Tzatziki and the “No Leftover Left Behind” Experiment

I’m in the final days of the countdown to my first international trip since coming off the parental dole. Mom and Dad are pretty psyched that I’m going on a trip that they don’t have to pay for, but I’m pretty positive that I’m getting the better end of the deal! I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to spend next week bargaining at the central market in Medellin, strolling the old colonial streets of Cartagena, and working on my mid-winter tan on the beaches of the pristine Parque Tayorona. I’m even more excited to eat my way across the country; I’ve gone so far as to dedicate an entire google document to the culinary delights of Colombia and I hope you’ll let me tell you all about them when I get back.

While it’s hard to focus on much other than my trip these days, I’m faced with a fridge full of food that I don’t want to go to waste. With this in mind, I’ve resisted going on my frequent trips to the grocery store and forced my meal inspiration to come from whatever might turn into a science project in my absence.

This has taken some creativity. I’ve made it through the eggs (poached for breakfast). The chips and grated cheese blend that were left over from the enchiladas made delicious nachos for a couple of dinners, and I’ve unwrapped a lot of little corners of cheese left in the drawer for snacks in between. What I haven’t made it through yet is the dairy – specifically three small containers of Greek yogurt, which I keep around just in case I have time to eat at home in the morning, and the bottom of a tub of sour cream.

With a sour dairy product in each hand, I had my first Ah-Ha! moment of this no-leftover-left-behind exercise. Tzatziki! Tzatziki is one of the few recipes in my repertoire that uses both greek yogurt and sour cream and the ingredients were almost all in front of me. In my fridge I also had a zested lemon which was beginning to dry out, and I was able to dig out some garlic cloves from the bottom of our vegetable bowl.  I needed to buy a cucumber and some pita (even though I think this recipe is good enough to eat with a spoon), but the cucumber I’ll use up and whatever’s left of the pita I can stick in the freezer with the rest of my bread.

So, off to the store I went. It was hard not to buy another round of cheese to accompany me in the kitchen but I was on a no-waste mission, and the sooner I eat up all the food in my refrigerator, the sooner I’ll need to go out to one of the many fine establishments in my neighborhood for dinner.

While I’ll be escaping the wintery mix that’s supposed to hit Boston over the weekend, I thought I’d leave you for the week with a few of my favorite sunny tunes to keep you warm, even when it’s cold.

Cut Copy – “Far Away”

Delorean – “Warmer Places”

The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa (feat Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend)
(mom you’ll like this one)

Adapted from Ina Garten

14 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (I used ½ tablespoon dried dill, b/c it’s what I had)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze the grated cucumber with your hand to remove some of the liquid. (Pressing it in mesh sieve with a spoon to extract the extra water or wringing it in cheesecloth also work well.)

Add it to the yogurt along with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir. I think it’s best if you let it sit in the fridge for a bit so all the flavors could blend. Serve with grilled pita wedges.

Hungry for more?

Last Week: Churros and Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Two Weeks Ago: French Onion Soup


  1. Courtney

    Lindsey I’m loving your blog! I love tzatziki and make it all the time. I never thought to grate the cucumber. I’ve always just diced it but I’ll have to try your method. Have an amazing time on your trip! I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  2. linzertortes

    Thanks Courtney!!

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