Friday, August 03, 2012

Food On Friday: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade. When Life Gives You Cucumbers -

Make Tzatziki!

First homemade tzatziki with Sebago-grown cucumbers of the summer - yay!

 Actually I don't know how many more cukes life is going to give me this year, my poor vines have been suffering some mysterious ailment or maybe just not liking the heat. 2 down, one half-withered, half healthy at last visit - there was at least one more cuke and lots of flowers on the healthy bit at last visit, I cleared the dead stuff last week and will see how the survivor's doing tonight when TQ and I head out to the club for the Full Moon Paddle - fingers crossed. However, the ones that I tore out last week at least died trying. There were a number of perfect little single-serving sized cukes for snacking on over the week, plus 2 full-sized ones that I decided to share with the Sailing Committee at last weekend's post-cruise barbecue/potluck.

 My favorite way to share cucumbers is in homemade tzatziki - yummy and very easy, really only slightly less lazy than just turning up with a plate of cucumber slices and a dish of ranch dressing. One of my friends asked for the recipe, and since it's actually been ages since I did a good cucumber post, having been all distracted with that Baltic boating business and swimming and even a teeny bit of Olympics, seemed like a good time to put it up!

 Ingredients: Medium container of plain yogurt. Greek's best but, er, not being Greek, I'm going to admit that back before my local grocery store renovated and fancied up their stock, I did use plain old Dannon and that wasn't as awful as the Greek yogurt publicity people would have you believe. 500 gram container of Fage or the like is perfect, though.
2 large cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
Fresh dill (dried might be OK in a pinch but unlike the Dannon, this is not a substitute I've tried myself - I like the fresh enough that I'll go out of my way to find it if I'm making tzatziki; attempts have been made to grow it at the club but it just bolts too fast)
Olive oil

Peel, seed, and grate the cucumbers, and squeeze out most of the liquid (skip that and your tzatziki will be kind of watery - squishing out some of the water keeps it thick and creamy). Chop the garlic fine. Dump the yogurt into a mixing bowl. Mix in the grated cukes and the garlic. Snip in the leaves from a couple of stalks of dill. Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a bit less vinegar (think 3 to 1 ratio, like oil and vinegar dressing). Stir it all up and voila, you're done! Can be served as a sauce but mostly I just like to serve it as a dip with pita bread.

Serves a dozen sailors with enough leftovers for a couple more days, at least if the sail had to be a little shorter than the usual cruise because of uncooperative weather.


Reverend Shari said...

Slight tweak: grate the cukes first and put them in a strainer and salt them a bit.
Then assemble everything else while the salt draws off the water.
Then squeeze 'em and add 'em in.
Better t-sauce via science!

bonnie said...

Mmm...I don't like adding salt unless it's going to actually improve flavor (like in a soup or a stew, or on popcorn), I'm going to keep just squeezing by hand. But that might be good for people who like a little salt on their veggies.

bonnie said...

Bummer - picked my last cuke today. Don't know if it's the feral cats using my garden as a litterbox, or whether it's just too hot & dry, but the 3rd vine gave up the ghost.

Tomatoes are doing well, though.