We all need a little Zorba

“…the highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!”-Zorba the Greek

I love summer food. It’s easy, carefree, lighter and it usually involves grills, fish, salads, berries….ahhhh. Then there’s always the it’s-so-hot-let’s-just-have-ice-cream-for-lunch thing, which has been known to happen around here (healthy eating be damned for a while…ssshhhh) and is amazing it it’s ability to be so simple yet so perfect at the same time. It’s the epitome of summer, sitting atop a sugar cone dripping onto your clutched hand.

When we forgo the cone and the cooking does happen in the summer, I tend to make a fair amount of Mexican and Mediterranean foods, as many people do. Those are generally warm climes, so the food knows how to work with you, refresh and nourish you all the while keeping you light as a feather. Or at least the illusion thereof. I’ve grown to love them more and more with each passing year, although Greek food has always made me happy. Oregano, lemon and olive oil. A trinity of goodness.

I’ve never traveled to Greece, but it’s on my bucket list. The blues and whites…the sea…the food, the music. Amazing in every direction. And that’s without even mentioning the glorious ruins. Just the thought of posting a Facebook status while standing within an ancient ruin kind of cracks me up, the way worlds collide like that.

So I made a dip for some friends the other night and thought I would pass it along. I liked it, they liked it and true Greeks will probably make fun of me for it. It’s sort of a Betty Crocker Meets Zorba dish. Not authentic Greek by any stretch of the imagination, but good nonetheless. And quite easy.

I wish it had a different name…it’s called 7-Layer Greek Salad Dip. It’s a spin on the ol’ 7-Layer Mexican Dip, but this one is going Greek. Even calling it something like It’s Greek to Me Dip or Zorba’s Delight…I don’t know…something else might be better. 7-Layer is just so….Americanized. If it’s described by layers or sizes (Big Gulp, Supersize) you can pretty much guess it came from the good ol’ US of A. Not always a bad thing (ie. Chocolate Layer Cake) but not always good (the Morgan Spurlock movie Supersize Me).

Serve this dip with pita chips, wedges of pita bread and maybe some stuffed grape leaves and you have a good summer meal. Meatless, too.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened (I used the low-fat)
fresh dill and parsley, to taste
garlic salt, to taste
fresh lemon juice, few good squirts
1 small container hummus
1 cup seeded, diced cucumbers
1 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix together the cream cheese, fresh dill, parsley, lemon juice and garlic salt. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a pie plate or smallish, shallow baking dish. They spread a layer of the hummus. Top next with the cukes, then the tomatoes, then the olives, followed by the onions and finally the feta cheese. Add a little extra parsley for color. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours before serving.

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