Imagine making real Greek food right at home. No better place to start than with this recipe from The Cooking of Greece
Yogurt is an essential part of many Greek recipes. It adds a distinctive, rich, and refreshing flavor. If you can find yogurt made from sheep’s or goat’s milk, use it in the recipes that follow to get an authentic Greek flavor. If not, here is a recipe to make your own version of Greek-style yogurt. You might be surprised at how delicious yogurt can taste.
Makes 1 cup
2 10-inch squares of cheesecloth
1 metal hand strainer
2 cups plain yogurt (not low fat)
1 large glass or ceramic bowl
On your mark, get set, strain!
Place the squares of cheesecloth into the hand strainer over the bowl as shown in the illustration.
Carefully pour in the yogurt.
Set the bowl in the refrigerator and let the yogurt strain for about 2 to 3 hours. The yogurt will reduce to about 1 cup.
Once the liquid has drained, lift the cheesecloth out of the strainer and spoon the thickened yogurt into a clean bowl.
Cover the bowl and return it to the refrigerator until ready to use.
The liquid that collects into the bowl is called whey. You can discard the whey, or you can chill it, place it in a blender with fresh fruit, and make a smoothie. It is healthy and tastes good, too!
Yogurt and Cucumber Dip
With the hot summer months in Athens refreshing light dishes are the rule. This dip combines crunchy cucumbers and cool yogurt blended with fresh mint and dill. Tzatziki is made in Athenian restaurants as well as in kitchens throughout Greece. Serve it with an assortment of Greek olives, feta cheese, and crusty bread for the perfect light summertime meal.
1 large cucumber
1 clove garlic
2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint
2 to 3 sprigs fresh dill
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Greek)
On your mark, get set, chill!
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup Greek-style yogurt (see above) or 1 ½ cups plain yogurt (not low fat)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash and peel the cucumber.
Grate the cucumber, using the largest holes on a box grater, into a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.
Place the grated cucumber into a hand strainer over the sink.
Using the back of a large spoon, gently press down and squeeze out the excess liquid.
Let the cucumber drain for a minute or two and then return the cucumber to the bowl.
Peel and chop the garlic and add to the cucumbers.
Wash the mint and dill and shake off the excess water.
Remove the mint leaves from the stems.
Finely chop the mint, measure 1 to 1½ tablespoons, and add to the bowl.
Chop the dill, measure 1 to 1½ tablespoons, and add to the bowl.
Add the olive oil, vinegar, yogurt, salt, and pepper, and stir gently to combine all the ingredients.
Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
If you don’t have a box grater, cut the peeled cucumber in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, start at one end and scrape out the seeds, discarding them when you are done. Cut the cucumber into ¼-inch chunks and place in a bowl then continue with the recipe.
The Cooking of Greece
Text ©2012 by Matthew Locricchio
Published by Marshall Cavendish Benchmark
Website: www.marshallcavendish.us Text ©2012 by Matthew Locricchio
Food photographs ©2012 Jack McConnell, McConnell, McNamara & Company
Illustrations by Janet Hamlin ©2012 by Marshall Cavendish Corporation