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This Easy Mediterranean Dip Will Elevate Any Meal

I remember sitting out on my terrace as a 7-year old girl, eating a bowl of plain yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic and salt. Looking out at the Hudson River and Tappan Zee bridge, I’d crunch the chunky cucumbers in between my little, crooked teeth and smack my mouth together from the tart yogurt.

I liked it and I didn’t. It was weird and yet totally pleasurable to eat this thing that was neither liquid nor solid.

Tzatziki was comfort food for a hairy little Mediterranean girl. My American friends gawked at it — to them, it was exotic, strange, like the buttered cheap caviar sandwiches or stuffed grape leaves I’d bring to school.

While I was easily embarrassed about things like boys or being on stage — somehow I always seemed to march to the beat of my own drum when it came to the food of my native Israel.

When I make this simple little tzatziki, I think of its humility, of my mom stirring together the ingredients with a fork in our Riverdale kitchen, and of what it means to share your own authentic family culture so that others can learn to appreciate diversity.


Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

2 cups strained Greek yogurt 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut in half crosswise 4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 cup dill, freshly chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

On the small holes of a box grater, grate the cucumber, rotating around the less firm, seedy center, discarding the inside. Using cheese cloth or a clean dish towel, wrap the grated cucumber and squeeze until very dry.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, cucumber and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the refrigerator. The tzatziki can be made up to two days in advance.

Watch me make it here:

Danielle Rehfeld Colen is the chef and founder of The Inherited Plate. She graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, The George Washington University and has worked in professional NYC kitchens and in private homes for the last 10 years. Danielle has tested recipes at Real Simple, Women’s Day and wrote and developed recipes for her food column What’s Cooking in The Riverdale Press for 5 years. Most recently, her work was published in The Boston Globe. She caters, teaches private cooking classes and cooks with professional chefs and home cooks from all over the world to preserve and share their authentic family recipes, stories and special culinary knowledge. She lives in NYC. Follow her on Instagram @daniellerehfeld and @theinheritedplate and on Twitter.

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