Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cool as a Cucumber (Tzatziki recipe!)

Is there something about pita chips that make people feel like they're kind of healthy? Because they're really not at all. They're like wide, flat white-bread croutons, and, honestly, you'd do better to eat straight junk food. (Our friend Ava used to refer to them as her boyfriend.) That said, they're so good with tzatziki.
What's it been like where you are? Did you want to hear about the heat here? About how our oven spontaneously stopped working, as if in protest, and the spring-fed pond where we went swimming was actually about as cool and refreshing as a tropical swamp? About the salads and smoothies we've been having for dinner? It's like that. Tonight we are joining friends for ftour, which is the meal that breaks the daily Ramadan fast, and I am bringing this. Cool, cucumbery, refreshing.

When Michael saw me with my camera, he said, "Are you kidding? Have your really never posted your tzatziki recipe?" And it is so strange, but it seems to be true. It's like, "What? Kerri Strug? You're a vaulter?" At various times of my life, this is the recipe I've been most locally famous for. Which means, I think, that my friends Becky and Kathleen maybe once asked for it. But still. I have made it probably 50 or 60 million times, and every time I think of Vasili's Greek restaurant in Santa Cruz. Sigh. It's creamy and crunchy, herby and garlicky and cool, and you'll love it.

We are heading out to camp on the Cape for a week. See you in line at the clam shack! Take care, lovelies.


Makes 2-3 cups

1 cup plain Greek yogurt, whole or 2%
¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons delicious olive oil + more for drizzling
1/3 cup finely chopped mix of mint and dill
1 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced

Mix together everything but the cucumber until well blended, then stir in the cucumber and taste for seasoning. Scoop into a pretty plate, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish prettily with herbs. Serve with pita chips, bread, veggies, or on a composed salad plate with pickled beets, tabouli, hummus, and pita wedges. (I just made up that last part, but it sounds great, right?
I know you're busy ogling my olive oil. Which is from Marshall's! I know. That's how fancy I am. Why buy discounted underpants, when you could buy real imported olive oil that maybe has something wrong with it?
Cucumber, edited. I know it seems picky, but trust me. The seeds will make your tsatsiki watery and gross.
Cucumber, diced.
Herbs. You could use even more. I added a nice feathery dill head because I didn't have enough fronds, and it actually tasted lovely.
Yum. If you use whole milk yogurt, it's even better. Although this is really good.
I think it's not technically supposed to be this chunky, but I like it like this--like a cross between dip, salad and salad.


  1. I have always thought pita chips were more healthy, very sad now...

  2. You are brilliant! A recipe containing Greek Yogurt! I make a gallon worth of Greek yogurt every four days from my own goat milk, and now I have a reason to make it even more often. Now if I could just hurry along my puny cucumbers in my garden. They haven't even started flowering yet... Soon, soon...

    1. Allyson5:07 PM

      Are you within driving distance of Westchester County, NY? Because I'd gladly take some of that yogurt off your hands. :-)

  3. Unrelated to the above post, but as a regular reader of your blog, I thought of you and Ben when I read this Smithsonian article about our society's rather arbitrary assigning of "gender-specific" clothing colors to kids.

  4. alison12:51 PM

    I was SO ogling your olive oil... How did you know :-) Also, "olive oil that maybe has something wrong with it" sooo funny!

  5. I can't believe you spoiled the pita chips for me. Waaaahhhhh!!!!!! (any good alternatives?)

  6. Yum. Yum yum! Hey, would you one day, pretty please, do a round up of (kinda picky) kid friendly vegetarian recipes? My husband's a vegetarian, I'm not, and making two separate meals is a pain. I'm not much of a cook, he is, but I'm home from work at a reasonable hour so he's not. The baby is in bed by the time hubby can make a meal for us. We eat so many beans. And pasta. And beans. And pasta. And I'm bored out of my mind! The baby will eat anything, but my four year old- eh.

  7. Your tzatziki looks great! I love that you made it chunky, so do I. We have a favorite recipe already but I will have to try yours. Mine always has lots of lemon juice in it.

    It was super hot and gross here about a month ago (yes, it gets hot in Alaska- mid 90s and no AC!). We ate things like big bunches of grapes or bowls of cold applesauce for dinner. It was even too hot for avocado toast, which just seemed heavy and unappetizing!

  8. Stephanie9:35 AM

    Made this for a lake trip and we all just ate it up (well, me and one other guy, everyone else is weird). So good - we ate it with those big Wheat Thins, which are no better than pita chips. Pita chips threaten to break my teeth, so I leave them on the shelf. Thanks for the recipe - great as always!

  9. Just whipped a double load of this for some friends at an impromptu BBQ. Guests ran the gamut of vegetarian, gluten free, and something Atkins-ish that involves full-fat and bulk protein. The tzatziki was served as a dip for pita-like rice & sesame chips, a topping for grilled fish, and a Not-dog condiment. Mad props all around!