20 August 2009

Tzatziki. Greek for dip.

Summer is the best season in my opinion. I don't mind the heat - on the contrary, I love it - and I enjoy sitting on the balcony in the evenings, feeling a light breeze and waiting for the thunderstorm to break loose. Yesterday we had one of those evenings, and we decided on a light dinner with some pita bread, olives, hummus (recipe coming soon), feta and some taramasalata for my husband (I don't eat anything that comes from the sea, except tuna).

Then I discovered a package of yogurt and about a third of a cucumber in my fridge - that really screamed out for a tsatziki. So don't worry if the pictures don't match the descriptions: I made about a third of the amount mentioned below and that's just enough for two hungry ones.

By the way, the thunderstorm came much later that night, so we had a nice and calm dinner on the balcony. And it seemed especially calm to us since the workers finished putting a new layer of tarmac on the 6-lane street we live at.


1 cucumber
3 packages / 600g / 3 cups Greek-style yogurt (10% fat)
(OR 1 package / 200 g / 1 cup regular yogurt, crème fraîche and cream cheese each)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh parsley, chopped

You can skip this step, but the dip will not be as velvety and creamy as I like it to be. Place the yogurt on a cheesecloth (I only had a regular dish towel, works good but not spectacular) in a colander and let it sit there for a couple of hours.

Of curse you should cover the yogurt with the cloth corners, especially if you have cats that loooove high-fat dairy products...

Peel the cucumber and grate it coarsely. I like to quarter them lengthwise and cut out the seed section, because there's much water in it and I want to get rid of it. To help eliminate the excessive moisture in the grated cucumber, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let it sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze out all the water, I like to use my hands but feel free to use a cheesecloth.

Put the yogurt (or yogurt, crème fraîche and cream cheese) into a bowl and give it a couple of stirs until you have a smooth texture with no lumps left. Stir in the drained cucumber, press in the garlic and season with salt, pepper, olive oil and freshly chopped parsley.

Do not do as I did in the photo above, chances are you'll have lumps or the yogurt/cucumber ratio is not right.

Give it a taste. Add perhaps a little bit of lemon juice if you don't know what's missing. Yeah, dried herbs will do too, but fresh are much better.

Eat it with grilled chicken, bread, vegetable sticks, crackers or even on your classic hamburger.


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