Friday, August 2, 2013

"It's All Greek to Me" - Tzatziki & Other Musings

“It’s all Greek to me,” muttered Sous Chef as he poured through the menu of a quaint taverna on the esplanade in Katakolon, Greece.  While he may have been joking in his inimitable fashion, we were indeed living the Mediterranean lifestyle for a few hours:  al fresco dining under a bright blue canopy, water lapping just behind our table, soft breezes carrying the aroma of grilled delicacies and the Mediterranean Sea, and an unobstructed view of our cruise ship in the background. 

The best Octopus we've ever had is on this table
Somehow the grilled octopus disappeared...

It’s been a few years since our first-ever cruise which took us through the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas to visit, if briefly, such historic sites as Corfu, Mykonos, Athens and Katakolon.  The cruise ship ordeal was forgettable, and our last if Sous Chef has anything to say about it, but the culinary and cultural experiences of the Greek Isles were not and remain deeply entrenched in my cognitive and olfactory senses.  This week’s “French Fridays with Dorie” challenge roused those senses to the point I could almost smell and taste our meal at the taverna in Katakolon:  fresh grilled octopus, warm pita slathered with house made Tzatzaki, and chilled Greek white wine.  Opa!, the staff shouted in greeting when we arrived, and Opa!, we exclaimed when departing that most wonderful culinary adventure.

Stands the test of time

Mediterranean cooking is based on the straightforward use of the best and freshest local ingredients.  Simplicity and freshness are the name of the game, and nothing embodies these qualities better than the ubiquitous Tzatzaki which is intended as a condiment for all courses of a meal.  Versatile and refreshing, and perfect for the dog days of August, it can be used as dip with crudité or pita or as a sauce or accompaniment with chicken or lamb.  Dorie’s recipe is delicious and true to tradition, although she dices the cucumbers instead of shredding or grating them as some recipes instruct. 

I often dream of sitting here

One of my favorite ways to enjoy Tzatziki is on a pita, with sliced grilled chicken breast, juicy tomatoes, avocado, and red onion.  It is simple, it is fresh, and it can be enjoyed equally for lunch or dinner.  If you are taking a stay-cation this weekend, travel to Greece by renting “Shirley Valentine” or “Mama Mia, “ and mix up a batch of Tzatziki to nibble on through the movie.

Chicken Pita & Tzatziki
Serves 2

2 pieces of pita
2 grilled chicken breasts sliced into strips (a great way to use leftover chicken)
1 tomato sliced thinly
¼ cup diced red onion
½ avocado diced
½ cup Tzatziki

Warm the pita.  Spread a generous layer of Tzatziki over the pita.  Place two tomato slices on the Tzatziki and top with the sliced chicken breast.  Garnish with the red onion, avocado, and dollop of Tzatziki.

To read more Dorista’s experiences with Tzatziki go to “French Fridays with Dorie.

Stark white architecture set off by a splash of color

A little "facelift" at the Acropolis

Emerald Green Water surrounds Corfu - James Bond forgot to pick me up


  1. Is the sky in Greece really that blue, Christy? Nice that this one brings back some fond memories of delicious food. I'm going to try your chicken pita with the leftovers. Looks like exactly what I've been craving after reading everyone's posts. Glad that you have rejoined us!

  2. WOW Greece looks amazing!! My husband spent five months in Greece and he forgot to take us with him! (actually, Mei didnt have her visa back so we couldnt get here there...) Your pita looks great too, very colorful and tasty!

  3. Lovely photos, that place looks spectacular. I like your recipe for chicken pita,
    will be trying that very soon. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I would love to go to Greece. It looks and sounds incredible. Guess I'll have to settle for eating Greek food at home for a while :-)

  5. Christy, wonderful vacation pictures - I have never been to Greece but almost everbody else I know has visited that amazing country - wonderful colors, food and culture - how nice that the FFwD assignment for this week made all these fond memeories come back to life!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Thank you for sharing your trip to Greece... I feel more relaxed just looking at the pictures. I love your recipe for a tzatziki chicken sandwich will try it.

  7. I think I want to eat my next batch of tzatziki IN Greece! What fun!!!

  8. I love all of your photos from around Greece - just gorgeous. I want to be there with those sunny skies and blue seas. Glad the tzatziki took you back.

  9. Beautiful! Although, the movie that came to my mind was My Big Fat Greek Wedding :-)

  10. Oh I really enjoyed your gorgeous photos and memories. I have not been to Greece but you have me wondering why it is not on my short list !! And I am on board with "Mama Mia"- I have been in the mood for that one since summer started. I will need to get some more Naan and whip up another batch of this tzatziki to have during the movie. But no "Ouzo" :)

  11. What a great way to enjoy this creamy taste of Greece.

  12. Great memories of Greece, Christy! Really enjoyed your post. Great way to serve the tzatziki…a perfect paring!

  13. wow awsome pictures and also so good and and very informative post.

    Travel to greece


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