A few weeks ago I had written about my recent trip to the local Farmer’s Market. I came home with fresh pastas, cheese, bread and of course locally grown vegetables. As I also mentioned, I purchased Greek yogurt packed in terracotta pots. Today, it seems, every company claims to have a Greek yogurt product, but few even come close to what you would be served in Europe. But Kalypso Greek yogurt, sold at Farmer’s Markets, is the real deal. The true test was giving a pot of the plain yogurt for my dad to try. He would always say that none of the yogurts in the supermarket were like the ones he had in Greece. “Just because they say it’s Greek doesn’t make it Greek,” he would say. But when he tried the Kalypso, he said, “ This is like what I ate in Greece.”
So what is the difference between the various yogurts? A few things. Regular yogurt is looser and very watery. Greek yogurt is thicker and shouldn’t need to be drained. I suggest the Fage brand if you buy it from the supermarket. Real authentic Greek yogurt is very thick. Scoop the Kalypso out with a spoon and turn it upside down—the yogurt will stay on the spoon. Also, all natural ingredients must be used. No preservatives—no hormone and antibiotic infested milk. It does make a difference. Kalypso has taken pains to not only make the recipe authentic, but to also package their product in a manner that keeps with tradition. Each serving comes in a reusable terracotta pot. No worries about plastic leaching, or the taste of plastic tainting the freshness of the yogurt. If you don’t have a Farmer’s Market nearby, you can go on to kalypso.com to find the nearest market to purchase their product.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve gained a collection of these little clay pots. There are so many things I can think of to do with them. They are great to fill with salsa or dip and put out with chips. A mini herb garden on my windowsill in the winter would be an ideal use. Or insert a citronella votive candle inside and scatter around the patio tables. I have an idea for Thanksgiving that will be perfect for the terracotta pots—you’ll have to wait until then to find out what it is.
In the meantime…here is a recipe for Keftethes (Greek meatballs) and Tzatziki Sauce (yogurt-cucumber sauce)
1 pound chopped meat
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, grated
4 slices of white bread, dampened in water (no crust)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 tablespoons fresh
2 tablespoons of dried mint or basil or combination of both, or 1/4 cup of fresh mint or basil
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
* Use fresh herbs whenever possible. The difference in taste is noticeable.
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Form each ball to the size of a golf ball. Roll in flour and press down gently. Fry in a combination of vegetable oil and olive oil until brown on each side. Serve with tzatziki sauce on the side. The meatballs can be served warm or cold.
2 cups Greek yogurt*
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 large cucumbers
* Opt for the fresh dill if you can.
** Prep- Peel and core the cucumbers from the seeds, and finely grate. Press through a mesh strainer to expel the water. The cucumber will make the sauce loose and runny if you skip this step.
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk. Chill before serving. Serve with keftethes or souvlaki. Tzatziki also makes a refreshing dip. Prepare it a day ahead and the flavors will intensify.
*Greek yogurt is thicker than other yogurts. If you use any other yogurt, you must strain before making sauce.
*Preferably Kalypso brand Greek yogurt