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Tag Archives | Tzatziki

How to host a Meze party

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Meze

MezeArab music, lots of pillows spread around the room, a few chairs and stools, friends invited, and of course, prepare some eastern Mediterranean Meze. The dishes are easy to assemble and you can buy up the ingredients at any supermarket. These rustic dishes are seasoned with a mild warmth of spices and textures from countries nestled around the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea; Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Greece.

Hummus – Chick pea bean dip mixed with tahini, green onions, cumin and pureed until smooth and creamy. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few whole chick peas on top. Serve with torn pita bread.

Baba GhannoujBaba Ghannouj – A Middle Eastern eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and regional spices, it’s a smoky, creamy vegetable dish scooped up with toasted pita bread wedges or crisp pita chips.

Falafel – Golden brown chick pea balls made with tahini, onion and spices served with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Souvlaki – Pork chunks or strips laced on skewers after marinating in mint, oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil, then grilled and served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Tzatziki – Mint, oregano, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar and yogurt for dipping Falafel and Souvlaki.

Dip Pita in LabnehLabneh – Thickened yogurt dip with a hint of lemon; it’s seasoned with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil.

Pita Bread – Home baked then grilled, torn pieces of this Middle Eastern flat bread are dipping vehicles for Hummus, Baba Ghonnouj and Labneh. Or you can roll up some Falafel or fill them with Souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce.

Mixed Olives and Pickled Peppers – Find mixed olives at your local olive bar and serve with pickled or stuffed peppers.

Garnishes – Assemble lemon slices, mint leaves, parsley, chick peas, sliced scallions, drizzled olive oil, and radishes or other crisp vegetables.

Also choose from Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Crispy Chickpeas, Cannellini Hummus.

MezeSaucyCuisine.com
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Meze
Written by
Recipe Tester for the Washington Post
Photographs and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: June 1, 2014

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Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Souvlaki with Tzatziki is marinated pork laced on skewers then grilled and served with Tzatziki for dipping.

The Sauce: Souvlaki Marinade – Mint, oregano, garlic with lemon, red wine vinegar and yogurt seep into bite-size chunks of tender pork.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Marmalade distrit

Meze’s been dancing about me for months; small saucers of Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Keftedes, Falafel, tzatziki, olives, Pita Bread, Dolmades, Souvlaki and Labneh all swirling around my head. Gonna write about it but I’ve got a nagging urge to share Soulvaki first.

Pork Souvlaki marinaded and grilled by your Greek mama might be just like mine, or maybe not. Which herb combinations are your favorite or how much lemon’s squeezed in? Do you marinate then thread on skewers or vise versa? Are your sticks short for small bites or full length skewers.

I remember the grilled Soulvaki from the Greek place in the Marmalade district of Salt Lake City. Business development and updated city planning codes forced this dive to shut Souvlaki with Tzatzikidown. How can you improve the neighborhood without great souvlaki? How can you replace the ‘gas station turned into a Greek eatery’ with pristine condos and commercial businesses and chase away the best Greek food in town? Sigh!

Over and over I concocted variations, different combinations of souvlaki marinade, until I found one that tastes like that Greek place and now I’m sharing it with you. If you’re missing it too, you can reinvent it in your own kitchen.

You may also enjoy Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Falafel, Labneh, Cannellini Hummus, Tzatziki Feta Dip and Pita Bread.

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Recipe: Souvlaki

Active Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes | Yield: 8-10 Servings

Ingredients
Souvlaki Marinade
Marinadejuice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dried mint
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
2 lbs pork, cut in 1-inch chunks

Tzatziki Sauce
1/2 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh dill
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
few grinds black pepper

Special Equipment – skewers, 2 bowls and grill pan or skillet

Instructions
1 For the marinade, combine lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mint, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Strain CucumberAdd pork and toss to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.

2 Meanwhile coarsely grate the cucumber. Strain through a mesh strainer and discard the liquid. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, dill, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

3 Heat a grill pan on medium high and coat with cooking spray. Thread the marinated pork chunks on the wooden skewers. Grill Souvlaki on both sides until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with Tzatziki sauce.
Grilled Souvlaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information
If you don’t have a grill pan, use a skillet or broil.

