Two Cool Cucumber Dishes – a Soup and a Sauce

Cucumbers grow well in Louisiana gardens in the summer. I have huge crop and try to find different ways to prepare them.  Here are two recipes which use the same ingredient combination — cucumbers, yogurt, garlic — but with very different results. One recipe was a hit and the other bombed.Chicken and Yogurt Dip - IMG_4117_1Two Recipes – Same Ingredients

Cucumbers, yogurt and garlic may seen like an odd combination. But it actually is very tasty. I found two recipes which, surprisingly, use most of the same ingredients: Cool Cucumber Yogurt Soup and Tzatziki Sauce. I served the Cool Cucumber Yogurt Soup to a Ladies Auxiliary Luncheon at the hospital back in my catering days — it bombed — the ladies didn’t like it. (But my family thought it was great!) The soup also incorporates dill and mint which gives a refreshing taste.Cucumber - Yogurt Soup - 2 - IMG_3623

The second recipe is Tzatziki Sauce. Tzatziki Sauce is a Greek Cucumber/Yogurt Sauce used as a condiment for dipping gyro sandwiches. I found a recipe for Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce on the internet recipe site, Allrecipes.com. It has quickly become the new summer favorite of my family. I serve the chicken and yogurt sauce with rice; we could eat it every night.Yogurt Sauce - IMG_4123  - cropped

Nutrition

Cucumbers are good way to include vegetables in meals. Cucumbers are low in calories, fat-free and provide fiber. And yogurt provides calcium and protein. So these are very healthy recipes. Here are some of the cucumbers from my garden.Cucumbers - IMG_3597The Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce was the favorite — I’ll save the Cucumber Yogurt Soup for another post.

Tzatziki Sauce

Greek cooking is not in my area of expertise; so I looked on the internet to learn about tzatziki sauce. Allrecipes.com includes comments from readers regarding recipes which is very helpful; this recipe had many comments. Here are some tips for making an authentic tzatziki sauce that I summarized from the comments. Tzatziki is a very thick sauce; most comments revolved around this theme.

  • Most reader comments recommended using full-fat Greek-style yogurt for a thick and creamy tzatziki sauce; not low-fat or skim-milk yogurt. If using plain yogurt, almost all readers suggested straining excess liquid from the yogurt through cheese cloth for several hours or overnight,
  • Most reviewers suggested not using a food processor or blender to mix the ingredients; instead  gently stirring the cucumbers into the yogurt to retain the thickness of the sauce,
  • Several reviewers suggested substituting sour cream for all or most of the yogurt,
  • The suggestion was frequently made to salt the cucumbers; let them sit for several hours and then squeeze out excess liquid,
  • many reviewers suggested using generous amounts of garlic.

I’m going to have an incredible tzatziki sauce will all these comments!

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Here are the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce.Ingredients for Cucumber - Yogurt Dip - IMG_4107

I used some handy kitchen gadgets to shred the cucumbers and crush the garlic.

Shredding Cucumbers and garlic - IMG_4112

Then I added some salt to the shredded cucumbers; let them sit over a sieve for several hours; then pressed out excess liquid and mixed the ingredients together. Simple to make.

The sauce is paired with Chicken Souvlaki, a lemony, garlic-rich chicken with some oregano. The recipe calls for the chicken to be placed on skewers and grilled. In our 100 degree summer heat, I opted to bake the chicken pieces in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. It worked well. Here are the ingredients. The marinade ingredients are mixed together and the chicken is marinated for several hours; then grilled or roasted.Ingredients for Marinated Chicken - IMG_4103

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce - recipe submitted by Bakermom

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

“Chicken souvlaki is another word for seasoned Greek kabobs and they make a nice appetizer when dipped into homemade tzatziki sauce.”

Ingredients for Chicken:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon guice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-sized pieces (I used chicken tenderloin pieces)

Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded, and grated
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions and Steps:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, 2 cloves minced garlic, oregano and 1/2 tsp salt into a large resealable bag. Add chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Mix yogurt, cucumber, 1 Tbsp olive oil, vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 pinch of salt together in a bowl. Refrigerate tzatziki sauce for flavors to blend; 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Soak wooden skewers in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto the soaked skewers. Discard unused marinate.
  5. Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently until nicely browned on all sides and the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 8 minutes per side. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Used with permission from Allrecipes.com     allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=20242&origin=detail&servings=8&metric=false

Enjoy this refreshing and nutritious summer cucumber recipe!Chicken and Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce - 2 - IMG_4123

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