It was the kind of heat that makes the air stand still. Sticky, still air. 90 degrees and about 1000 percent humidity, was the temperature last Sunday. Add to that a dirty brick apartment with no air conditioning and you’ve got yourself one miserable blogger. All I wanted to do was drive in my air-conditioned car to a mall and walk around in all its air-conditioned glory, but my dirty apartment called. I simply couldn’t put off the vacuuming, dusting and mopping one more week. And so, I cleaned. It was a dirty, sweaty job and, in the end, I was a beet-red, frizzy-haired mess and I still had dinner to think about. Going out wasn’t an option and the thought of turning on the stove was enough to make me panic. I suddenly remembered a cookbook with a summer soups chapter. Flipping through, I chose the one that required absolutely no heat at all: chilled cucumber soup.
The base consisted of buttermilk, yogurt, pureed cucumber and garlic. I mixed in chopped parsley, dill, chives, cubed cucumber, almonds, and salt and pepper and that was it. As it chilled in the refrigerator I turned on every fan in the house, put a bottle of Viognier in the fridge and indulged in a guilty pleasure. Sunday afternoon Lifetime movies. After 2 hours of Nora Robert’s flicks, I readied myself some cold dinner. The soup was creamy from the yogurt and buttermilk, but not heavy. And the pureed cucumber was incredibly refreshing, like a drink of cool water. The herbs made the soup even more fresh-tasting and the crunchy almonds and diced cucumber were a perfect complement to the smooth base. The raw, minced garlic gave the soup just enough spice.
While I normally don’t like my white wine ice cold, on this particular night, I didn’t mind. The “green” notes still came out and I think the dryness was a winning match with the cucumber and herb flavors. The most surprising thing about this meal was that I wasn’t expecting it to completely satisfy my hunger. I always thought of cold soups as an appetizer as opposed to a full meal. However, I found myself satisfied, but not full and, most importantly, I was cool and refreshed.