Creepy crudité with tzatziki

Happy Halloween, everyone! In recent years I’ve made some pretty elaborate costumes, like when my team at work went as Candyland characters and I was Ms Mint…

But this year I was off the hook. Some of my new coworkers dressed up; some didn’t. One brought in his little baby, who of course stole the show in a tiny Avengers costume. And we had a potluck.

I volunteered to bring veggies and dip, which I dubbed “creepy crudité” for holiday purposes. For a fun presentation, I hollowed out a small pumpkin and nestled a plastic tub of homemade tzatziki sauce inside. It turned out great, but for some reason my coworkers were more tempted by the chili, corn casserole, mac and cheese, and cupcakes!

Here’s my favorite tzatziki recipe which I found a long time ago on Kalyn’s Kitchen and have enjoyed making ever since.

Tzatziki Sauce (Makes about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt (full-fat because low-fat is a bit too runny… and, yum!)
  • juice of one lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
  • about 1 Tbsp kosher salt for salting cucumbers
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried dill)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scrape out and discard seeds. Dice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on a tablespoon of salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste, then add salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving (important!) so flavors can blend.

Keeps for a few days in the refrigerator — drain off any water and stir each time you use it.


Meal plan 10.26.12

I’m late posting this plan, but at least I’ve been cooking! Before I list the upcoming meals, I have to tell you how DELICIOUS that butternut squash chipotle chili with avocado was. I made it Friday when our friends M&K came over for dinner. Even the professed meat-lover didn’t mind that it’s a vegan recipe, seeing as how he took heaping second helpings. (I made cornbread to go with it — it tasted fine but was too dry, so I won’t recommend that recipe.) Next time I’ll make a double batch so we can have leftovers!

So that brings us to this week’s plan:

Images from the recipes linked above

For our frosty winters

As an Ohio native, I always giggle when I hear my SoCal neighbors claim “cold weather” or “winter.” To illustrate, here we are on two past January hikes, Cleveland versus San Diego:

So you’ll understand why I CRACKED. UP. when I got this email from our power company:

Hahahahahahahahaha why is there a snowflake! Snow has fallen here only five times in the past 125 years [Wikipedia]… Oh, and although my apartment has central heat, we haven’t ever once needed to use it. Who knows if it even works. Good luck on your cold weather marketing campaign, SDG&E!

Delicious date night

Our fancy Friday dinner turned out great! I planned to pick up my boyfriend from the airport and surprise him with goat cheese & tomato jam mini garlic toasts, marinated grilled steaks, fresh green salad, and chocolate velvet dessert. Everything was sooooo delicious.

The tomato jam was surprisingly easy to make. But it was too sweet for our taste, so next time I want to reduce the sugar, increase the salt and jalapeno, and swap the spices for more savory herbs. It’s not the recipe’s fault — I just want a zestier version. My boyfriend’s favorite part was how good the buttered, toasted bread tasted with the goat cheese.

My favorite part was the chocolate velvet — anyone surprised? (Pardon the iphone photo…) It was rich and dark chocolatey and made enough leftovers for the next few days. I learned that the cookie crumbs make it hard to eat from narrow glasses without spilling everywhere. So even though the presentation is lovely, I’d serve it in glass bowls next time instead.

Any suggestions for our next gourmet dinner?

Meal plan 10.19.12

As planned, I didn’t cook much this week while my boyfriend was out of town. It’s much more fun to cook when he’s there to appreciate it with me — and help clean up afterward! So next week I’ll jump back in and try a few new and delicious things.

Pictures from those tempting new recipes linked above.

Green wrap

Ever since I ran across this turkey, avocado, and hummus wrap on Iowa Girl Eats, I’ve been making versions of it every chance I get. The brilliant part? She added pickles! Why did I never think to combine pickles and hummus before? One of my favorite parts of a falafel wrap is the pickled beets, so of course it’s a tasty combination. You’ll have to check out her version for pretty photos, because I’m not good at rolling wraps so I had to hold it together with one hand while taking a quick photo with the other. Oh and obviously I had already eaten a few bites…

Here’s my favorite version so far, which has a few more ingredients than the original.

Green wrap recipe

  • tortilla
  • hummus (I use roasted garlic flavor)
  • a few slices of deli turkey
  • pickle slices (get the kind from the refrigerator section, they’re tastier)
  • green onions
  • avocado slices (I use a whole small avocado or half a big one)
  • baby spinach

Microwave the tortilla for 30 seconds to make it pliable. Spread with a giant dollop of hummus. Layer on everything else and try to roll up the overstuffed wrap. Hold the bottom carefully — don’t let go so goodies don’t ooze out while you eat. Enjoy!