Recipe: Cleo's Tzatziki Sauce

This recipe came to fruition one weekday night when making falafel and finding a yogurt cucumber sauce recipe on the back of the box.  As one of those people that likes to do things their own way (I am Jane’s daughter!), I naturally had to doctor it up to the point of it not really resembling the original.  So here’s my version… Shopping list: 17.6oz container of Fage Greek yogurt, 0% fat 2 med-large cloves of garlic 1 big cucumber Finely granulated salt Cayenne pepper Cumin White pepper Dill White wine vinegar Olive Oil

What & how to do it: You’ll need a chopping board, your favorite veggie chopping knife, a garlic press if you’ve got it, a medium sized bowl, a spoon, a mixing utensil of preference and a dishtowel to let the cucumbers air out on once diced.

Step #1: Empty the entire container of yogurt into your mixing bowl- this is where the spoon comes in particularly handy.

Step #2: I like to peel my garlic, cut off the end where it was attached to the whole bulb, then squeeze it through the garlic press into the yogurt.  I prefer a press to mincing with a knife because it really releases all those yummy garlic juices, but the recipe will still taste great without it.  Then mix to incorporate the garlic into the yogurt.

Step#3: Peel your cuke, slice it in half lengthwise and then using your spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Cut the scooped out halves into skinny strips, then dice those into relatively tiny cubes. Lay those out on your dishtowel and give ‘em a little rub down to dry them off, and then let them rest. By now, your yogurt should be good and garlic infused!

Step #4: Add all your spices to the yogurt in any order you see fit…quantities are as follows: 3 TB white wine vinegar (or apple, sherry, or champagne vinegar, even lemon juice will work), 3TB olive oil (don’t substitute it for any other oil), ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp cumin, 3/8 tsp cayenne, ½ tsp dill (dried or fresh), and 1/8 tsp white pepper (if you only have black, that will work too).

Step #5: Toss in the dried cukes and mix it all up. For optimum deliciousness, let it sit in the fridge for half an hour to let the flavors intensity and meld together.

Step #6: Enjoy!

While pita chips (or another similar cracker) are a great compliment to this recipe, it can be served with meat or veggies as well.  One of my mom’s oldest friends Jackie is a food stylist (, and she just wrapped up shooting a Greek cookbook called “The Greek Festival of Flavors,” which will be available May of 2011.  Coincidentally, she emailed us a zucchini fritter recipe from the cookbook, which apparently goes really well with tzatziki sauce, while we were working on this post so we just had to include it!

Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters)

Ingredients: 2 medium zucchini 2 tbsp grated onion 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/4 cup bisquick flour 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Unsalted butter and olive oil for frying

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grate the zucchini in a bowl.  Drain the zucchini to remove excess liquid.  Add grated onion, eggs, bisquick flour, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese if desired, and salt and pepper and mix well.  If the batter gets too thin, add more bisquick flour 1tablespoon at a time. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt butter and oil together in the pan.  When the butter is hot, drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan.  Cook the fritters about 3 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place the fritters on a sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm.  Using a paper towel, clean out the pan and add more butter and oil and start again until you have used up all the batter.

Serving Suggestions: These zucchini fritters are served with tzatziki sauce or skordalia for a delicious appetizer, or as a side dish.