Heat wave. Outside the doors that keep us cool and safe inside. It builds up from the morning hours until it reaches a point of no return come mid-afternoon. It starts in the crack of day when the window, left slightly ajar for the breeze the night before, lets the dry air, hot and humid, work its way into the bedroom where it instantly battles the cold blowing through the vents. It takes seconds for our eyes to adjust, instantly realizing that something is amidst. Summer is blooming and her presence has been felt.
Out back in the heat of her day the only sounds you hear are made by children of all ages laughing and playing, jumping in pools or sliding down the hills on watered slippery mats. Kids are brave enough for nearly anything, choosing play over comfort. Every time. We on the other hand hide from the harshest hours and enjoy the breeze that accompanies later hours, when the humidity dips and the temperature is more manageable. If we’re forced outside I struggle with the ferocity of the weather and resort to other methods to cool myself down. Down.
The cycle of weather and seasons, like life, forces us to change and bend along with them. Adapt. And when July rolls in and brings the hottest days seen all year-long I turn to ice-cold drinks and cool variations of recipes saved for fall and winter. Lighter, cooler and welcomed with open arms. Granitas, sorbets, slushies, ice packed drinks, and chilled soups like gazpacho. And this.
Yesterday, when the warnings of impending doom (or at least seasonal highs and humidity alerts) caused every person to crank up their home air conditioners. I tried to find another method to help us. So I turned to a cool soup, chilled in fact, and a bucket of bevies to help stem the tide. And cool us down. And the obvious place to start was with a cucumber recipe I picked up from an old restaurant chef from my days in that industry, only switching it up to make it my own and adding some additional ingredients so it tasted like the antidote to summer’s scorn.
And this was the result. Tart and sweet and refreshing. So refreshing. The perfect recipe to calm everything down. Lighten things up and stir the soul along the way. Heat wave. Outside it’s a hot mess, sticky and dry and threatening. But at least I have this to assist in cooling me down. A small answer, but an answer nonetheless. And as the heat reaches new highs and as warnings cry out to take cover in the inner comforts of home, we now have other methods. And I’m glad for that.
From my kitchen to yours,
CHILLED CUCUMBER & APPLE SOUP
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved and cut into thick slices
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 green onions, sliced diagonally
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. lime juice plus 1 tsp. lime zest
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups yogurt
- coarse salt & ground pepper
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for one minute, or until tender. Add in the cucumber and apples and for a further two minutes, stirring often. Add the lime juice and zest and the stock and salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to gentle simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer soup to a processor and blend into smooth. Add in the mint and puree. Pour through a fine sieve and into a large bowl and stir in the yogurt. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until chilled.
- Serves 4.