Saturday, August 4, 2012
One thing I enjoyed while in Austin was finally visiting the Phoenicia Bakery and Deli on Lamar Street. It's been there for MANY years, but for some reason, everytime I've been in the area, it's been on a Sunday and they've been closed. I'd always heard they made the best pita bread, so I was excited to get to try some! This small bakery is also a grocery store that has a lot of Middle Eastern specialty items. I'm not familiar with this cuisine at all, so it was an education to look on the shelves at the exotic offerings. I'm the most geographical illiterate there is, so I looked up Phoenicia and found out it was centered in what is now Lebanon. Huh.
So, what to do with my package of pitas? As I said, I don't know a lot about Middle Eastern cuisine, but I have had the Greek pitas, so I decided to try to make something SORT OF like that. SORT OF is key here, because these pitas were a total invention! I used small pork cutlets, which I think right there might be heresy! The traditional yogurt sauce has dill, but I don't have that in the garden, so I used basil. It was a kind of crazy conglomeration of stuff, but, these "Franken-Pitas" were very tasty, and if you're ever in Austin, Phoenicia Bakery pita bread is delicious!
"Franken-Pitas" (makes 2)
2 small pork cutlets
salt and pepper
1 Tbl. olive oil
one tomato, sliced
a few slices of red onion
2 large pita breads
1 very small cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
1 clove garlic, minced very finely
salt and pepper
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
First make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside for the flavors to blend while you cook the cutlets.
Salt and pepper the pork cutlets and coat them with a light dusting of flour. In a non-stick pan, saute them in olive oil. Turn once to brown each side. They cook very quickly; it takes only a few minutes per side, but make sure they are cooked through. Slice each cutlet into two or three strips.
Put the pita bread in a 200F oven, just to warm them. It takes about 3-4 minutes.
Place the strips of pork on one side of the warm pita bread. Add the tomato and red onion and a generous serving of the cucumber sauce. Serve right away!