Tzatziki (an homage to Brooklyn)
October 8, 2009 § 2 Comments
During my dwindling summer days in the City, my work friends showered me with food suggestions. They’d even calculate how many remaining meals I had left to prioritize their recommendations. They’d tell me where to find “the best” anythings – pickles, cupcakes, muffins, falafel, hamburgers, baguettes, madelines, buttery egg breads, cheap sushi and baby artichokes. I faithfully jotted down every suggestion in a small, disheveled notebook (which I organized by neighborhood and subway lines!) and made plans to seek out everything, making muffins my top priority. I figured, I was in the food capitol of America and by golly, I was going to “eat the most” out of my final few weeks!
But somehow, as early August steamrolled into late-August, I’d glance at that little booklet, sadly flip-flipping through all the uncharted, vendrified streets. Each evening as I walked home I’d say, “Now, just drop your stuff off. Don’t sit! Don’t open the fridge! Get your purse! Go to the subway!” I’d say, “Tonight will be different! Tonight I’ll go to the artichoke man! Tonight I’ll eat a bag of madelines!”
You can see where this is going. Looking back, it was inevitable. I’m sorry to say it, but I’m a creature of habit. It’s not unusual for me to rewatch the same movie twice, even three times in the same evening. I bobby-pin my hair in the identical do-up each day. I also floss religiously. And so, back in Brooklyn, each night I’d shuffle up five flights of stairs. I’d open up the door to my cozy studio, plop down my backpack, splash my face under the faucet (still with the best intentions to leave just moments later!), drink two giant mason jars of refrigerated water (daily brain freeze) and then, as just as the fridge door nearly shut, I’d cast a sideways glance at two, unassuming plastic tubs: the hummus and tzatziki. I was doomed. I’d wrench the fridge back open with gusto! I’d actually giggle out loud. I’d shmear hummus onto warm, homemade pitas, blobbing globs of tzatziki on top and folks – I was in tastebud heaven.
These shmearox gems came recommended by Sheila, my friend from work, who clued me in on her Brooklyn Heights hot spots: around the corner from Trader Joe’s, another Starbucks, another Dunkin’ Donuts and a teeny movie theatre are two little shops — Sahadi’s and Damascus — home of warm pitas, pistachio halvah (absolutely killer, in both shops), mujeddara (better at Damascus), the creamiest hummus (very different at both places but equally good) and tzatziki that I ate like gazpacho.
There are some parts of New York City I’ll never miss (ie. subway screech; tourist mobs; weirdos at 42nd street) but there are other parts I miss already. I’ve been making hummus on a bi-weekly basis and it just doesn’t come close. The tzatziki, on the other hand – well, I’m almost giddy to say – the moment I blobbed this batch on top of my pita and took a bite, I knew it: I tasted NYC once again.
6 – 8 oz. plain whole-milk goat yogurt *
1/3 cup cucumber, seeded & chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
2-3 tablespoons mint, roughly ripped
*If following the SCD diet, swap out with SCD-yogurt that has incubated for 24 hours.
Slice cucumber in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a narrow spoon. Chop into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. Mince garlic cloves. Chop dill and mint. Squeeze lemon juice. Mix all ingredients with plain, full-fat goat yogurt. Serve cool or cold on top of everything.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe (see asterisk), gluten-free, nut-free