Notes
You can also finely dice the cucumber. It could also be peeled if desired.

Applications
Souvlaki on PitaServe on small sticks with tzatziki and other dips like Hummus and Baba Ghannouj.

Slide grilled Souvlaki off the skewers onto a warm pita round, add shredded lettuce tomato slices and a generous scoop of tzatziki sauce, fold and enjoy.

 

 

Dish Designer

  • Exchange pork for chicken chunks.

Inspiration – Helen Horton

SaucyCuisine.com
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Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce
Written by
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: May 11, 2014

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Tzatziki Feta Dip

Tangy, salty yogurt and feta cheese dip with Greek flavorings.

The Sauce: Middle Eastern Feta Dip – Combine salty, crumbly white feta with tangy, thick Greek yogurt. Add a traditional herb, spice and aromatic and a touch of bright lemon juice. Easy dish for a mezza spread.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

All in the chemistry

At my recent Feta Cheese Dips and Chips Tasting Party, the Tzatziki received the fewest streamers, half-hearted bazookas, and just a hand full of confetti. So, I placed it back on the chemistry table to make some adjustments. My gut was that it needed a more traditional Tzatziki flavor.

Who can say what is the most authentic? It depends on what village you’re in, whose Greek grandmother you’re talking with Tzatziki Feta dip in a red bell pepperor which small, cozy cafe is hand-making Tzatziki. Each has their own nuances. I moved away from the first version with some dill weed rather than mint. I changed oregano to cumin for a warm, rustic flavor. It still has plenty of fresh lemon juice which adds brightness, like opening a window. See how you like it!

You might also enjoy Hummus, Baba Ghannouj and Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce.

4 of 4 part series ’Betta’ Feta Cheese Dips. Part 1 Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Part 2 Creamy Italian Feta Dip, and Part 3 Fetamole. More on Feta Cheese Dips and Chips Tasting Party.

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Recipe: Tzatziki Feta Dip

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 3 Cups | Level: Easy

Ingredients
feta cheese, cucumber, Greek yogurt, dill, garlic and cumin

  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 tsp fresh dill weed, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cumin

Instructions
1 Peel, seed and finely chop the cucumber. Place it on a paper towel to absorb excess juice or water.
scoop out the seeds with a spoonslice and finely dice cucumberdiced cucumber on paper towel
2 Combine yogurt, feta cheese, dill weed, garlic, lemon and cumin. Stir in cucumber.

3 Chill for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Information
Notes
Whole or 2% Greek yogurt recommended.

To seed the cucumber, cut it in half the long way. Drag the tip of a small spoon along the seed bed to pull out the juicy seeds. Finely dice, then place on a paper towel to absorb any extra cucumber juice.

To strain regular yogurt, place 3 1/2-4 cups of yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Perch that over a bowl and cover with plastic. Place in the fridge for a few hours or over night. Makes about 2 cups strained yogurt.

Applications
Serve with pita chips or toasted pita bread wedges.

Scoop the dip into a red pepper with the top cut away for a natural serving bowl.

Serve with other mezza dishes such as Humus and Baba Ghannouj.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange Greek yogurt for regular yogurt that has been strained to make 2 cups.

Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen

SaucyCuisine.com
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 24, 2013

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‘Betta’ Feta Cheese Dips Series

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Feta Cheese Tasting Event

I had grundle of fun with this series. I hosted my first Tasting Event and invited friends to sample the dips. I served 5 options, 4 dips plus a Bruschetta made with tomatoes and feta. Each guest received a card to record their feedback, which one they liked the best/least, and comments. It was fun because everyone had a good time getting together. The favorite by consensus is Creamy Italian Feta Dip. Lowest marks went to Tzatziki Feta Dip. I took it back into development and made some changes, different spices but kept the base feta cheese, Greek yogurt and finely diced cucumbers. Wondering if my taste testers like the makeover better?
Dips at the Feta Cheese Dips Tasting Party
Serve these dips with everything from regular or multi-grain Pita Chips or wedges, to Kettle Potato Chips or rustic multi-grain Tortilla Chips. If you’re a feta cheese lover, stay tuned for this series coming your way. Which one will be your favorite?

