This afternoon I had the perfect moment. It was about 5:00pm and I was sitting in my backyard, reading a book. The Bug, who at eleven is nearly too old to be called a Bug any more, was splashing around in the pool, today being the first real pool day of the summer. The baby was in bed for the night, and Juiceboy was readying supplies for an upcoming camping trip.
I'd just put some lamb chops on the grill. Delicious, fatty smoke was pouring out of the vents, billowing first, then carried away in great wafts by breeze. The sun was beginning its evening slide behind the hills, and I scooted my chair into the shade of the tall evergreen. I had a glass of cool red (nothing nicer than a slightly cooled Cabernet on a hot summer day) and my new Lee Child. Yogurt and grated cucumber were draining in the kitchen for tzatziki; pencil thin, organic asparagus was ready to be quickly cooked in a drizzle of hot olive oil. And we had leftover sourdough baguette to sop up some lovely balsamic vinegar floating in olive oil--which the Bug calls "special sauce."
Birds were trilling. Everything was bright and alive and in bloom. The lemon tree was fragrant. I was cool and tired from an earlier swim, and anticipating a good dinner. My family was happy. I was perfectly relaxed and wishing it could last for hours.
Here's a lovely, garlicky tzatziki recipe for you to share with those you love a lot. It goes great with lamb, gyro meat (WinCo sells great pre-sliced, packaged gyro meat for veritable PENNIES!), as a dip, etc.
Cheesecloth--this is a mesh fabric sold with cooking supplies. My Safeway carries it with the pots and pans.
2 cups lowfat or full-fat (but NOT non-fat) plain yogurt
Half-to-a-whole large cucumber, seeded
One clove garlic
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
You'll need a wire mesh strainer--one with a lip on one end and a long handle on the other works wonderfully. Line this with about a foot of doubled cheesecloth. Place the strainer in a bowl deep enough so the strainer doesn't touch the bottom. Add the yogurt and let stand at least 1.5 hours. If you have more time, up to 24 hours, place plastic wrap over the bowls and refrigerate.
After 1.5 hours a fair amount of liquid should strain out of your yogurt. Put the yogurt in a small bowl; mash garlic with a press into the yogurt and stir. With the big holes of a grater, grate one half to a whole cucumber; place in the strainer (minus the cheesecloth). Salt generously and leave for 20-30 minutes to drain.
Add cucumber to yogurt. Add salt and lemon juice as needed. Enjoy!