The garage that had the biggest tree roaches ever known to man kind and made me scream like a girl!! The garage where I saw mouse droppings! I was not about to stick my hand in a dark corner piled of old bricks. So, I decided on this ingenious plan:
Once the meatloaf was done, it looked like this. Yes, I know……… I started to lose hope. It was not appetizing at all. But, we have gone this far. No quitting allowed!!!
Next, I put my ingenious plan to work! It took a little situating but they eventually both fit just fine. I am really proud of my awesome plan. And, to top it off, it is SHINY! Bling Bling!
I left my loaf and my weights in the fridge overnight and drank wine. Oh wait! No I didn’t! I started on the supper I was actually going to cook that night…………… my first prime rib!. My husband was working late so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t ready before he came home. I mean, who wants re-heated prime rib? Gross! BTW, my prime rib adventure is my next blog. But yes, I still did drink Wine. Don’t worry. I was a good girl… it was a week night so we only had two bottles. (Honestly, I have no idea why I can’t lose weight). Knowing we were going to have prime rib, my husband brought home a bottle of cabernet. I had asked him to stop on the way home and get horse radish praying he would also pass by the wine section. If I ask him to stop for wine, he will take it out of my budget. But, if it is his idea then it comes out of his budget. Part of my evil plan…………….
Wednesday am, I woke up and with great excitement made my lunch for the day…………. Yay! My Gyros were ready! I would soon see the fruits of my loin! I sliced me up four pieces. Now, it says like 1/8 ” of an inch I think. Well, all my knives suck so I did the thinnest I could. I still at this point had no clue what Ghee was. Nor, did I want to look at this point because it may call for another 24 hour step (which I did soon find out it did). So, I just fried the pieces up in butter. I packed it all up in separate zip loc bags and came to work.
Oh yea… I totally cheated on the sauce. I usually don’t do that but we were at a phonesian grocery store the day prior so I bought it fresh there. I mean, that is as close as we are going to get to homemade right!
(Yes, that is my shadow with my fancy IPhone camera )
Here is the ending result! It was really good. However, I don’t think it tasted like the gyros I have had before. I will definitely keep this though. I actually ended up freezing half the loaf for future use. I am going to try Michael Symons version next. I am thinking since he is really greek he may have a more authentic recipe. Meanwhile I will keep this on the back burner.
When I made them for my husband that evening, I had read the recipe for Ghee. Well, yes it is butter but not regular butter. So, when I reheated the meat for dinner, I used olive oil instead. Also, the meat didn’t have much flavor to me at lunch so I put some Wildtree Greak Seasoning in with the olive oil and heated the strips of meat in that. The flavor was MUCH better that evening!