Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My big, fat, Greek meal

I will use just about anything as a vehicle for Trader Joe’s tzatziki dip (including one desperate snack attempt with saltines and pretzels — neither of which were a very good combo, but worth a shot nonetheless).
TJ’s tzatziki is a creamy, refreshing blend of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, dill and mint. There must be some sort of witchcraft involved, too, because the cucumbers stay crunchy! I find this as amazing a feat as I did the sparking Wint-O-Green Life Saver in the fifth grade science fair. Don’t worry, I won’t go around babbling about tzatziki as I did triboluminescence. (It is fun to say, though, isn’t it?!)

My favorite combination is a whole wheat pita filled with grilled chicken and χωριάτικη σαλάτα — a.k.a. Horiatiki salata, a.k.a. Greek salad — all topped with tzatziki.
Even though I’ve never been to Greece, I like to think of myself as a Greek salad purist. I’m a firm believer in a one-to-one ratio of lemon juice and olive oil for the dressing. Nothing else. The owner of Orexi in Bellevue (“orexi” means appetite in Greek) told me this is the “true” way to make Choriatiki. Americans like to add lettuce and vinegar, but it’s just not right; they don’t belong in there! Just the veggies, olives, cheese and dressing. Mmmm. My orexi gets worked up just thinking about it — here’s how I make mine:

Choriatiki, a.k.a. Greek Salad

·2 cups diced bell peppers
·2 cups (about 12 oz.) cherry or globe tomatoes, cut in half (they hold their shape better in the salad than full-sized tomatoes)
·One red onion, finely diced
·One English cucumber, diced (skin-on)
·9.5 oz. jar pitted Kalmata olives, roughly chopped
·8 oz. crumbled Feta cheese (I use Trader Joe’s Light Feta)
·2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
·1 Tbsp. garlic powder
·Salt and pepper to taste
·¾ cup olive oil
·¾ cup lemon juice

Add the oil and lemon juice to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until very well blended.

Place the veggies, olives, cheese, oregano and dressing in a large mixing / salad bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic power. Stir well. Allow to macerate for five to ten minutes (if you can wait). Stir again. Enjoy!

P.S. You may want to use a slotted spoon to serve the salad, as the dressing is thin and tends to go all over the place.


Jane Maynard said...

I'm so glad you shared this recipe...I couldn't find greek salad dressing at any of my grocery stores, which was a real disappointment...but this is going to be way better!

Hillary said...

Thanks, Jane! I hope it turns out well for you! :-)