Here in the New York area it’s been near (or at) the 100-degree mark for the past few days. And unlike many of you in the suburbs, we don’t have outdoor space with a baby pool to cool down. (Yes, I am incredibly jealous!)
So we’re forced to find alternative cool-off methods. (I recently read a recommendation for a nice cold trip to IKEA–the kids can play on all the sofas and beds, they can eat food in the cafeteria, and the toys in the kids’ section are kind of awesome. We haven’t gotten that desperate yet, but it’s only June.)
One of the lessons I’ve learned is not to use the oven. We’ve been big fans of salads, cold soups, and fresh fruit. But I recently came across Joyce Goldstein’s recipe for cooling cucumber-yogurt dip which I’m planning to make this weekend (without the nuts). I thought you might want to try it too. Enjoy, and Shabbat Shalom!
Serves 4 to 6.
2 cups plain yogurt
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
Salt for sprinkling, plus 1 teaspoon
5 or 6 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed and finely minced
2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint, or a mixture
Pita bread, cut into quarters if large, halves if small, and warmed
Spoon the yogurt into a sieve placed over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain for four hours.
Peel and seed the cucumber(s). If using the large cucumber, grate it; if using the small cucumbers, cut into tiny dice. Place the grated or diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Refrigerate until needed.
In a bowl, stir together the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and vinegar. Add the nuts and olive oil, and fold in the drained yogurt and cucumber(s). Stir in the herbs. Spoon into a shallow bowl and surround with warmed pita. Serve at once.
Reprinted with permission from Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean (Chronicle Books).