Zucchini Tatziki with Pepita

IMG_2090We had a lot of zucchini laying around from nearly two weeks ago. It was one of those too-cheap to pass up kinda deals I guess. But so long ago I don’t remember. Otherwise, I don’t know what made me think we could consume that much. Perhaps it was this recipe waiting to be made. Anyway, last night was zucchini night, featuring this flavor-packed dip along with a zucchini fritata, both inspired by Almost Turkish recipes. After reading about the health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine, along with finding fresh, in-the-brine olives (probably one of my favorite foods of the world next to cheese), we have been increasingly modeling our meals after the Greeks, Turks, and Italians… as well as feeling a little less guilty about sopping up our whole wheat baguettes with generous glugs of herb-infused olive oil and roasted garlic heads.

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This recipe fits in right there. I used thick and rich homemade fat-free yogurt, sautéed zucchini from the market, some minced and crushed garlic, plenty of dill, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. All natural, remarkable healthy, and truly addictive. I served this up with some homemade crisps from leftover pizza dough I had frozen from a few weeks ago, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and paprika

Zucchini Tatziki:

adapted from Almost Turkish Recipes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup thick greek-style plain yogurt (if you can’t find greek yogurt, I highly recommend draining what you buy at the store)
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh chopped dil
1/4 cup pepitas, toast (or walnuts or pine nuts if you cannot find pepita)

Directions:
Grate the zucchini, salt generously, and sit in collendar for about 30 minutes to let drain. Squeeze out any remaining liquids from the zucchini using a clean dishtowel. Heat olive oil in a pan and sautee the zucchini until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Peel and chop garlic. With a mortar, grind the 1/2 tsp salt with the garlic until it makes a paste. Mix garlic paste with yogurt and dill. When the zucchini has cooled, add it to yogurt mixture.

Toast pepitas in pan or oven on high heat. They will pop as they become toasted. This should IMG_2072only take 2 or 3 minutes. Let pepitas cool, and add to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold on toasted pita bread or crackers.

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Zucchini Fritata

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I love eggs — from a simple egg over-easy on top of a piece of toast, eggs with ketchup or salsa, to scrambled eggs with onion garlic, tomato, and some fresh basil. We tend to eat eggs quite often, and not just for breakfast. A very traditional Guatemalan meal which has become a part of my cooking repitior is huevitos con frijoles: refried beans scrambled with eggs. They are satisfying, healthy, enjoyable meals, but simple enough to throw together at the end of those long days when we haven’t had time to shop or put on our creative thinking caps. This mediterranean meal, too, is just as simple.

This was another recipe developed to consume our overabundance of zucchini. But what a delight it turned out to be. This is a colorful, nutritious dish, and can be adapted to any palate and awaits your creative take. Don’t like dill, don’t have it? IMG_2038Use some fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley instead. No zucchini? How about some spinach. Have some red peppers, capers, sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes? Those would work too. Any veggie or even meat that you would put into an omelet would work here. Its somewhere along the lines of a quiche, but with a little bit of flour and baking powder to give it a lighter fluffier texture. It went very well with the zucchini tatziki we had along side. You could serve this as an appetizer, side, or main entrée. It is delicious warm, cold, and at room temperature. You can increase the amount of cheese, decrease the amount of flour. Basically make it how you like. Its hard to mess up.

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