One of my dearest friends now lives far away from me, across the country. We stay in touch when we can and pick up our conversations where we left off the last time. What’s so wonderful about this friendship is the feeling that no matter how much time or physical space between us, there is a bond of deep and genuine sisterhood and sincere care for one another.
small zucchini waiting to be grated
One of the things I love about her is the completely generous and enthusiastic nature she has when it comes to sharing what makes her happy, especially recipes.
I tend to believe that when someone shares a recipe with you, it means they care deeply about you enough to share a piece of their labor and of the resulting happiness upon tasting something worth the time to prepare.
grated zucchini soaking up extra water with a cotton towel
My dear friend, who I consider my long-lost sister, is always supportive of this blog and offers gentle suggestions and positive feedback. Most of all, she is happy for me- and happy to see my food shared with everyone else, too. Although they say misery loves company, what I’ve experienced as testament to good friendship is that when a friend is happy you’re doing really well, she is a good friend who sincerely wants to see you doing well and isn’t envious of your good fortune. In essence, that’s a very Islamic behavior and recommended in a hadith by our beloved Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). And that’s exactly the kind of friend she is to me.
We used to be neighbors, which was wonderful. Our doors opened up to a common hallway and we often times quickly traded plates of different courses for our dinnertime or even breakfast meals. She loved to experiment with all kinds of recipes, but at the heart of her daily menus were wonderfully crafted, simple and light Turkish dishes, especially salads. We would spoil one another with our shared leftovers and complimented one another’s dessert menus by switching off every few days. One day I’d make a coffee cake and when it was exhausted, she’d make a batch of savory cookies to go with tea. Our husbands certainly benefitted from the food swap and when they weren’t home, we’d often keep each other company by cooking parts of our meals together while talking to pass the time. Now that we don’t live close to one another, those are cherished memories and food is something we always remember as a bonding material in our lives.
Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when she called me recently and told me I had to try this recipe. She narrated the ingredients and method much like a story, mesmerizing me with simple ingredients made to sound like exotic elements I must incorporate immediately into my repertoire of best dishes. I barely got a chance to write it down the first time before asking her to repeat once again to create my shopping list.
I ended up following most of the ingredients, but some I didn’t have and others I added, so the tweaking came naturally as no specific measurements were exchanged— we were much too focused on the cream, the zucchini and what you can do with the resulting dip. Believe me, it’s worth every step.
Zucchini & Walnut Dip
It’s really important to squeeze all of the water out of the zucchini, as directed, in this dish. If not you run the risk of having a water-logged dip shortly after serving. That certainly isn’t appealing, but also disappointing, as the walnuts will eventually lose their crunch from being soaked–and the crunch is really my favorite part!
5 small zucchini (3 cups grated zucchini flesh)
2 cloves roasted garlic or 1 clove raw garlic (1 tablespoon)
½ cups good quality mayonnaise
1 cup whole milk yogurt
½ cup sour cream
salt, to taste
freshly grated ground pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried mint
½ dried dill
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Grate zucchini and place in a large cotton towel. Fold edges of towel and wring out the water from the zucchini. Dry all of the zucchini thoroughly.
- Place grated, dried zucchini in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients except nuts. Taste for salt, then fold in the nuts gently. Top with dried mint and dill.
- Serve with chopped veggies, chips or even something like perfectly baked spinach pies, which can be found at most Middle Eastern bakeries and grocery stores.