Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Too Busy To Cook? Actually, Too Busy To Write!

Over the last few months I've been just terrible about keeping up with my blog. Quite frankly, I think don't anyone reads it anyway! That's okay. I often think that it's funny that so many people, me included, write these blogs in the hopes that we'll be "found" by strangers - as if all the people who we already know, love, and who love us back aren't enough. It must be a anomaly of social media. Sometimes, it's just exhausting. So, I've been avoiding my blog for a number of reasons. Mainly, it's because I've been so busy teaching - the passion of my life these days!

Last night I taught a Greek cooking class at South Seattle Community College. I'd had a heck of a day. (There is another round of incredibly stressful bullshit going on with Vince's job.) So, I wasn't really feeling enthusiastic about going to work. But here's the cool thing, teaching makes me happy. I actually come home most nights revitalized. I love it and I'm so lucky that I get to do it. Last night was no exception. Instead of staying home and brooding with Vince, I had to go out in the world and be present. How cathartic. Have I mentioned that I'm lucky?

I was joined last night by a number of repeat students, Sue, Tim, John, Janelle, Harry, Luisa and Christie. How about that? They like me enough to come back again and again. Now there's a compliment. They'll never know how much it meant for me to spend time teaching and laughing with them vs. dealing with the turmoil of real life.

In their honor, I'll share a Greek recipe today -Tzatziki Sauce. Yummy on lamb, chicken, stuffed grape leaves, or simply with pita bread. Nothing too complicated, but a good one to have in your back pocket.

To get a good Tzatziki, there are a couple of tips I suggest:
  • Use Greek yogurt or strain plain yogurt through cheese cloth in the refrigerator for a couple hours to remove excess moisture (whey). By the way, that's all Greek-style yogurt really is. There's less moisture so the result is thicker yogurt.
  • After you peel, seed and dice your cucumber, place it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the heck out of it.
Both of these tips help to ensure a luscious, thick tzatziki.  It's all about controlling the moisture.

Tzatziki Sauce

16 ounces plain yogurt* or 12 oz Greek-style plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced

Place the yogurt in a tea towel or cheese cloth, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. *Note: when you strain plain yogurt, you will loose about a 1/4 of it in liquid (whey) so you can purchase Greek-style yogurt which has already been strained, so you only need 3/4's a much.

Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
Yield: about 2 cups

Thanks again to all my students.  You really made my night!