Hello everyone. After my adventures with Mediterranean cuisine this past week, there was one food item that was served consistently at each place; tzaziki, or cucumber sauce. We always ordered extra and I considered giving Spencer a straw at one point just so it would make his intake easier; less drippage. This creamy, light sauce is great to dip bread in, slather on your meat, or even dollop on your salad. Love that word, slather, I’m pretty sure it’s a “Merican” word as I don’t think they slather ingredients in the Mediterranean, but who knows. So like I said, each restaurant had a bit of a different taste profile, with Pasha’s being the best, in our humble opinions.
Sooooo, I had to try and make some, as it is a healthy condiment and great to put on just about everything except Captain Crunch…. 🙂 Plus many of the recipes I googled said it was “simple” or “easy” or “fast”. Phooeyyyyy! First off cucumbers are about 99.9% water and for best results, the liquid has to be removed! Ha,,,I tried several different ways, to include using my hand held juicer, but ended just squeezing it with my hand. My forearms are still sore, because I was also making that ridiculously good 15 bean soup and chicken stroganoff with jasmine rice; Sunday dinner with the boys. I was tired last night after being beat up by life and a stupid cucumber (maybe I didn’t hold my mouth JUST right when I was squeezing).
I chose not to peel the cuke and ended up with MAYBE 1/2 cup grated cucumber and 1.5 cups of juice and pulp. I’m thinking of making a cucumber martini here in a bit, to help with the arm cramps, of course. 🙂
I ended up grating the cucumber using the grater attachment in my food processor as initially skinned a knuckle trying to do it by hand. I made a garlic and olive oil emulsion/slurry sort of in my food processor (to use all week), and this is what I used in the recipe.
I chose to use lemon juice over vinegar, but believe I will try the vinegar next time, as the lemon tended to dominate. Some recipes I saw used 1/2 sour cream 1/2 yogurt, however this is not considered “authentic”. I’m adding sour cream next time, just to see. Happy eating and no more Mediterranean food for a while. Might head back to the coast this week and will blog as I go. Cheers!
4 C. Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and grated
2/3 C. fresh dill, minced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced (to your taste)
3-4 TBS. olive oil (I made an emulsion first of garlic and olive oil)
1 lemon, juiced (or use white or wine vinegar)
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Put your arm weights on so you can get the maximum work out during the cucumber phase. Wash the cuke, slice off the ends, cut in half horizontally and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible in whatever manner you want, outside of stomping on it (hm, that actually might work if your feet are clean 🙂 ). If you sprinkle a little kosher salt on the grated cucumber and let it sit in a bowl, it’s supposed to cull out more liquid. Being that I’m impatient, I decided to use brute force and also take out some aggression. I reserved all the liquid and pulp as I was thinking about making a dill, cucumber, sour cream sauce or something, to go with fish, or using it for a martini. It seemed a waste to throw out all that flavorful liquid. I’m going for the martini I think, forget the fish. Simply (don’t you just love that word?) blend all the ingredients together, adjust salt and pepper, and refrigerate. Serve with crackers, pita bread, tortillas, veggies, or Captain Crunch.
Dill Pickle and Cucumber Martini
pickle juice, cucumber juice and VODKA! Shake or stir and drink!