Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lime Tzatziki: Mexico,by way of Greece and India

    Hello My Foodie Friends!!!

     If you've been following along on my other blog, you know that blogging more frequently is a big goal of mine this year. I've been posting most days on my personal blog, but the more I blog there, the more I miss this food blog here, for two reasons. One, I love cooking and I love blogging about cooking. And two, posting with a theme or niche in mind is much easier than just posting about whatever thing happens to be in my head that day. Sometimes I find myself struggling with coming up with interesting content for my personal blog, but a food post? No problem, I could talk about food all day, and um, I kinda do..sort of...*halo*.....

    So! I'm going to make a concerted effort to get this food blog back into a regular posting groove. And actually, there are several improvements I want to make to this blog as well. I want to figure out a way to categorize the recipes and make them searchable and printable, and I want to to make it look less amateur and little more professional. If there's anyone out there in blog land who can teach me how to do this, I would greatly appreciate your help.

   On to the Food!

    I'm sure I'm not the only cook who experiences this, but do you ever start a recipe and then realize you're missing some of the ingredients? Oh, good, I'm glad it's not just me ;) This happened to me last night as I was making tzatziki, possibly my favorite dip/condiment in the history of ever. I'm going along in the recipe, about to add the lemon juice, when I slice into the lemon and realize that it has gone bad on the so I rummage a little further into the crisper and I find limes :) Perfect! Crisis averted! I continue with the recipe and I realize I have no, lacking an acceptable substitute, I just left it out.


   Cool, Tangy, Creamy, Refreshing and So.Very. Dippable.

   Don't get me wrong, I think tzatziki is perfect the way it is and I wasn't necessarily looking to change it, but I worked with what I had and what I got was a three-way meld of Tzatziki (Greece), Raita (India) and Lime Crema (Mexico). So very smooth and silky but made interesting by the lime and the cucumber. Mikey and I cut up come carrots and celery, brined some cucumbers and toasted up some whole wheat pita and went to town. OM NOM NOM. I had this for dinner last night and for lunch again today, licking my plate and the serving spoon clean both times and I'm not ashamed to admit this.

Lime Tzatziki
( based on and adapted from recipes from both The Barefoot Contessa and Smitten Kitchen)

-2 cups (or about 16 oz) STRAINED Greek Yogurt (I used fat free Chobani Brand. *I cannot stress enough how important it is to strain the yogurt first. Straining is your first line of defense against runny, gloppy tzatziki. To that end, see the Notes below.)
-1 English/Seedless Cucumber, unpeeled
-1/4 cup sour cream (I used full fat)
-Juice of one lime (if your lime is being stingy, use 2, or to taste)
-1tbsp. white wine vinegar (cider or distilled may be subbed, depending the level of acidity you like)
-2 cloves minced fresh garlic
-2 tsp. kosher salt

- Place strained yogurt in medium bowl.
- Chop cucumber,or,grate cucumber on a box grater or shred in food processor fitted with shredding disc ( it all depends on how chunky you want the cucumber to be in the final dish). Place the chopped/ grated cucumber in cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and wring out the excess water.
-Add cucumber to yogurt along with the sour cream, lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt and stir to combine
-Can be eaten immediately or chilled. Serve with veggies of your choice and grilled pita (or on top of souvlaki/ gyro, etc).

   *NOTE: As I said above, make sure the yogurt has been strained BEFORE you start this recipe, otherwise the tzatziki will be a glopfest (technical term).  May I refer you to my post on Yogurt Cheese for my fave straining method? If you don't feel like clicking through, just take a 32oz tub of Greek yogurt and place it in a sieve/strainer lined with a few layers of cheese cloth or clean paper towels and place the sieve/strainer over a bowl so the excess liquid can drain out. I like to do this the day before I want to make the tzatziki, so the yogurt can drain in the fridge overnight, but if you're pressed for time you can just let it drain for a few hours. If you're using paper towels, you'll have to change them a few times. Overnight, a 32 oz tub of yogurt will have reduced down to about half it's previous volume, which will leave you with the approximate 2 cups/ 16-ish ounces you need for this recipe.

   Not that this was necessarily the objective of this recipe, but it wins major points in the health department. Fat free yogurt as a base, high protein, and only 1/4 cup of sour cream in the  whole thing. But, believe me, there's nothing lacking in the flavor or texture of this tzatziki, it is positively luxurious :)

It's good to be back :)