Some of my fondest food memories are of my grandmother’s cooking. “Gram” as my two sisters and I called her was a natural cook. Although, her kitchen wasn’t a large space, my grandmother used every inch of it to her culinary heart’s content. From roasted chicken, turkeys, ducks, hams and lambs, she fit them into her tiny oven, basted and tended to them for hours. She also made the BEST mashed and roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole and stuffing on the planet!
Today I am doing a take on one of my grandmother’s favorite dishes: creamy cucumber salad with a healthy twist. It’s sunshine to me!
I love cucumbers. I’m using an English cucumber because the flavor is delicate and it’s seedless. Wash, peel it and slice it.
Since I am using the cucumbers as a bed for the tzatziki sauce, I cut the cucumber thicker, but if you want to dress the cucumbers in the sauce, you can cut them paper thin with a mandolin slicer. Cucumbers are packed with water and are very low in calories, plus they contain anti-oxidants like vitamins A and C, as well as betacarotene.
Simply squeeze a quarter of a lemon into plain yogurt and mix. The lemon juice complements the already sour flavor of the plain yogurt. With a hint of fresh dill added to the mix, the tzatziki sauce is on its way! I love fresh dill – it smells like spring in the air.
With a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil,* the yogurt sauce is taken to a new level! The subtle flavor of the oil brings out the elegance of this sauce; coupled with crisp, refreshing cucumbers it makes for a light and airy appetizer or side dish. I had to top with smoked paprika as my Gram would be happy that some sort of paprika made it in – she loved paprika!