I wasn't born with a spoon of tzatziki in my mouth. I have early memories of Christmas Eve at my Theia Sotiria's and the everyone waited on pins and needles for my mom to bring the homemade yogurt so they could make the Tzatziki. The smell of fresh garlic permeated the kitchen and I couldn't bring myself to try. Fast forward a good number of years and I basically plugged my nose, dived in and couldn't turn back. More cheese like in texture than a conventional yogurt, Greek yogurt is thick, rich and a meal on it's own and perfect for meze (family style small plate or starters) and dips. I have my mom's (Helen) yogurt recipe and will make sooner rather then later but at this point I let the capable folks a Fage do the work.
I think that's my main problem with most tzatziki which relies too much on garlic. There is nothing worse the smell of garlic on someones breath or even worse when they sweat the stuff. I'm convinced that is why Greeks (other then the face that they have nothing better to do) drink ouzo with meze. They need something to counteract 2-3 cloves of raw garlic. Balance is key, there is nothing more miserable than biting in to a piece of raw garlic when you least expect it. Mince the garlic, add the lemon, don't forget salt and pepper a little dill oh yeah and some strained cucumber. It's easy enough. If a thick yogurt isn't available and lets face it I may need to mortgage the house to afford Fage, strained Dannon will work just fine.
Serving 2 cups
1 8 oz portion of Fage whole fat yogurt or 1 16 oz portion of Dannon strained.
1/2 seedless cucumber grated
1/2 glove of garlic minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1) . Place grated cucumber between 2 paper towels and squeeze out as much water as possible.
2.) In a small bowl place yogurt and add all ingredients expect olive oil in a small bowl with tight lid.
3.) Slowly pour olive oil and combine all ingredients.
4.) Refrigerate and serve with pita chips or fresh bread.