So simple, yet so incredibly tasty..

I have this ~thing~ for tzatziki. I don’t know why, but from the very first time I tasted it and I can’t even put a finger on when that could have been, I have been absolutely blown away by it.

It’s such a simple sauce and yet, up until now, I’ve never thought to try making it. I suppose the main reason being is that I rarely have plain yoghurt or cucumbers on hand in the fridge at the exact same time.

Now because I have to do a sleep study test tonight, which was ordered by Dr.Cute, I need myself a snack before I go to bed. The test requires a minimum of 5 hours of data and of course, the more the better. My sleep’s been totally messed up and of course I haven’t been able to get to bed before 2am most nights or fall asleep before 5am once my head’s hit the pillow. The only difference between this test and the last one is Dr.Cute wants me to be wearing my oxygen during this one. This is a slight problem. I have really small nostrils and I don’t know that I can jam 2 canulas up my nose o_O;;

So for tonight’s snack, I am having: falafel balls wrapped in super thinly sliced deli meat (chicken) and dolloped with my very first tzatziki attempt. The balls came from Costco — Mom & Dad went shopping on the weekend and picked up some junkie food (read: Dad was hungry and basically picked up anything & everything that looked tasty to him at the time) and what came out of that trip was 2 boxes of falafel balls.

Interestingly enough, I’ve never had falafel before. I’ve liked the IDEA of falafel when I’ve read about them, but I’ve never gone out of my way to try them. I think the main reason is because there are very few Middle Eastern places close to our house for me to order them. When I tried my first bite this afternoon, I wasn’t terribly excited by them — very dry (cold, straight from the fridge), and the spices & seasonings I found to be kind of overwhelming for my palate. Dad said they taste pretty good crumbled up into an omelette(!?) and I think he also mentioned a bowl of soup, but I don’t recall exactly.

Fast forward a few hours, it’s snacktime before I strap my whole self up to a portable hard drive for the rest of the night and I have discovered that they taste pretty damn good. The spices are still a little pretty assertive and seeing as I’ve never had one before, I don’t have any way of knowing if this is typical or not. It’s pretty intense and I would honestly say a bit overwhelming for me. Eating them hot is definitely the way to go and if you eat it with the tzatziki: WOW. I just wish I had some ripe tomatoes on hand to go with it, a few thin slices of onion perhaps & a pita or homemade flour tortilla/naan, then we’d be rockin’ ^_^

Because I am impatient (and tired and on a pseudo deadline), I didn’t bother draining my yoghurt or salting + draining my cucumber. I totally did it on the fly, using this recipe as my guideline.

It’s pretty fast and pretty darn tasty for just throwing a few spoonfuls of this and that willy nilly into a bowl and stirring with a spoon. If anything, The Hubbs is probably unknowingly glad that I am sleeping in the spare room tonight since fresh garlic is pretty potent on the breath, as I forgot & suddenly realized.

No real measurements for tonight’s dip since I just made enough for me, check out the recipe link above for more exact quantities.

Midnight Tzatziki

plain Greek yoghurt
1/3 cucumber, peeled & seeds removed
1 clove garlic, mashed to a pulp
dill powder
lemon juice
salt
pepper

Mash garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar & pestle until you get a smooth paste.
Put a heaped tablespoon of plain Greek yoghurt into a small bowl and add garlic.
Grate cucumber into the bowl & stir well (if you want, I suppose you could do it in a separate bowl and squeeze out the juices)
Add a splash of lemon juice, season with a generous amount of dill powder, salt & pepper to taste.
Stir well and eat straight from the bowl with your spoon, if desired.

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So incredibly tired…

… and so incredibly ill.

*sigh*

I probably overdid stuff on Saturday. The Hubbs & The Boys had their annual Bad Golf Day in Rosebud and I organized a low key Girls Day at our place. Nothing fancy, just got as many of the girls together as were available to just hang out for a few hours to catch up on many months of belated quality time, so to speak.

The evening was reserved for a BBQ at J&R’s and it was pretty great since they couldn’t make it to either golf or to girls’ day. Only thing that everyone else had to do was bring a side dish to share, which is always a really nice way of doing things as far as I’m concerned.

The problem for me was that I wasn’t feeling very well when I woke up yesterday morning (exceedingly nauseous), couldn’t really stomach the idea of eating anything, no nap after our visit and then we had to head off to the BBQ after I had muscled through making a shareable dish.

The dish I opted to bring was Brown Eyed Baker’s Jalapeno Popper Dip. It was an awesome choice. I’m generally not huge into dips, but I do like me some warm dippy cheese action. In fact, up until yesterday, I had never made a warm dip before. It’s never really occurred to me to make one, or bring one, to any of our usual gatherings, which is kind of odd because for the most part, they seem to be be exceedingly well received and not all that difficult to make, especially if you have a food processor.

The biggest problem I always encounter with potlucks is that if I make a warm dish, I don’t actually own a carrying vessel in which to bring the casserole dish. Yesterday I ended up wrapping my round corning ware in a really thick beach towel and then dropping it into the bottom of an insulated shopping bag from Sobeys and then putting the 3 boxes of melba toasts on top. It did to do the job as intended, but was a little bit awkward looking to say the least.

Anyhow, the dip was pretty fantastic. Even more so considering I am incredibly lactose intolerant and I was more than willing to do some pretty impressive consumption of said dip in a fairly generous quantity… though apparently not nearly as much one particularly pregnant friend in attendance last night. In my opinion, the fact that she went and loaded her plate up with the stuff just gave me warm fuzzies all over ^_^ As an aside, the dip is mind boggling when you take a scoop of it and plop it on top of your homemade hamburger patty in place of whatever cheese you might normally put on top. My burger had the dip + lettuce, tomato and a bit of ‘chup on the bottom. Seriously tasty burger.

Interestingly, there were 10 of us at dinner last night and only half the dish was consumed. So I don’t know if in the future when I make it, and apparently I’ve been informed that I shall have to make it, should I make only half a batch or continue on with a full recipe and as I did last night, leave the leftovers with the party host with a box of the melba toasts.

A couple of changes I would make in the future, and this is most likely an error on my part during my shopping expedition, would be:
1) Add a few good shakes of hot sauce to the dip or add a few slices of pickled jalapeno to the food processor. Whatever canned green chilies I had originally bought had no heat whatsoever. It had great smokiness, but definitely zero heat. The girls were totally a-okay with the lack of heat (apparently it gives the pregnant ones heartburn) but I was kind of wishing for a little bit of zingy warmth.
2) Make only a half batch of the topping. Instead of using a monster 9×13″ dish as the recipe instructed, I put the whole mess of dip into my smallest round corningware casserole dish and it just made the dip look tastier to me. This of course means that you have far more depth than you do surface area and the amount of topping as listed is definitely too much. I packed up the rest of the topping into a ziplock baggie and stashed it in the fridge to be used for something else at a later date. But as always, do as you see fit.

Jalapeño Popper Dip

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
8 pieces of bacon, chopped and cooked
6 jalapeños, minced (if you can’t get fresh, substitute a 4-ounce can diced jalapeño peppers, drained)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Topping:
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F
Combine topping ingredients together in small bowl, tossing with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened and set aside.
Combine all the dip ingredients into bowl of food processor and zip until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and generously cover with topping mix.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the dip is bubbling.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.