Spring Fever and Chilled Yogurt Cucumber Soup (Cacık)

Hi there! I lost myself in conferences, deadlines and laundry piles since we got back from Turkey…. And meanwhile…Hello Spring! When did you get here?

Apparently, I not only forgot to cook but also to look out the window to see the blooming trees,  my rosemary’s new offshoots (that plant is still alive after three years by the way, which makes it the longest surviving plant under my supervision) and all the herbs lining up in the nurseries.

Now I have been catching up with the spring. I found a nursery with a great prices, and finally I got what I had been wanting for three years. A fig tree and lots of lavender plants. I have done some re-organizing and decluttering in the house. Tarchin and I have gone back to our long walks. Farmers’ Stand has opened so I filled up my fridge for a fraction of what I would pay at the grocery store. Just a start… at least I lifted up my head and paid attention to what is going around me. Finally!

The spring is always a big cleaning period for many of us. It is also a turning page in the cooking habits. From hot stews, casseroles, dense soups to a much lighter fare.. to the one that cooks dishes with nothing but olive oil and fresh herbs. I will be sharing lots of cold, side dishes that are known as “olive oil dishes (zeytinyagli) in the coming weeks, because let’s face it, I need to lighten things up in the kitchen if I want to fit in my summer clothes!

Cacık is one of the two well-known yogurt recipes of Turkish cuisine (the other one is ayran, which is a frothy, salty yogurt drink). By diluting yogurt with water, adding fresh herbs and salt, and serving it chilled, makes it a great addition to the table on hot summer days, restoring the body’s needs. At home, we normally serve to complement plain rice or bulgur pilaf. But this weekend, we skipped the rice and just roasted lots of vegetables, served with a big bowl of green salad (We made this cauliflower dish, braised green beans,roasted red peppers, and beets).

Hope you are enjoying the blooms as well. Now if I can only stop sneezing and clean the pollens off of my car, then the spring enjoyment would be complete.

One last thing – before I forget and usual Monday blues takes over: starting tomorrow, The Shiksa in the Kitchen will be hosting a Passover Potluck, a new recipe each day until Passover. I am contributing with a recipe so check each day to see which one of my recipes is Passover friendly and I am sure you will find many more great recipes.

Chilled Yogurt- Cucumber Soup (Cacık)

2 small servings

  • 2/3 cup thick Greek yogurt (I use Fage brand)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold or chilled water (the amount of water depends how thick or thin you want it, and also the yogurt. If you use regular store brand plain yogurt, you might need less water so start with 1/3 cup and work your way up.)
  • 1/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 small clove of garlic (meshed)
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh dill(if you do not like dill, you can substitute fresh mint)
  • 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil for garnishing

1. In a medium size bowl, combine yogurt, garlic and salt, whisk until yogurt is smooth.

2. Start adding the water gradually, until it comes to the desired consistency.

3. Add dill and cucumber, stir. Ladle into two small bowls and garnish with olive oil drops.  Serve cold with rice, grilled meat or roasted vegetables.

 

 

14 Comments:

  1. by Mrs Ergül
    10:40 pm
    Mar 18, 2012

    I love Turkish food as you know. But yogurt soup is something that doesn’t sit very well with me. Maybe because I’m not a yogurt fan. But still, I finished the whole serving when being served some while we were in Turkey.

  2. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    11:40 am
    Mar 19, 2012

    Yogurt, cucumber and dill…that reminds me of tzatziki sauce.
    This would be a really great soup for the warm days too.

  3. by Ilke
    2:46 pm
    Mar 19, 2012

    Pei Lin, I know if you are not used to, it might be difficult to get used to. You are so sweet that you finished it anyway :)
    Angie, if you skip the water, it turns into a dip like tzatziki sauce. We call it Haydari, the strained yogurt with the addition of garlic, fresh and dry herbs and drizzle of olive oil.

  4. by rebecca
    4:37 pm
    Mar 19, 2012

    wow this would be super cooling in summer love it :-) what lovely weather we are having enjoy too my friend

  5. by Thyme (Sarah)
    7:53 am
    Mar 20, 2012

    I have never tasted a soup like this before. I would be intrigued by the combination of flavors. I love that it is a Turkish soup and I can expand my interest in Turkish food even more. Glad you are settling back in well and enjoying the glorious Spring weather. Windows all open here…sneezing and watery eyes, but I try to ignore it!

  6. by All That I'm Eating
    7:14 am
    Mar 22, 2012

    I love your pictures in this post. I know what you mean about this time of year being a turning point. I’m very pleased your rosemary is still alive! This sounds like just the thing to have on the table for Summer BBQs.

  7. by Peggy
    1:22 pm
    Mar 22, 2012

    I love your beautiful pictures! This soup looks wonderful and I’m ready for all of the cold side dishes =)

  8. by jeanette
    4:53 pm
    Mar 23, 2012

    This soup sounds perfect for a day like today. Looking forward to seeing more of your olive oil dishes (zeytinyagli)!

  9. by Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    10:28 am
    Mar 24, 2012

    Fresh herbs and olive oil for the coming weeks sounds great! Your basil looks cute, I wish I could grow some too, in fact I had tried but the ants attacked it. =I

    I never had a cold yogurt cucumber soup. Yours looks so tempting and I am longing for a fresh meal in the heat these days, so it will be perfect for lunch!

  10. by Jen
    12:07 am
    Mar 25, 2012

    Your photos are getting so amazing! I need you to help me with food photos!

  11. by Terra
    12:10 am
    Mar 25, 2012

    I decided today I need to get my herb garden started, it is the best part of the year for sure:-) Your soup looks gorgeous, and I am a Greek yogurt junkie, so I need to try this for sure:-) I love those bowls, where did you find them? I am looking for metal plates, I think they would be so pretty in pictures. Your pictures are gorgeous! Hugs, Terra

  12. by Tiffany
    10:21 pm
    Mar 26, 2012

    Merhaba :) So excited to try your Cacik recipe! My daughter is also Turkish and I am so happy Tori shared your blog today! Looks fantastic!! Looking forward to trying your Imam Byaldi Recipe as well as many others.

  13. by Valentina
    1:20 am
    Mar 27, 2012

    This looks divine. I’m so thrilled to have connected with you through Tori and her Passover Potluck. I’m loving your blog (and was drooling over your eggplant)! :-)

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