Feta Cheese Dips HtipitiSunday, April 21, 2013
Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti

 

 

 

 

Creamy Italian Feta DipMonday, April 22, 2013
Creamy Italian Feta Dip

 

 

 

 

FetamoleTuesday, April 23, 2013
Fetamole

 

 

 

 

Tzatziki Feta DipFriday, April 24, 2013
Tzatiki Feta Dip

 

 

 

 

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Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Golden brown chick pea patties with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Manna in the wilderness

When the Children of Israel fled from Egypt they experienced many miracles, not the least of which was walking across the Red Sea river bed. Traveling through the wilderness in the hot, sandy desert presented the imminent problem of obtaining food. How could they witness this miraculous water rescue only ‘to kill this whole assembly with hunger’ (Exodus 16:3)? Every day God sent Manna from heaven. These daily doses of wafers sweetened with honey (Exodus 16:31) were round (Exodus 16:14), perhaps like small pita bread. Seasoned with coriander (Exodus 16:31), they were familiar flavors of the region.

Falafel-Lunch-Plate-Lettuce-Tomatoes-Pita-Chips-AvocadoFeaturing some of these flavors, here is my homemade Falafel recipe. Sure I’ve made it out of a box mix but it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the fresh Falafels I’ve eaten on my travels in the Middle East. Pick up some fresh parsley and you’ve likely got the rest of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge if you keep ground coriander in your spice cupboard.

For the record, if I’m caught in a situation eating Manna from heaven, I hope it is seasoned with cinnamon and honey.

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Recipe: Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings | Level: Easy

Ingredients
Falafel-mixture-food-processorFalafel

  • 1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepperFalafel-mixture-food-processor-triple-party-batch
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 – 1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • oil for frying
  • 4 pocket pita round sliced in half
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely dicedTzatziki-Sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp mayo or olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Special Equipment – food processor

Instructions
Tzatziki Sauce
1 In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, cumin and salt. Place in the fridge to meld flavors.

Falafel
Falafel-mixture2 Place chick peas, onion, garlic, parsley, egg, 1 tsp lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, peppers and baking powder in a food processor. Process until it becomes a paste with fine texture but not smooth.

3 Dump the mixture into a bowl. Slowly mix in bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but holds together.

4 Form the mixture into 16 small patties.

5 Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a Browning-Falafelfrying pan to medium-high heat. Brown patties until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side. Don’t over crowd. Remove to a rack placed over a sheet pan to drain.

Assembly
6 Place 4 falafel in each pita pocket. Spoon Tzatziki sauce over and add shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

Information
Notes
Falafel can also be made without a food processor. Using a fork or pastry cutter, break down the chick peas and add finely chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients as directed.

Chick peas are also called garbanzo beans. When draining the chick peas, save the liquid to adjust the consistency of the mixture as desired.

To seed a cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and drag a small spoon down the middle to remove the pulp and seeds. This part of the cucumber would make the Tzatziki Sauce too runny.
Seeded-CucumberFinely-Diced-Cucumber

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, Falafel is made in balls rather than patties. Patties are easier to brown on both sides and require less oil. Make balls as desired, but use a little more oil for browning on all sides. They could also be deep fried in a large quantity of oil.

Applications
 Fresh-Lettuce-and-Garden-Ripened-TomatoesFor Middle Eastern appetizer, serve with tzatziki as dipping sauce. Falafel pairs well with hummus and pita chips.

Serve falafel patties as a lunch plate with pita chips, tzatziki sauce, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Garnish with fresh parsley and add sliced avocado.

 

Dish Designer
Pita-Bread

  • Exchange pita pocket bread for pita rounds. Fold in half with falafel inside similar to a taco.
  • Exchange 2 teaspoons of fresh dill for 1 tsp of dried dill.
  • Increase cayenne for more heat as desired.

Falafel-Lunch-Plate-Lettuce-Tomatoes-Pita-ChipsInspiration – Sean’s Falafel

SaucyCuisine.com
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: August 1, 2012

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