Meze a Meze

July 5, 2017

What could possibly be better than a Meze platter appetizer on July 4th? TWO Meze platters!












I know July 4th is supposed to be the all American holiday replete with hot dogs and burgers and fruit pies made to look like an American flag, but since we’re all either immigrants or born of immigrants (with the exception of our Native American friends) what better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with an international dish or two. Summer makes me think of our great trips to Greece, and Spain is in the offing, so I mixed it up with a big batch of sangria and my favorite Greek specialties.

Hummus, tabooleh, tzatziki, dolmathes, grilled eggplant, salami, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, feta and olives garnished with olive oil, lemon, mint and oregano were served with hot pita bread. Did I make the dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) from scratch? Nope. The second generation Middle Easterner who introduced me to international food, Ron Cardoos, hired me for my first food gig; manager of Cardoos International Foods in Hyannis, MA. We sold stuff I’d never laid eyes on before, dolmathes being one of them. They were in a white china dish in the deli display case. Did we make them in house? Nope. We opened a #10 can and arranged them beautifully and sold them by the pound. And they were good. Have I made my own? Yes, and it’s a pain in the ass. The ones available now don’t have to come from a can, but fresh in the hummus case with the other Mediterranean specialties, including tabooleh. The brand I buy is Joseph’s and they are delicious. Tabooleh, tzatziki and hummus are easy to make, but certainly store bought will do in a pinch. If you’re watching carbs you can substitute riced cauliflower for bulgur wheat in the tabooleh, a plus if you’re making your own. I’m including my favorite hummus and tzatziki recipes for your eating pleasure.

Garlicky Hummus

1 can Bush’s Reduced Sodium Garbanzo Beans (once and employee, always an employee)

2 Lg. garlic cloves

Lemon juice from 2 large lemons

1 T. olive oil

2 T. tahini (or more or less to taste)

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ to 1 Tsp. salt, to taste

½ c. low or fat free plain yogurt

Drain the garbanzo beans and add them to a food processor or blender with the garlic. Puree until fairly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and puree, then taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.


1 c. low or fat free yogurt

½ medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 large clove of garlic, pressed

Salt and lemon juice, to taste

Mix all the ingredients, taste for seasonings. If using fat free yogurt a small amount of olive oil improves the flavor and mouth feel. 2 Tsp. will do.

People sometimes ask, “What do you put tzatziki on?” My reply is simple. EVERYTHING. Try it on grilled eggplant, tomatoes, and fish, especially grilled tuna. I’ve eaten it with a spoon, as well. Get the printable recipes here: Garlicky Hummus and Tzatziki.




{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Beazley July 6, 2017 at 6:53 pm

Thanks, Deb. We sure love your fine recipes,…. even if we may not have tried many of them before. I do love Greek foods, olives and feta, especially. Got any good marinades for Pork Tenderloins?? I like to make these for company. My little thing this summer is roasted veggies….. with almost everything, fish, chicken, beef, etc. It’s always nice to hear from you. Keep Cookin!!!
Love, Linda and John


Deborah July 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I have a great spice rub for pork or chicken – It contains 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, ½ tsp. cayenne, ¼ tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. rubbed sage, ¼ tsp. nutmeg and 1 tsp. ground fennel. I make a huge batch of this and use it on chicken I’m grilling, pork chops or tenderloin, whatever. It’s delicious, and comes from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells (of Aidell’s Sausage fame – the man knows his meat).
Happy grilling!


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