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Friday, August 5, 2016

Success!

Hello everyone!

I reached a very important milestone yesterday on my journey to becoming a good cook. For the first time, I successfully baked a pita in my bbq! I made a meat pita because thanks to that damned power outage on Monday, the fillo dough and half-pack of ground beef were thawed out and needed to be eaten.

Mekike


I'd spent the morning making mekike, a kind of Serbian fried bread snack similar to a doughnut, using a Serbian-language recipe I borrowed from my favorite Serbian-language Youtube cook, Jelajelena Petrovic. However, I knew that for the pita, I was gonna have to cook it outside because I didn't feel like heating up the kitchen a second time to brown the meat. It took quite a bit longer to brown the meat on the grill than it would on the stove. I think it was my coals because this was the second time I was using them. I normally reuse coals when I barbecue because it stretches the supply of charcoal that I have, and out of a batch, I can usually get two or three grill sessions out of it before they're too spent to be used.

Though it was much better this time around than the last pita I tried baking on the bbq, there were a few minor mishaps with this pita. The first mishap was that I'd forgotten to add a spot of oil to my cast iron pan to fry the onions and garlic before adding the meat. I normally wouldn't forget this, but having one arm full of baby and the other holding my cast iron frying pan filled with meat, garlic, onion, and spices, it completely slipped my mind. Good thing the ground beef I was using was 80/20, so it wasn't too lean and there would be fat runoff from the cooking process.

The second mishap was that I ran out of fillo sheets! I thought I'd have enough, but as it turned out, I didn't. My husband then informed me after I mentioned this that the half-pack of ground beef I'd cooked was two pounds, not one like I thought it was. Now, I know for sure that it's one pound of meat per one roll of fillo dough. My husband didn't mind it, though. He's not crazy about breading.

Finally, the third mishap had to do with the coals. Aside from the low heat level coming off of them when I was browning the meat, they actually went out during the baking process! When I went outside about 20 minutes after setting the pita to bake in the barbecue, I saw that the coals had gone out and so I had to take everything off the grill and light a fresh batch. Once this task was completed and everything was put back on the grill to bake, I'd intended to come back out 20 minutes later to check on the pita.

Except, I fell asleep.

I was feeling tired and thought I'd close my eyes for a few minutes to recharge, and wound up dozing off for an hour or so. When I woke back up and realized how long I'd been asleep, I suddenly remembered that I still had that pita on the bbq! I thought for sure it was gonna be an inedible hunk of charcoal, but to my great relief, I saw the nice golden crust of pita when I took the lid off the grill to have a look.

Taken the next day. Yes, I had to eat some of it. I couldn't resist my creation


While there was a bit of charcoal smoke flavor in the top layers of the pita, the dish actually tasted pretty well. The simple spices of paprika, salt, and pepper all blended nicely with the flavor of the fillo dough. It actually didn't come out that greasy either, despite my accidentally pouring glops of oil on the fillo and the bottom wasn't terribly burned either. It was nice and crispy on the outside while tender on the inside, like a good pita should be.

My meat pita from the inside. I ran out of fillo dough and basically did a giant meat dump on the last layer before covering it. It still tasted good, though.


Despite the few mishaps, I was so happy that my pita came out so well. Now, I can try baking something else. My family and I went to the swap meet tonight and I bought a small square casserole baking dish that was sorely needed (I was hoping to find a 9x13 baking dish, but no one had it. I did notice an awful lot of small crockpots, though). I think maybe I'll make lasagna next. My husband would like that, though I'm not sure how to get past the cheese hurdle(I don't like ricotta cheese and he can't eat melted cheese). Time to do a little research on this...

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