Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Gyro

It’s the weekend and I’ve got to prepare something for something, and I’ve been thinking about my gyros, and this and that!
by Charlie Leck

What can I tell you? I know my blog is not about cooking or food recipes, but, I’ve just got to…

(And this comment makes me wonder just what my blog is about – oh, well, one critic who likes it calls it “very eclectic”)… Really, I just write about whatever strikes my fancy on a given day.

Call this a blog about Community Supported Agriculture (read on)! Or, perhaps it’s a blog about Tzatziki Sauce and Gyros. Then again, maybe it’s a blog about the salad I’m preparing for tonight… or about the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area… or about my indirect drive through the countryside to Belle Plaine and back. Take your choice!

We’re going to a pot luck dinner for a small group tonight at a friend’s house. It’ll be a nice evening. It always is at her house. She’s incredibly bright and she’s always prepared with good topics of conversation. Sometimes she’ll even play little mind games or word or thinking games.

“Charlie, you bring the salad, will you?” It seemed a fortuitous request at the time. Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery is always on Friday evenings and it includes big bags of nice, fresh mixed greens and spinach leaves. It’s hard not make a good salad when you start that way. But then, our CSA delivery didn’t get here last evening because the driver’s truck broke down.

Here’s a list of CSA establishments in Minnesota presented by our state’s Department of Agriculture!
Here’s a better list of CSA farms in the area presented by the Land Stewardship Project.

“You could go down to the farm and pick up the order,” my wife suggested to me.

Saturday is a golf day and after that I want to get my car washed up for the weekend and I thought I’d sit around and finish The Art of Fielding (which will be another blog) so I can talk about it tonight… well, you know the deal on weekends, don’t you?

“Well,” I said to myself, “let’s make the best of this, Charlie. Get your camera all ready and pick an attractive route.”

I’ll need to make the pick-up down in Belle Plaine. It’s a nice little community right in the Minnesota River Valley. If I pick the best route down there it will be a pretty relaxing time and my dog can ride along to keep me company. It’s a little out of the way, but I can take Highway 25 just west of Watertown and go down as far as Young America. There I’ll pick up County Road 33 and drive through pretty farm country right down to the river. Then I’ll need to back-track east to Belle Plaine, but it’ll be along the Scenic Byway Road that goes north and east to the pick-up spot. I’ll be right at the southern tip of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. I can pop in and find out what that’s all about.

Then, of course, I can hold this blog and post it only after I’ve reviewed the photographs from the trip and chosen a few to show you.

In the meantime, back to my gyros
My wife is off to the farmers market this morning, as she does virtually every Saturday morning (May through October). She likes to have little lamb recipes on the back of her business cards, so I got nice new ones all printed up for her yesterday and I came across this recipe for a Tzatziki Sauce that is so simply delicious and simple to prepare that I thought I ought to share it with you. Here’s how it’s all detailed on the business card.

Gyros: Grilled Leg of Lamb Gyros
Prepare a leg of lamb using the Sheepy Hollow leg of lamb recipe.
Thinly slice the lamb and place slices in the center of the pita bread.
Top with Tzatziki Sauce (below) and chopped tomatoes and serve.

Tzatziki Sauce
Mix Together…
medium cucumber, peeled and seeded and finely chopped
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
½ Tspn olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp minced garlic

As for my salad for tonight…
I’ll add some small cherry tomatoes to the mixed greens and spinach leaves and put in a few leaves from a Boston Lettuce. I’ll also add some very thinly sliced radishes, some chopped green onion and then sprinkle the top with some crumbled blue cheese and mixed sprouts. I’ll have a dressing on the side (a wonderful Tuscan Vinaigrette that I get at Whole Foods). I know, I know – I should make my own dressing, but I just can’t get close to this particular dressing that I like so much.

Enjoy the photos from my trip earlier today…

    My favorite little spot to have coffee in Watertown,
    just 6 miles or so west of home.

    Coming into the town of Young America on the edge of
    the metro area. From here on south its rural farmland.

    Fallen Soldiers
    This is a cemetery in Young America. I was passing quickly
    by and the sight of this stopped me. I paused and gave
    thoughts of thanks to the soldiers who died for their country.

    And we're talking some of the finest and most productive
    farmland in America here.

    The town of Assumption amounted to a church,
    a cemetery and a little curiosity shop.

    The Minnesota River isn't one of the prettiest rivers in
    the world, but it was very important in Minnesota's
    history both before the white man came and after
    white settlers started moving west of the Mississippi.

    Down in the Minnesota River Valley one can spot these
    very unusual buildings on the grounds where the popular
    Renaissance Festival is held each year. The festival is
    owned and operated by a good friend who sends tickets
    along to us each year.

By the way, if you’re not into Community Supported Agriculture, you ought to be. It’s really great and you can tailor your order to a single person or a large household. I’m nuts about it. Last year we gave a large subscription to a CSA to a refuge for abused women in St. Paul and it worked out great for them – a constant flow of whatever was fresh at the time. If you’ve got a few extra bucks think about doing something like that.

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