There are some definite cliches when it comes to writing for food blogs, and after attending a food writing workshop with the inspiring Kathleen Flinn earlier this month, I’m more aware of them – and the fact that I have used every one ad nauseam – than ever before.
I mean, I really, really want to talk about the weather right now. (The calendar says summer’s all but here, but it’s freezing out there and now I’ve got a miserable cold – what?!) And I’m pretty much obsessed with farmer’s markets, but if I ever find myself writing that I picked up some delicious-looking peaches at one and then decided to make a tart with them, I’ll now know I’ve officially jumped the blog shark (um, again).
It can be tough to find something unique and new about, say, a sandwich wrap, though. Especially when you just had to come up with something interesting to say about chocolate chip cookies the day before and bacon blueberry chicken kiev the day before that.
Okay, maybe the fictional (and slightly scary-sounding) bacon blueberry chicken kiev is interesting on its own merit. But otherwise, if you’re a food blogger, I bet you’re nodding along.
So … who cares?
The single greatest takeaway from the workshop was this: do your words pass the “who cares” test? It’s a bit of a harsh way to look at things, but very smart. If you can’t make your reader care about what it is you have to say, well, they’re not likely to be a reader for long.
So. I’m looking forward to trying to be a lot less cliche and hopefully a little more interesting around here, although, frankly, my life is just not that exciting. (“You’re not boring,” Kathleen said to me after one of my typically self-deprecating remarks that weekend. “Don’t ever say you’re boring.” )
Fair enough (and thank you, Kathleen, for the reminder to be nicer to myself – and for the rejuvenating workshop).
So, about these wraps! The super-cool folks over at Chobani recently sent me some of their Greek yogurt, so lately I’ve had Greek food (and, particularly, Tzatziki sauce) on the brain. I wanted to come up with an easy meal that’s super light, cool, and refreshing for summer [remove mention of the weather here], and so here we are.
Classic Greek salad veggies – red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes – tossed with a fresh, garlicky Tzatziki sauce, kalamata olives and some feta cheese, then wrapped. And devoured.
(Sandwiches and wraps are yet another food that’s perfect for our multi-vore home – just add meat to the carnivore’s, and leave it out of the vegetarian’s version. Easy peasy.)
Be sure to allow for extra time for the wonderful homemade Tzatziki sauce, both for straining the yogurt and the cucumber and a little sitting time so that the flavors can meld. If you want something a little heartier, throw in some chickpeas.
Creamy Greek Salad Sandwich Wraps with Optional Chicken (+ a Food Writing Workshop!)
- 2 cups lowfat Greek yogurt (can also use nonfat or full fat, depending on your preference)
- 1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeds scraped, and grated)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I prefer coarser, milder kosher salt)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic (finely minced (about 1 teaspoon))
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill*
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh peppermint*
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cucumber (peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 medium))
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 large)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1/3 cup red onion (peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (about 1/4 large))
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives (coarsely chopped)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 1 cup Tzatziki sauce
- A few leaves of lettuce (if desired (I used assorted spring greens, but romaine would be terrific too))
- 4 12- inch flour tortillas
If including chicken, add per sandwich:
- 1/4 cup diced cooked chicken
Make the Tzatziki sauce:
- Place a large funnel or colander over a bowl. Line with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and carefully spoon the Greek yogurt into the cheesecloth or coffee filter. Place in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours to drain any excess liquid. Note: Greek yogurt is thick enough that you can skip this step if you like; it will just result in a slightly thinner sauce.
- Line a colander with cheesecloth or paper towels and perch over a large bowl. Toss the grated cucumber with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour into the colander. Allow the cucumber to drain for about 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, add the Greek yogurt. Gently squeeze the grated, salted cucumber to discard any remaining liquid and add to the yogurt. Stir in the garlic, lemon juice, dill, and peppermint. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Place Tzatziki sauce in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Assemble your sandwich:
- In a large bowl, gently toss together the cucumbers, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, onions, and olives. Stir in the feta and Tzatziki sauce.
- Lay tortilla flat and line the middle with a few lettuce leaves, if desired. Add 1 cup of Greek salad filling to the middle of the tortilla OR, if adding chicken, add 3/4 cup Greek salad filling and then top with 1/4 cup diced cooked chicken.
- Roll tortilla tightly and tuck in the ends. Slice in half and serve.