Tag: tzatziki

About Greece – and a Sandwich with Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper

Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper Sandwich

Eat in my kitchen is about food but also about the happiness, peace and pleasure I find in cooking and sharing the dishes I prepare in my kitchen. My recipes are influenced by my life, my friends and family and also by the countries I’ve visited in the past years, by the people I’ve met who were so kind to share their rich culture, traditions, recipes and stories with me. No matter where my travels took me, whenever I sat at table talking to the locals, the real journey started. Without an exception, I can say that all these people enjoyed sharing their food with me at their tables as much as I do at mine. Many years ago I visited a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, the beautiful Naxos. I felt welcome from the moment I set foot on the ground and stayed with a lovely couple who gave me a delicious insight into Greek cooking besides creating an unforgettable holiday. This couple and their home island have been on my mind a lot recently, how they must feel in these rough times. It seems like it’s all about numbers at the moment, Greece’s failures and debt, and not enough about the people who go through the worst nightmare that none of us would ever want to go through. The worst case scenario of losing everything that you and your family have worked for, for many generations.

The people of Greece have always been an inspiration, not only for Europe and not only because they were the first to set up a democratic state. The keenest thinkers of the world have been influenced by the classic Greek philosophy and literature, science, inventions and arts. I don’t want to simplify Europe’s currant problem but I often miss compassion and respect in the ongoing discussions. Sunday’s decision demanded lots of strength from the Greek people, they raised their voice to question a system, not the democratic but the financial system. And that’s what democracy is about, to think, discuss and voice your own opinion. This is a gift!

I’m sure that most of us have a connection to this country in some way, one that is struggling and fighting at the moment. I feel thankful for all I’ve learned, so thankful that I can’t turn my back on all the people who don’t give up but stick together. And that’s what I wish for Europe, that we stay together and support each other so that the ones who are weak at times can get back on their feet again. I’m not a patriotic person in a national sense at all but I love Europe, its countries and cultural richness. This is my beloved home. I believe that we have to care for each other to keep this treasure, that’s the necessary basic foundation of a union, in a political but first and foremost in a human sense.

Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper Sandwich

A Sandwich with Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper

I will share two recipes for tzatziki with you, one made with quark and one made with yoghurt.

For 4 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 4
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh basil leaves 12

Spread the bottom side of each bun voluptuously with tzatziki, lay slices of grilled bell pepper on top (see recipes below) and sprinkle with a little sea salt, crushed pepper and basil leaves. Enjoy!

For the tzatziki

cucumber, preferably organic, roughly grated and squeezed between your hands, 80g / 3 ounces
(you’ll need about 60g / 2 ounces of squeezed cucumber)

Continue with version 1 or 2

Version 1 (I used this recipe in my photos)

low fat quark 250g / 9 ounces
heavy cream 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper

Version 2

Greek yoghurt 250g / 9 ounces
sour cream 4 heaped tablespoons
heavy cream 4 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper

Mix the cucumber with the ingredients of version 1 or 2, season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste, whip in more heavy cream if you prefer your tzatziki a little more smooth.

 

For the grilled bell peppers

red and yellow bell peppers 2-3
olive oil 1 tablespoon

Set the oven to grill.

Put the bell peppers in a baking dish and grill them in the oven until their skin turns black in small patches, turn them twice (it’s best to cook them on 3 sides). I grill them for about 10 minutes on the first side (depending on your oven it may need more or less), and for 6 minutes on the other 2 sides, so for about 22 minutes in all, but mind that this varies between different ovens. When the bell peppers are soft, take the tray out and cover them immediately with wet kitchen paper (this will help to peel them). Take out 1 bell pepper and peel carefully with a knife, mind that it’s very hot. Once it’s peeled, cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and fibres and cut it into strips. Continue with the remaining bell peppers. On a plate, mix the sliced bell peppers with olive oil.

Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper Sandwich

 

Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper Sandwich

 

Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper Sandwich

 

grilledbellpeppertzatzikisandwich10

 

grilledbellpeppertzatzikisandwich7

Tzatziki in 2 variations

Tzatziki

When I find a bowl of Tzatzki in front of me at a Greek restaurant I could (almost) skip the main course. There are two other dishes that have the same effect on me, fresh, warm bread with salted butter and hummus with flat bread! There is something about the Greek dip which is so simple yet it makes me want to dip a piece of bread into it again and again. It’s like having a great cake in front of you that you just can’t stop eating until you realise half the cake is gone!

When we have a barbecue with our friends, we always start to nibble on some salads, my Tzatziki and bread while we’re waiting impatiently for the coal to settle. So often we get carried away with the creamy dip before the meat is even done! So no matter where I prepare this dip for friends and family, I always get requests for the recipe, every time I make it.

There are many ways to make a delicious Tzatziki, I’ve tried this dip made with Greek yoghurt, Alex, my Greek-German brother in law uses soured milk and I use quark. I mentioned it when I wrote about my German Cheesecake last Sunday, to me, low fat quark mixed with heavy cream makes the best Tzatziki. Although Alex chooses a different dairy product, he enjoys eating my “German-style” Tzatziki a lot! Another important point of the recipe is the right processing of the cucumber (preferably organic as they have the strongest taste). It has to be roughly grated and pressed between the hands to release some of the vegetable’s juices to achieve a more concentrated flavour and a better texture. It’s best to use fresh, moist garlic, my favourite is the young French garlic when it’s light green and purple, and the rest is a question of the right ratio according to your taste.

It’s my Sandwich Wednesday today and I didn’t want to leave out those of you who can’t get quark, so here are two Tzatziki recipes, one is made with yoghurt. Tzatziki is also great on potatoes grilled in foil at a barbecue!

Let’s get started, all you need is a fresh loaf of your favourite white bread and a big bowl of Tzatziki!

Tzatziki

 

Tzatziki

 Tzatziki

For 2-4 people you need

cucumber, preferably organic, roughly grated and squeezed between the hands, 80g / 3 ounces
(there should be around 60g / 2 ounces of cucumber left after you squeezed it)

Continue with version 1 or 2

Version 1

low fat quark 250g / 9 ounces
heavy cream 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper

Version 2

yoghurt 250g / 9 ounces
sour cream 4 heaped tablespoons
heavy cream 4 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper

Mix the cucumber with the ingredients of version 1 or 2, season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste and whip in more heavy cream if you prefer a more creamy texture.

Tzatziki

 

Tzatziki