Middle Eastern inspired Lemon Grilled Chicken with Dried Fruit CousCous, homemade Pita & Hummus and The Hurt Locker
When The Hurt Locker took home the top Academy Award this past March I had to add it to the list of must-see movies. I’m not a huge fan of war films as I usually end up with my eyes covered (meaning I missed most of Saving Private Ryan) but this movie was different. Instead of putting emphasis of the horrors of war through graphic physical violence it showed you the psychological stress, fear, anticipation, and adrenaline of modern warfare leaving me holding my breath and my heart racing. Just as importantly, I had to see what the film of the first time female Academy Award winner for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow, was all about.
Lemon Grilled Chicken
For 2 people:
1LB boneless skinless chicken breasts
pounded out to 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped Parsley
salt & pepper to taste
*Lemon wedges for garnish
Pound out chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thick and season with salt & pepper, set aside. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and garlic in a bowl then dredge the chicken coating well.
Let the chicken marinate for about an hour in the fridge in the yummy juices while you made the pita, hummus and couscous.
Once ready, put the chicken on the grill, use the left over marinade juices to coat the chicken as it cooks on either side.
1 cups middle eastern couscous
1 cup mixed dried fruits such as dates, currants, and raisins
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of couscous along with the dried fruits. Simmer for 8 minutes until tender yet still al dente, drain.
1 can of chickpeas drained & rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 TBS tahina
1 garlic clove crushed
1TBS olive oil
fresh spring of parsley
*we added mixed olives
Process the chickpeas in a blender or food processor with the lemon juice, tahina, garlic and salt until smooth and creamy.
Serve on a flat plate, garnish with a dribble of olive oil, dusting of paprika and a little parsley.
* we added mixed olives
Homemade Pita Bread
By: The Fresh Loaf
Makes 8 pitas
3 cups flour
1 1/2 TSP salt
1 packet of yeast
1 1/4 cup water
2TBS olive oil
Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water (I had to add an extra 1/4 cup). Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes (or until your hands get tired). When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes. When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.