I hope every one is having a relaxing Sunday because I sure am. Sunday’s are always lazy days for me…a day where I look back on what I have accomplished during the week, and then thank the Lord that he has given me another day of life. I have started reading a book entitled Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (by the way they are about to make a movie about it). I love the books message, it is about a woman who is recently divorced and is trying to find herself. So, she jets off on a year long tour to three different countries abroad, Italy, India, and Indonesia. I just finished the first section of the book where Elizabeth is in Italy. Needless to say, I loved it…Elizabeth’s writing makes me feel like hopping a jet to Italy, meeting a sweet, loving Italian man, and completely devouring Italy’s culture, one gelato shop at a time. Most of all, the way that Elizabeth describes her encounters with the various Mediterranean dishes of Italy is absolutely breathtaking…from the ricotta to the pizza…every taste is simply succulent (you can tell because Elizabeth gains 23 pounds while she is there, ha ha). So, the book has got me thinking a lot about Mediterranean dishes. Basically, over the past couple of years Les and I have become quite the Greek food connoisseur’s. We go on the hunt for the best Greek food…whether it be from a restaurant, or from the grocery store. We are absolutely obsessed with hummus, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki sauce. I was purchasing this one tzatziki sauce for a while from this “greek” restaurant…but then I learned the evil truth about the one ingredient that the “tzatziki” had in it…the dreaded sour cream. Now, don’t get me wrong sour cream is great, especially for baked potatoes, and things like onion and ranch dips. BUT…not for tzatziki…which is made with the one and only…Greek yogurt. If it’s made with anything else…it’s an impostor. In this case, don’t buy your tzatziki sauce from a place run by Spanish cooks. Being a purist, I decided to make my own tzatziki…and if I must say so myself I have pefected it. If I had a Greek grandmother, I know she would be soooo proud. Honestly, I seriously would have no objection to immersing myself in the Greek culture because their food is something I eat on a weekly basis (make that a daily basis (at least with the tzatziki). Anyways…here is my tzatziki sauce and I hope ya’ll enjoy it! (P.S. no need to worry about the extra pounds with this dish, it’s pretty healthy, so indulge)!
1 cucumber (I use 1/2 of a seedless cucumber, depending on the size), diced
1 bushel of fresh basil
1 bushel of fresh mint
1 bushel of fresh dill
5-10 cloves of garlic
1 35.5 oz container of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I use FAGE (pronounced FA-YEH) because it is pre-strained, so it’s pretty thick) (If you buy any other Greek yogurt, I recommend straining it in a cheesecloth over a bowl during the night…or at least a couple of hours, so the yogurt can have enough time to thicken)
1-2 TBS. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Cut the cucumber lengthwise and discard all of the seeds using a spoon.
2. Dice the cucumber and place it in a strainer over a large bowl for 30 minutes and sprinkle with salt (this strains the water from the cucumber, allowing it to lose some of it’s moisture).
3. Using a food processor, combine the cucumber, garlic, mint, dill, and basil (you can try cutting these herbs, but I find it a drawn out process…so I just tear the leaves off the stems and throw them in!) (By the way, you don’t have to use all of these herbs..traditionally, tzatziki contains mint, dill, or both…and on occasion I have seen recipes with basil…I prefer all three, but you can adjust to your liking).
4. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the food processor, blend well.
5. Place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for two hours to chill.
I recommend serving this with pita bread. You can buy pita bread at the store and pop it in the oven for 5 minutes to warm. Also, I love this dip with any raw vegetable…mainly carrots and cucumbers. I also drizzle it over a fresh green salad, layered with tomatoes, and topped with feta cheese! Opa!