Thursday, July 11, 2013

Know What's Cooler than a Cucumber on a Hot Day?

Cucumbers taste cool, to be sure—even when it's hot out. But what's even cooler than a cucumber? No, not a cucumber popsicle. Tzatziki. Greek cucumber-yoghurt salad—or relish. I type this just as I am finishing the tzatziki I made last night—wonderful leftover as well. And it makes my tummy feel refreshed. Light. Happy. Greeks, who know something about hot summer days and about cuisine—having worked on it for thousands of years—deserve our fondest respect for their many great culinary contributions to world cuisine.

If you can't find Greek yogurt, you can make it from plain yogurt--just pour yogurt into cheesecloth and let strain for a few hours. Discard the whey and use the resulting creamier yogurt that remains. Greek yoghurt that is sold in stores is much richer, denser, and less sour than regular yogurt. It lends itself well to both sweet and savory dishes and is a wonderful substitute for sour cream.

Go Greek tonight--serve a tomato, spinach, and feta salad, and this fabulously cooling tzatziki with a nice flatbread. Add lamb sliders, if you can find ground lamb. Opa!

Tzatziki, a la WhatEye8

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pink Himalayan salt to taste (or other salt)
1 long English cucumber, peeled and then chopped into tiny bits or grated

Saute the garlic in the olive oil (this step makes the garlic milder and more subtle). Let cool. Add the cucumber and lemon juice to the yogurt. Stir in the garlic and olive oil mixture. Stir and add salt to taste. Sprinkle with something green, such as chopped oregano, basil, chives, mint leaves, etc.

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