Miss Tzatziki, if you’re nasty.

Team Vidas just finished officiating Battle on the Bank, which means a lot of heavy and intense interval training, with not a lot of food breaks.  I organized a giant potluck, as I’m well acquainted with how difficult it is for me to eat food throughout the day.  I’ve definitely almost passed out during games before, and my performance has suffered due to lack of food.  My ordinarily particular palate becomes downright rebellious about what I can and can not stomach.  Greek salads usually work.  Wraps usually work.  So I planned a Greek salad wrap for our final day.  I call it “Life Saving Sandwiches.”

The officials voted on the food, and this wrap won me the contest.  It had the most votes for a single dish.  I thought there were many more impressive entries, but there’s something to be said for function.  Whether you prepare this as a wrap or a salad, have dairy or not, it’s light, high in protein, rich in leafy greens, and it’ll make you feel better.  I was able to shove 2/3 of one into my piehole, and that’s a pretty big accomplishment for me when I’m nervous.

I’m pretty basic about my Greek salad needs.  Lean chicken, green peppers, cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, olives and a ton of spinach in a lemon vinaigrette.  I also prefer wraps to sandwiches just based on how a wrap vs bread makes my stomach feel.  For intense exercise days, it’s important to find that one thing you know you can eat no matter what, and make sure it’s around.

I pre-poached lemon brined chicken, and made sure to poach to temperature.  I brought feta, cucumbers, golden beets (left over from Friday’s Hour of Power sub beets for tomato, add spinach), peppers, whole grain wraps, bags of chicken and tzatziki (my husband’s idea).  I went with no olives.  Being all potlucky, I felt good about being able to provide a lean high protein vegetarian option as well (just ditch the chicken and you’re good).  If you want dressing, toss the chicken separately with the dressing to keep it light.  I was lucky to have many helping hands to cut up the chicken and vegetables (I was on the verge of not functioning at that point), but I had pre-made the tzatziki.  Put more spinach in your wrap or salad than you think you’ll need…and then put another handful.

I don’t have a lot in the way of photos for this recipe.  I hadn’t planned to post it up.  Fundamentally, this is dairy, and we tend to avoid that around the house.  However, my true issue with dairy is whey, and greek yogurt is the much lower in the whey (way!) category.  Fat free greek yogurt is also high in protein, so it’s good for a VERY light snack in the middle of a very active day.  And honestly, any diet (and by “diet,” I mean what you eat every day) should be tailored to suit your own needs.  My body doesn’t hate me when I eat nonfat yogurt.  If yours doesn’t either, this is a huge win for you.

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  • YOU MUST MAKE THIS THE DAY BEFORE.
  • PASSIVE “COOK” TIME IS THREE HOURS.

That’s what’s up.  This is not a same day item.  Face the facts.  It’s not difficult to make, it just takes a long time.

  • 16oz nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 T of the best extra virgin olive oil you can find
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 1 hot house cucumber (English cucumber)
  • 1/2 bunch baby dill
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • cheese cloth

Peel, seed and finely chop your hot house cucumber.  I usually cut mine in half, lengthwise, and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds.  Then I cut the cucumber into lengthwise strips and finely slice them into tiny wedges.  It’s what works for me.

Mix your salt and cucumber bits thoroughly, and then spread them out to sweat.  I put mine on a wire baking rack set into a half sheet pan over a tea towel.  We’re talking about three hours worth of sweating here.  Three hours.  Come to terms with that.

After that’s set out, you’ll want to drain your yogurt.  The deal with greek yogurt is that it’s basically already drained, but you can still get some more liquid and whey out.  I set a fine sieve over a bowl, so I prefer one with a hook.  I drain my yogurt while I drain my cucumbers, so about three hours.

I set my alarm for two and forty five, and then prep the rest of my ingredients for the remaining fifteen minutes of passive time.  Remove stems from the dill, and chop it very finely.  Set up the lemon juice in my final mixing bowl, add the olive oil, add the minced garlic and the dill.

Elbow grease time (oh man, are you running low?  Better get to the HOME DEPOT AND PICK UP A TUB).  You’ve now got to squeeze all cucumber water out of the cucumber bits.  This is tedious, and I find it comparable to kneading dough.  About 1/4c worth at a time, drop the cucumber into the center of a triple square of cheese cloth.  Squeeze the liquid out.  Then do it again.  And then again.  Seriously, at least three rounds per bunch.  Maybe four.  Then drop the squoozen cucumber into your bowl.  Repeat.

Grab your drained yogurt, and discard any liquid.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Refrigerate overnight.  Pro tip:  keep your original yogurt container, and then just put your tzatziki back in there.

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