And so, just like that, Homecoming/Family Weekend has disappeared as quickly as it found us.
Cuisinatorically speaking, this means two things. On the positive side, it means the chaos that can only be described as a permanent state of “12:04 p.m. Tuesday Usdan” has slowly ebbed. On the negative side, it means we have to return to our meal plans and can no longer count on our parents to feed us at Main Street restaurants or expect Usdan to continue serving chocolate pies as a standard dessert.
One of my favorite results of this weekend is a full refrigerator; it is now packed with enough of my grandmother’s cooking to last me, in her words, “until Thanksgiving.”
Aside from cookies, coffee candies, sunflower seeds, nuts, and miniature samosas, she also provided me with a (now mostly empty) container of home-made tzatziki.
Tzatziki is a Greek dish usually served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a meal. Its base ingredient is Greek yogurt, and it is flavored with garlic, lemon, dill, mint, and/or parsley. Cucumbers add texture, and it is pulled together by olive oil. Tzatziki is not to be confused with tahini, which is a creamy, vegan, sesame based paste or sauce that can generally be found running down the faces (and arms, torsos, and legs) of late-night Falafel Truck goers.
This dish can be made easily at home, and if you are lazy and/or intrepid, it can be made using barely any equipment, leaving you with very few dishes to wash. You know, for when the dish soap in the kitchen runs out and you don’t feel like washing all your plates with hand soap from the bathroom…again. (Note: Your Argus Food editor would obviously never do such a thing. Not ever.)
And so, I present to you the recipe for an absolutely fantastic version of tzatziki. My room will most likely smell of garlic for the rest of the year, but it is completely worth it.
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt, or more, to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 18 oz. container Greek yogurt, drained (I recommend 0% Fage yogurt)
1 tbsp. sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
3-4 scallions, sliced fine
3 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
1. Prepare the cucumbers. To dry them, slice the peeled and seeded cucumbers finely, and then place in colander. Sprinkle them in 2 tbsp. salt, and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain well, dry thoroughly with kitchen or paper towels. Dice cucumbers small. NOTE: If you are using English cucumbers or American seedless cucumbers, you do not need to drain and salt them. You can simply peel them, remove the seeds, dry well with a cloth, slice, and dice.
2. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in small bowl. Mix until well combined.
3. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt with sour cream. Slowly add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt, mixing well and constantly. Add the cucumbers, scallions, and dill, and stir, evenly combining all of the ingredients. Add salt, to taste, and mix again.
4. Refrigerate at least overnight before serving, to let the flavors develop.