Suzi's Blog

Tzatziki: A Universal Side Dish

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Cool. Refreshingly cool. Tzatziki, a combo of sour cream and cucumber, is a side dish that is a hallmark of Middle Eastern Cuisine. It should be on all our plates as well. Here you see it paired with meat kabobs [yes, the recipe is coming tomorrow!]. But tzatziki is a striking accompaniment to proteins of all shapes and sizes. Think of those cucumber notes reverberating with salmon. Or chicken. Or, even, on top of a burger.

Contrast in color, flavor and temperature is an easy way to generate excitement on your plate. This tzatziki can be made in seconds. Well, technically, over 60 seconds, but it is quick. And, as noted in the recipe, while it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, it really is best fresh from your cutting board.

In the ingredients below, there is a range for the amount of garlic and cucumber. The low numbers are from Einat Admony’s Balaboosta and are her genuine proportions. If you do happen to look at other recipes, they generally tend to be more generous with these ingredients. Try the recipe with lower amounts and adjust to your own taste and the intensity of your fresh ingredients. You can always add garlic, but it’s tough to subtract.

I’ve tired the burger with tzatziki. Loved the idea. Even better is dipping the fries into it. That’s probably not an ancient Middle Eastern custom.


Tzatziki

Yield: about 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ to 1 cup finely chopped unpeeled cucumber
  • ½ to 2 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Keep the tzatziki chilled until ready to use.

It's best used that day, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Source: Balaboosta by Einat Admony

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5 for1/30th second at ISO‑3200

 

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Chilled Cucumber-Melon Soup with Radish-Mint Salsa

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This is one of those dishes that is encompassing perfect. If you had just this soup for a meal, you would be totally satisfied. It is so sublimely perfect that it will make you giggle.

In short, I love this soup. I’m a deep advocate for cucumber, which is my candidate for the top universal food. Here, those distinctive cucumber notes are mellowed with melon plus yogurt plus crème fraîche. The creamy, velvety result features cucumber and melon in friendly competition with the diary tang. It’s all lively and successful.

If yourneed more than one dish for a meal, then pair this soup with a great salad and some toasted herb bread with melted butter. You’ll become a “soup” believer after just a spoonful or two.


Chilled Cucumber-Melon Soup with Radish-Mint Salsa

Yield: 6 cups, about 6 large servings [but you’ll want large]

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt [not Greek yogurt]
  • ¾ cup crème fraîche
  • 1 medium seedless hothouse cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 cups very ripe honeydew or galia melon

For the salsa:

  • 8 radishes, julienned
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garnishes: sprinkling of snipped fresh chives, a small dollop of yogurt or crème fraîche

Preparation:

Cucumber-Melon Soup

For the soup, in a blender, puree ¾ cup each plain yogurt and crème fraîche, 1 medium-size seedless hothouse cucumber, in chunks, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1 small clove garlic, crushed through a press. Pour into a bowl.

Add 2 cups very ripe honeydew or galia melon to blender; puree. Add to cucumber mixture and stir to combine; chill.

For the radish-mint salsa, julienne 8 radishes; combine in a bowl with ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with radish salsa, a sprinkling of snipped fresh chives, and a small dollop of yogurt or crème fraîche.

Source: Frank Melodia

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/100th second at ISO‑3200