Several students have asked for recipes for some of the Greek delicacies we enjoyed. So, here are two that I make regularly at home: tzatziki and gigantes. They are both easy and fun to make and will give you a burst of the flavor of Greek. Kali Orexi (Basically Bon Apetite in Greek)! Tina
MY FAVORITE GREEK RECIPES
Tzatziki – Yogurt Sauce with Cucumbers and Garlic
32 oz. low-fat or full fat yogurt (in Roanoke, Stonyfield Farms is readily available and good) OR Fage Greek yogurt (readily available in many grocery stores now).
1 medium-sized cucumber, preferably seedless English variety
2 – 3 cloves of garlic
1 – 2 tbsps lemon juice
- You can skip this step if using Fage Greek yogurt.
Strain the yogurt, using a coffee filter, or cheese cloth, or a fine metal sieve. This will take at least 4 -5 hours (during which time the yogurt in its strainer should be left in the refrigerator) and about 1 ½ cups of yellow liquid will drip out of the yogurt. Throw out the liquid; retain the considerably thicker yogurt.
- Peel the cucumber. Coarsely grate the whole cucumber. Salt the grated cucumber and press as much water out of it as possible.
- Add the cucumber and garlic to the strained yogurt. The garlic should be crushed in a press.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Refrigerate the completed product. It is best 24 hours after preparation.
- Some variations on this basic tzatziki recipe include grated carrot, dill, or unpeeled cucumber.
Gigantes – Giant Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce
2 cans unseasoned butter beans (or 3 – 4 cups dried ones)
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine (retsina preferable)
¾ – 1 cup fresh dill
2 tbsps oregano
hot pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 can Italian plum tomatoes (or 7 – 8 fresh ones)
- If not using canned beans, cook the butter beans in water and salt – this will take about 1 ½ hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Saute the chopped onions in olive oil in a heavy bottom casserole that can be placed in the oven (like a Dutch oven). Add ½ cup dill and the oregano, and the hot pepper, if you wish.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the butter beans (drain the water off first) and Italian tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, cut into pieces first. Mix well.
- If you cook your own butter beans, you may want to add some chicken stock.
- Add the rest of the dill, reserving a sprig for the top of the casserole when serving.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, until the casserole is bubbly and reduced in liquid.
- Serve with rice or egg noodles.