Tzatziki

In a Hurry?
  • Remove seed and chop a cucumber
  • Add garlic and blend it coarsely
  • Mix in Dill, spices and greek yogurt

Tzatziki is a recipe which made me call my mom. “Hey, what exactly went into the Tzatziki you usually made”? She offered it usually at parties accompanied by a warning to everybody about how much garlic went into it. You really don’t need many ingredients and the ones that go into it are easily dealt with. Tzatziki is mostly a fight against water. We use greek yogurt since it contains way less water than plain standard yogurt.

Start by peeling the cucumber and remove the seeds. You’ll see how much water is in there, once you’ve done it for the first time. Cut the cucumber into 1/4″ slices. You could actually dry them here with a paper towel or just let them drain a bit in a colander.

Mince some garlic next and put it together with the cucumber slices. Chop it together, either in a small food processor or like I did with a hand blender. You see in the result, that there is still a lot of water, but without much impact for the final product.

Finally, add the yogurt into the mix, 2 table spoons of dill and salt and pepper to taste. I continued with the hand blender. Otherwise, you could just whisk the yogurt and the spices into the cucumber mix.

The final result is already very tasty with a slow kick of garlic in the back. But leave it in the fridge for an hour or two. Tzatziki goes well with pita chips, pita bread or just regular white bread as a dip. It is a must for gyro as long as you add fresh onions. Actually, all kind of meats will go well with it. And using it as a salad dressing is not unheard of.  How about a gyro salad? Some green salad, gyro slices and topped with some onion rings and tzatziki

Tzatziki
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce, Dip
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound greek yogurt
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, to taste
  • 2 Tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel the cucumber, half it and remove the seeds with a spoon
  2. Slice the cucumber
  3. Peel the garlic
  4. Put the cucumber into the food processor or a mixing bowl, press the garlic onto it and chop the mix.
  5. Add yogurt, dill, salt and pepper and mix it in
  6. Let the result sit in the fridge for 2 hours.
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Moussaka

This is a rather involved recipe, but my wife loves it and I get to prepare it quite often. I originally discovered it at the southern food section of About.com. It’s a two part recipe. The first part is easy, layer a casserole dish with eggplant slices and fill it up with some ground beef mixture. See this article for some instructions how to prepare eggplants

It gets tricky for the uninitiated with part two. The first couple of times it felt more like I am doing a chemistry experiment, fearing to get the timing wrong. The first critical moment to me is already the mixing of the molten butter and the flour. It’s supposed to turn into a paste, but it usually is just a bunch of yellow clumps sizzling in the pan. And then I have to add milk. I hate hot milk. I hate the smell of milk boiling over. Who doesn’t? But that usually goes well, since you can just move the pan off the heat before it gets gross. Slowly adding the cheese is an easy step, but adding the egg to the mix is not. The eggs would quickly congeal if we just poured them into the sauce. Thus, we warm them up a little at first by adding some warm sauce into the beaten eggs. Once warm, we can pour them safely back into the mixture.

And honestly, I actually haven’t messed up the cheese sauce so far. Most of it is just stressing out, since you have to stay focused and keep moving once you get started. And the result is just wonderful. A smooth, cheesy sauce on top of your meat. Made me think of the time when I helped my dad leveling the concrete for the driveway.

Recipe: Moussaka
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 5 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • oregano
  • cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Slice the eggplant in ½" slices, prepared as mentioned above
  2. Butter a casserole dish and layer half the eggplant slices in the casserole dish
  3. Brown the ground beef in a pan
  4. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce
  5. Add minced garlic to the meat as well as salt, pepper, oregano and a dash of cinnamon
  6. Pour the mixture into your casserole dish on top of the eggplant
  7. Layer the remaining eggplants on top.
  8. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl or use egg substitute
  9. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour
  10. On low heat add milk slowly until it comes to a rolling boil
  11. Slowly spoon cheese into the mixture while stirring continuously
  12. Add a spoonful or two of the cheesy sauce to the beaten egg and whisk it in
  13. Now pour all of the egg mixture into the cheese sauce and stir until smooth.
  14. Pour the cheese sauce over the top layer of eggplant and smooth it with a spoon.
  15. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes

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