a truly SUPER bowl

It’s not really the bowl that’s super so much as what it contains.  Look; it’s tzatziki!

tzatziki

Until I wrote this post I was saying “tat-ZEE-key,” but I just found out (here) it’s actually “sah-ZEE-key.”  Oops.  Regardless, it’s probably the most delicious dip known to man.  It graces our beloved gyros (here and here) and a week ago it graced our Superbowl party snack table.  A quick rundown follows; for the full recipe check out Ina Garten {aka Barefoot Contessa} on Food Network.

All the ingredients were on hand, making this recipe even more of a dream come true. I don’t mean to talk it up too much, but oh, my goodness!  You’ll need:

-olive oil

-salt & pepper (not pictured)

-white wine vinegar

-a lemon

-a cucumber

-a couple cloves of fresh garlic

-sour cream

-Greek yogurt  (In Ina Garten’s recipe you’re supposed strain regular yogurt, but who needs that?  If you’re like me you only have one strainer and you’ll be using it for the cucumber.)

See the full recipe for amounts.  Basically, you mix a lot of yogurt with some sour cream and little bits of everything else (except the cucumber) and pop it in the fridge to mingle.

tzatziki ingredients

Shred the whole cucumber (wash first!) into a sieve over a bowl.

grated cucumber, drained & squeeeezed

Moosh in a tablespoon of kosher salt to draw out moisture–optional, see below*–and set the bowl/strainer in the fridge to drain for 3 or 4 hours.  Squeeze the cucumber shavings into as dry a lump as you can.  Don’t drink the juice!

salted cucumber juice

I tried it plain (back glass) and with ginger ale (front glass) but nothing could hide the fact that it was far too salty to be a health drink.  *I made a second batch of tzatziki on Tuesday after the Superbowl (yes, it is that good!) and that time I didn’t salt the cucumber.  There was more water to squeeze out of the cucumber after its fridge time, but I think that was a worthy tradeoff for not having to discard the juice.

yeast, water, and olive oil

While everything was draining I started making some pitas.  I’ve made plenty of loaf breads, and one thing I’ve wanted to try for a long time is flatbreads like naan, pitas, and tortillas.  The recipe for pitas is very easy.

above: In a small bowl, dissolve 2 1/4 tsp (1/4 oz) yeast in 2/3 c. water.  Add 2 tsp. olive oil.  In a medium bowl, combine 2 c. flour with 1 tsp. salt.  Pour the water/yeast into a large bowl and gradually mix in the flour/salt.

below: Knead until smooth and place in a covered bowl in a warm place for an hour.

dough rising under a towel

After an hour, punch down the dough.  Divide it into 6 equal pieces and shape them into balls.  Let them rest under a towel or oiled plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

pita balls resting under plastic

Press each ball into an oval using your hands and/or a rolling pin.  Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes, still covered with the towel or plastic.

shaped pitas rising

While they rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and put cookie sheets in the oven to heat too.  After the rising time, toss two pitas onto each cookie sheet–so if you have 3 sheets in there you can do all the pitas at once; if you don’t have 3 sheets just work in batches.  The hot metal makes the bread puff, which is awesome!

baked pitas

They deflate a little as they cool.  Cover them right away, because in my experience they also dry out quickly.  I stack them in a lidded plastic container.  I can fit all 6 in a container that’s just a little thicker than a sandwich; the compression doesn’t hurt them.  For dipping, I cut each pita in half (into a half moon) and in half (into a single layer).  Then I cut each thin layer into several irregular pieces, more or less bite-sized.

pita piece in tzatziki

What did you snack on during the Superbowl?  I won’t say “while you watched” the Superbowl, because I know that’s not the reality for everyone, even those who attended a party where the game was supposedly the main event.  We all know it’s really about Doritos, seven-layer bean dip, and various meats in barbeque sauce.

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