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  • By Alex Hitz for Quest Magazine

Tzatziki and Summer Musings

Summer greetings—and here’s a summer tip that will serve you far better than “plant the corn early” or “take an umbrella in case of rain.” Ready?

If a friend invites you to go cruising on a 215 foot yacht in the Aegean for a week, the answer is YES! I’m just back from Greece and Turkey---my first time since 1976, before I was born--- and was dazzled by so many incredible things: the majesty of The Byzantine/Ottoman Empire, the fun of Mykonos, the succulent, delectable FRESH cuisine everywhere…and, maybe, my most favorite of all, Tzatziki sauce!

In Greece, Tzatziki is as ubiquitous as ketchup is stateside. It goes with everything---Pita toast, roasted peppers, grilled lamb, fish, or chicken. But, let’s get to you at home: it’s summer so you’re drinking rose and grilling outside---or watching others grill. It’s one of the great pleasures of the warmer months, right? Right. Innocent enough. But there’s quite literally a dark side to this, one I’m sure won’t surprise you. Unless you’re a ninja card-carrying grill-meister deluxe, and sometimes even if you are, things get overcooked. Like 95% of the time. You can quote me.

Here’s my solution: Tzatziki! Just throw some of this delicious sauce over whatever it is that may or not be overcooked from that grill and Presto—1,2,3…you have a superb chicken kebabs, brilliant grilled salmon, sensational roast eggplant and best-ever butterflied leg of lamb! See how easy that was? You’re a fabulous chef. Take another sip to celebrate!

A couple of things to remember---Tzatziki is a thick sauce and you want to keep it that way—make sure you get all that water out of the cucumbers when you drain them or you’ll have a tasteless runny mess. Tzatziki can be made ahead, no more than two days, and probably will have better flavor if you do, just like anything else if you give the ingredients a chance to get to know each other. But most of all, remember that whatever you’re cooking this summer, make it the freshest and the best…and if you haphazardly let it go too long, the secret remedy begins with a “T.” Here’s the recipe and another for scrumptious chicken or swordfish kebabs. Like Suzy always said: “Who else tells you these things?”

I’ll keep your secret…Happy Cooking! xAlex

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