Sunday, June 01, 2008

happy trails

A colleague retired on Friday. Calling him a colleague does not do justice to our relationship. He was on the committee that hired me. We have worked with each other since 1989. And it is fair to say that he has been a mentor, as well as a friend.

Transitioning from work to retirement seems to have its own rhythm. For my colleague it has been a series of retirement parties -- three associated with work. On Friday afternoon, we held a company-wide party, where I was the emcee. On Friday evening, we had a party with our division. On Saturday afternoon, the management team got together to say good-bye. It was almost like Chanukah in May.

For me, the rhythm means I am one step closer to my own retirement -- and life in Mexico.

For the Saturday party, I put together one of my favorite bread dips -- tzatziki. I developed the following very simple recipe based on one I received from a woman who ran a small restaurant in the Greek village where I lived.

1 cucumber, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 quart plain yogurt

Place the cucumber, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Pour mixture into a strainer over a bowl. Place in refrigerator.

Place paper towels in a colander. Pour the yogurt into the colander wrapping the paper towels over the top. Place two plates as weights on top of the towel,. Put the colander over a bowl in the refrigerator.

After 1 or 2 hours, remove the bowls from the refrigerator. Mix the yogurt and the cucumber in a bowl. Serve with pita bread and kalamata olives.

I really like this recipe. But every time I make it, I am left with two bowls of liquids (yogurt water, and cucumber mixture fluid) filled with nutrients. Do any of you have any suggestions what I could do with either one or both? I have thought about adding them to a soup, but I would lose their distinct and subtle flavors.

The comment line is open.


Anonymous said...

Those liquids would be an excellent fluid for house plants. Otherwise I would suggest you put them in the blender with some fruit and make yourself a smoothie.

Todd said...

If you want to make that in Mexico, just remember to bring the lemon juice down with you!


Steve Cotton said...

Jackie -- Putting them in a smoothie may be a stretch. There is enough garlic taste in the cucumber juice to qualify as a snake oil ingredient.

Todd -- Do tell why. Are lemons scarce in your area? I swear I have seen lemon trees on the coast. But maybe they were all lime trees.

Todd said...

Lemon trees ARE scare, and lemon tree that are producing are VERY, VERY scare. I have no idea why.


Steve Cotton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Cotton said...

Interesante, Señor Todd. I guess that is why God gave us limes. I have tried the recipe with limes; it works. Someone once suggested adding cilantro: don't.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have a lemon tree which produces vast quantities of lemons. Three of them, in fact.

Lemons are scarce, but they're available to those willing to look hard enough.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- "[T]hey're available to those willing to look hard enough." It appears that can be said of many things in Mexico.

Todd said...

Wednesday morning I will be heading out to pick up a Meyer lemon tree.



Steve Cotton said...

Todd -- When I make the tzatziki in Mexico, I will know where to go to finish off the recipe.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Ah, the lemon-lime controversy, lemons don't tolerate the tropics, they are a more temperate zone citrus. That's why you don't find lemon in Thai cooking either.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Theresa. Another reason I love blogging. I learn new things every day. For that reason, Todd should be able to grow an orchard of lemons on his mountaintop in Patzcuaro -- unless, of course, they do not like altitude, either. If peaches will grow there, I assume lemons must have a chance.

Anonymous said...

Michoacan is a very small world. You see, I'll lay very good odds that it was my Meyer lemon tree spawned the seed from which the one that Todd McI's new acquisition grew.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- The mother of all lemon trees?

Babs said...

I am pestered on a continual basis for lemons here in San Miguel! I have about a three story lemon tree that is so prolific that I can't use them all.......ya'll want to come for lemonade? Anyway, I had no idea how special it was until word got couple drive 30 minutes from the campo to get lemons from me! Who knew?