Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cool As a Cucumber - Minted Cucumber Soup

I really don't deal with heat all that well.  How I survived 13 years in San Diego and 2 years in Palm Springs, I will never know.  Though there were a couple times, in the Coachella Valley, when the temperature was above 115, that I seriously contemplated filling the bathtub with ice and taking a long soak. I think it stems from the heat exhaustion I experienced one summer while helping a family friend re-roof their house in the middle of August.  Looking back, I see that it probably wasn't the BEST time of year to take on a project like that, but what did I know, I was only 17. 

The point is, that I start becoming uncomfortably warm at 75 degrees.... by 80, I am pretty miserable.....  at 85 degrees Ugh!, at 90 degrees somebody just needs to shoot me now and put me out of my misery. 

Conversely, I run around in 45 degree weather wearing a T-shirt and no jacket.  So I guess my comfortable temperature zone has just shifted slightly to the lower registers.

Be that as it may, the temperature has been in the 80s for the last couple weeks, thus I have begun to crave foods that cool me down on the inside.  Salads are at the top of the list in weather like this however, I have found that I can only consume so much salad before it begins to shred the edges of my sanity.  Before the psychological damage is irreparable, I turn to things like Ceviche or Sushi (though sushi can be a little tricky at home).... Then there is the issue of JUST how much seafood one can stomach in a week.  That is when it's time for soup.  Yep, soup... 

I don't mean the hot, steamy, stick to your ribs kinds of soup that you consume during those cold months of the year.... I am talking about cold soups... Like Vichyssoise, Gazpacho and, of course, Minted Cucumber Soup. 

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will be fully aware of my love of Greek food...  In particular things like Sopa Avgo-Lemono (Egg-Lemon soup), which is also delicious when cold I might add, and that ever so evocative Tzatziki sauce that so lovingly adorns most Gyros.  Well, Minted Cucumber soup is really just a less viscous version of Tzatziki.  And that makes it Uber-Tasty.  Don't let the yogurt fool you, it sounds like it would be a heavy "Cream soup" texture, but it really isn't like that.  It's extremely light and refreshing.  The small amount of heavy cream sort of plays down the "lactic tang" of the yogurt, making a clear path for the clean brightness of the lemon juice and the cucumber. 

So the next time you need some cooling off, give this a try...  I am positive that you won't be disappointed.

Minted Cucumber Soup

24 oz Cucumbers
2 tsp fresh Dill, chopped
1 TB fresh Mint, chopped
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp White Pepper
1 TB Lemon Juice
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive oil
16 oz plain low fat Yogurt (preferably one without carageenan, locust bean gum, xanthan gum or pectin)
4 oz Heavy Cream

Peel the cucumbers and cut them into more managable chunks.

Slice each chunk in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Deposit the seedless cucumber chunks into the bowl of your food processor or your blender.

Blitz the heck out of them until you have a nice watery puree, then move the puree to a serving bowl.

Finely chop the Dill and the Mint.

Add the chopped Herbs, Salt, White Pepper, Lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Stir to combine.

Add the Yogurt and the Heavy Cream.

Whisk everything together well.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving.

Garnish if desired. (I like to save back a few slices of unpeeled cucumber and some mint tops to form a garnish)

Ahhhhhh....   The epitome of cool.


1 comment:

Patti T. said...

Looks lovely and sounds oh so refreshing! It has been soooooo hot here lately, a refreshing recipe is just what is needed.