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This weekend was supposed to be like any other weekend. But when I was at home working on Thursday and got a phone call from my mom that my dad was in the hospital with kidney failure, I scrambled to get myself to Florida to go see him. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re scared because later that night I was on my way to the airport with Mini, his only granddaughter. She was on a mission to make him better with smiles.
And it totally worked because after visiting him a few times he was finally doing better enough to be released! I can’t tell you how amazing it was to not have to go back home to California with him still in the hospital. With my brother and sister home, it was only natural that we made a big dinner to celebrate. A few of my cousins came over as well. I suggested we go Greek for dinner. Something that would be light and healthy, since my dad was now on a strict diet from his doctor. I had the perfect recipe to make. A delicious, garlicky, Tzatziki Ranch Dip, full of probiotics from the main ingredient – Kefir.
Kefir (pronounced kuh-fear) is a cultured milk drink that has more than twice the amount of live bacteria and probiotics than yogurt. It packs quite a healthful punch, which makes it a perfect base for a healthy dip. Since it has the consistency of a smoothie drink, first we need to thicken it up before we mix it together. Luckily, that’s an easy fix.
I poured the entire bottle of Kefir into a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer. You’ll notice some clear liquid draining out – that’s called Whey. If you’re super into culturing, you can actually save it and use it. It’s got lots of good bacteria in it still. If you’re not into that scene, you can just toss it. I won’t tell anyone.
I did this in the afternoon and let it sit right on the counter until right before dinner time. If you’re better than me at planning ahead, and chances are that you are, you can do it before you go to bed and let it sit overnight.
My super secret spice mixture (that I’m totally going to share with you) is what transforms a regular old Tzatziki dip into a garlicky ranch masterpiece. I love dipping my meat and veggies in it, my husband prefers it with pita, and my sister loves it on salad. You could put it in a wrap, on a burger, pretty much anywhere. The options are endless.
We went with a variety of colorful vegetables and three different kinds of meat; lamb, wild boar, and chicken. Every single one of them was complimented perfectly by the sauce.
I finished off the feast with a huge bowl of orzo salad. A simple salad made with cooked orzo, grape tomato halves, kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh basil and parsley, and homemade greek dressing. It was the perfect light meal to enjoy with our big family and celebrate the health of my dad.