Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tzatziki and Pita...mmm, mmmmm!

The single biggest way that I go over my grocery budget is by not planning for get-togethers.  I either forget and need to go out and buy groceries or I get the hankering to make something really fun for friends and cast aside the groceries I have on hand and go out and buy fun, new groceries to entertain with.

Not this week!! We had a potluck BBQ planned for Saturday night. I had on hand: left over sour cream, flour, yeast, onions and dill. Throw some non-fat yogurt and an english cucumber into the weekly groceries and you get Homemade Pitas and Tzatziki!

1/2 of an English cucumber, grated
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
1 c. reduced fat sour cream [of course full fat would be delish and nonfat would be fine]
1 c. nonfat plain yogurt [greek yogurt would be awesome, but normal yogurt was cheaper]
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh, cracked pepper
3/4 tsp. dried dill

Grate your cucumber and place into a small colander, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Set aside.

Add sour cream, yogurt, chopped onion, remaining salt, pepper and dill to a bowl. Stir until sour cream and yogurt are combined.
With your hand, press liquid out of the grated cucumber. Add cucumber to mixture and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander and let strain for a half hour. You can also use a dampened dishcloth in place of cheesecloth, but you will probably have to let it strain for a longer period of time. 

After the surplus liquid has drained, try your best to not jam spoonfuls of the creamy tzatziki into your mouth while waiting for the pitas to be ready.

Pitas/ What I use for pizza dough
*I use my big ole' food processor to make this dough in about a minute, feel free to use a stand mixer or your hands. If using your hands, simply knead until dough feels slightly elastic-y, like it will bounce back if you stick your finger in it.

5 c. all purpose flour [You can substitute a couple cups of whole wheat flour]
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. yeast [one packet of yeast will do fine as well]
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. 120 degree water

Yields approximately 12 pitas.
Add all dry ingredients to your food processor.

Turn on your food processor and let whir [yes, that is probably the technical term] while you stream in your olive oil and warm water.

Stop as soon as the mixture forms a loose ball.

Remove dough and place in an oiled mixing bowl [I used approximately 1 tbsp of oil in my bowl].  Form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least one hour. *Sidenote: I wandered off, changed a couple diapers, went to a baby shower and returned to my dough 4 hours later. As long as it has at least an hour to rise, it doesn't matter how long it sits.

After dough has risen, flour your counter and grab your rolling pin [an empty wine bottle works well too]. Pre-heat a frying pan on high until really hot. Once it is hot, lower to medium high. I used a big double griddle pan that I had because it allowed me to do two at once, but a frying pan works just as well.

Break dough into fist sized balls. Roll until you have reached your desired size, I like mine about a 1/3 of an inch thick and maybe 6-8 inches in diameter. You can't mess this part up. They are so yummy, that the thickness and shape doesn't matter. Think "rustic.

I normally time it so that while I am rolling one, I am cooking another.

Add pita to your pan [no oil needed]. Cook on one side for approximately one minute, or until slight brown spots appear, then flip. Cook other side for one minute as well.

Your pitas are good to go! At this point, I have also used the "pitas" as individual pizza crusts for make-your- own pizza parties. With the pitas already cooked all they need are toppings and 5-10 minutes in a high oven, think 450 or higher or, even better, 5 minutes on top of the grill...for smoky, amazing, crusty, slightly charred-bottom pizzas!

Timing Tip: If making both dishes at the same time, make pita dough and set aside to rise. While pita is rising, make tzatziki and set aside to strain.  This way, by the time your tzatziki is done straining, your pita dough will be ready too.


  1. When I grow up, I want to be just like Kristi Spitzer! (said Lindsay B.)

  2. Did you do this in honor of Greek Easter?? :) Mmmmm tzatziki is my cryptonite!