I toyed with the idea of titling this post “Yogurt! Glorious yogurt!”
I am back on the Island of Aphrodite and enjoying the bounties of this lovely land. It’s summertime: the sun is up, the sweat drips down, No one has much of an appetite, unless it’s in the late evening, when the temperatures finally dip. As most nearly everyone knows, plain, all natural, live cultured yogurt is a key staple to the Mediterranean diet. Filled with probiotics (Greek for “life-giving”), natural, plain yogurt is enjoyed daily in typical Mediterranean cuisine. Creamy or tart, strained or regular, it is nearly always full-fat, and is used in replace of ketchup (as a dip), mayonnaise (for marinades or creamy salads) or sour cream (for Mexican fajitas – seriously).
One of my favorite uses of yogurt is to make a cucumber salad with it. Better known in the West as tzatziki. On the Island of Aphrodite, it is better known as “jajeeka” (Greek) or “cacik” (but pronounced “jajeek” in Turkish). Throughout many parts of the Middle East which border the Mediterranean, this same dish is literally translated as “cucumber-yogurt salad.”
Tzatziki can be found at just about any restaurant throughout the year, but almost without fail in the summer. Cucumbers are in abundance, and plain yogurt freshens the palate. I make it nearly every night, especially as a side to BBQ.
A friend recently told me that you can buy ready-made tzatziki at the store. I nearly fell over laughing when I heard this. It is by the far the easiest side dish that can be made in minutes. Please save your money for a new pair of shoes, goddess-friends. Here’s the simple recipe for Authentic Tzatziki! (Slash Cacik or Jajeeka)
Goddess-Style Authentic Tzatziki
- 1 cup full-fat, all natural, plain yogurt
- 1 medium cucumber, diced or shredded
- 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- Salt (as desired)
- Dried mint (as desired)
- 1 dollop extra virgin olive oil
Mix the first four ingredients above in a large bowl. Taste to be sure you’ve added enough salt/garlic. Add some dried mint to the top of your Goddess-Style Authentic Tzatziki and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top. I know it may seem strange to add olive oil to yogurt, but just a tad will go a long way.
Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes to allow the garlic to permeate throughout the yogurt and Enjoy!
Serve with some warm, sliced pita. Your girlfriends will swear you bought it from the store (and no extra plastic containers to fill our landfills and feel guilty about!)
Happy summer, ladies!
Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . . .