Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Favorite Appetizer Of All Time

Thanksgiving 2011
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, since I only came across this a week or so ago, but it’s pretty fabulous. In fact, I might even say that this is an appetizer that will change your life. Remember that old favorite - 5, or is it 7, layer bean dip with refried beans and salsa and stuff? THIS is a fresh, lively updated version of that with hummus and tzatziki.

I saw it in a Food Network magazine and I can’t really explain why, but from the first moment I laid eyes on it, I fell in love. I didn’t even notice, initially, WHOSE recipe it was. But it didn’t matter, because I was just using the idea, not that actual recipe. And THEN I wondered where I'd been all these years, since I found many different versions online.

How had I never served hummus and tzatziki, that wonderful Greek yogurt and cucumber concoction, together? I love them both. I knew this had to be a featured hors d’oeuvres over Thanksgiving, if I can wait that long. I may have to serve it the night before.

I personally have to no problem with robust Thanksgiving appetizers, even though H often gives me a hard time. To me, the appetizers before Thanksgiving dinner are an opportunity to stretch your stomach for the meal to come. I would never want to wrestle with that meal on an empty stomach.

Okay here goes, enjoy it…I know you will.

Sue’s Greek 7, Maybe 8, Layer Dip
Printable recipe here

I like serving this on a platter, with the hummus spread out as the base layer. You can certainly contain it in a straight-sided bowl as in this picture. You may want to provide a spoon for easier spreading.

2 cups hummus, homemade or bought, any flavored version you like
1 recipe Sue's tzatziki (see below)
diced cucumbers (can be leftover from the tzatziki)
optional: a handful of diced tomatoes, drained in a strainer for 10 minutes
a handful of feta (more than that makes the tzatziki taste like cottage cheese)
a handful of chopped dill
3 scallions, chopped
a handful of small pitted olives or larger olives, sliced

Layer the ingredients in the order listed. (You may not need quite all the tzatziki. Save the extra to serve as a dip by itself or on top of anything from pita chips or kebabs to veggie burgers.)

Serve the Greek 7 Layer Dip with homemade pita chips (recipe below).

Sue’s Tzatziki
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup WHOLE milk (I know!) Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1 tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, center stalk removed and pressed
2 tsps. dill, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Place the yogurt in a strainer lined with damp cheesecloth. Strain it over a bowl for 30 minutes.

(Because it’s Greek yogurt and already strained, you can skip this step, but it does remove a bit of liquid.)

Cut the ends off an English cucumber and peel. Cut into a small dice. Place in a small strainer over a bowl and stir in ¼ tsp. Kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Place strained yogurt in a bowl. Add a good amount of the cucumbers (no need to rinse) into the yogurt. (Remember it’s YOGURT with cucumbers, not the other way around, so you may not need ALL the cucumber for the tzatziki. Set the rest aside to sprinkle on top of the dip.) Stir in lemon juice, garlic and dill. Stir in Kosher salt to taste, starting with ¼ teaspoon. Cover well and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 to 4 hours.

Baked Pita Chips (1 pita - I prefer wholewheat - makes 16 chips)

Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Separate each one in half. Lay pita on a baking sheet in a single layer (they can be jammed next to each other.) Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and store in a ziplock bag. You can reheat them in a big jumbled pile in the toaster oven for a minute or two before serving.

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I loved this dip recipe so much that I used it as an excuse to have some gal pals over to sample appetizers and my fizzy Cosmo's, which will be my signature cocktail on Thanksgiving.

I also served my little tarts along with the Greek dip and gussied-up baked prosciutto.

Bake the prosciutto on a foil-lined baking sheet at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until completely crisp. Cut prosciutto into long pieces. Cover with a thin slice of Gruyere and a grape slice, or just pile on the plate and let folks assemble them however they wish.

Fizzy Cosmo
Printable recipe here

This is made to my (very sweet) taste. Definitely adjust the amount of vodka to suit your own palate.

4 parts cranberry or cranberry-raspberry juice
3 parts Absolut Citron
2 parts Rose’s Lime Juice
1 part Triple Sec

Mix together first four ingredients. Chill well. Pour into champagne glasses two thirds full. Top off with Prosecco.


Tracy said...

Looks yummy. I love Greek food.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Want that drink.

Very clever take on dip. I suppose if I were feeling snarky I'd say even a stopped clock is right twice a day. :-D I didn't look at the original recipe (didn't want to deal with slow pages and popups) but I'd wager it wasn't as good as yours because it had lots of less-than-fresh ingredients, right?

I want that cocktail so badly! Everything else looks wonderful too.

Don't feel bad about the whole milk yogurt. Science is beginning to realize that the fat in dairy products helps us absorb the calcium better.

Emily said...

Oooh that cocktail looks lovely! I definitely want to make that. I'm bring wine and a variety of beers over for Thanksgiving. :)

That dip is genious! I'd much rather have that than 7 layer bean dip.

Did you serve cheeseballs? Something tells me you wouldn't do that...

Sue said...

Hiya Tracy,
I wonder if they would jumble all this together in the fine nation of Greece, but I don't care, it's so awesome!

Hey Rach,
I'm taking a sip for you. It's goood! And you're correct about the original recipe.

I also heard something about 2% yogurt being better for you than nonfat. Okay, I'll take that!

Hi Em,
Ooh...a "variety" of beers. One for each course?

If cheeseballs are a wedge of brie with fancy honey poured all over it surrounded by heavily toasted nuts, then, yes, I would serve that. The only thing I serve in balls is truffles and I think that's good overall advice. (Oh, I guess there is the occasional meatball.)