I always associate the Fourth with watermelon and Ann had been asking me to make lentil burgers for a week or two, so I decided to build a meal around that: lentil burgers, pita, hummus, arugula, tzatziki, and a watermelon salad. I started around 7:30 in the morning with some really easy tasks, mixing up some pita dough, making tzatziki, and knocking out a quick watermelon salad.
About 30 minutes before neighbors Pat and Mary Jo came over, I baked the pita, keeping them warm under a towel, while simultaneously frying the lentil burgers which then went into the oven after I turned it off, to keep warm for dinner.
|Pat and Mary Jo|
|"What can we bring?"|
|Starters: Pita, Hummus, Pomegranate and Prosecco|
For this batch destined for company, I went to the trouble of peeling all the chickpeas, six pounds of them. For regular batches, I don't peel them. The texture is really much better if you peel them, but I'm not working that hard on a daily basis. I am no longer a restaurant chef judged by the slightest nuances in food. I'm now a guy who values time with people more than time in the kitchen.
|Hummus with Olives and a Drizzle of Olive Oil|
|Lentil Burgers; Local Sauvignon Blanc|
I couldn't celebrate the Fourth without watermelon, so I made a really quick watermelon salad with feta cheese, red onions, mint from the back yard, olives, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Thank goodness for the smart plant breeders who came up with the infertile (seedless) triploid hybrid watermelons that are so delicious and easy to work with!
Call it tzatziki, cacik, or tarator, it's pretty much the same yogurt and cucumber condiment all over the Mediterranean. I've made a few thousand pounds of it in my life, always preferring the flavor of red wine vinegar in mine, rather than lemon juice. Herbs vary with my mood, but almost always include oregano, this fresh from my back yard.
|Arugula, Watermelon Salad, Tzatziki|
|Behind the Scenes: Frying Lentil Burgers|
These pita are very similar to the flatbreads and naan that I used to make at the restaurant, but I would typically put some yogurt in the dough for those. I did not for these pita, but it wouldn't have hurt.
|Pita, Still Puffed from the Oven|