The summer heat has hit Santa Fe. Ironically, it’s drizzling rain outside as I write this, which is a meteorological event that I have never experienced while living in the desert southwest…But nevertheless, it’s been hot, and especially for an Oregon kid. Of course, one of the things I always forget about the yearly transition from cold seasons to hot seasons is how drastically my diet and food cravings shift as the weather does.
Here in Fanta Se, there is less of a normal, springy segue into summer and more of a wall of heat and brutal sun that hits one day in May as you’re leaving work.
Shit, that’s hot.
I’m so fortunate that I live alone because if there were anyone here to witness my crazed bodily temperature changes take place, I may very well be shipped off and locked up somewhere for experimental purposes. I hate to admit that I spend nearly 6 months of the year sleeping with an electric heating pad smashed into my body (on high, very dangerous, not recommended) and the other 6 months with fans on high, tossing and turning in my blanket-less bed like a helicopter, sweating the days through. Needless to say, my food habits change quite a bit. The chilly season finds me consuming more sweet potatoes, pot roasts, bourbon, oven-roasted coriander-rubbed vegetables and steaming coconut-quinoa oatmeal than anyone probably should, and I spend months shunning cold drinks, raw vegetables (with the exception of my addiction to baby carrots) and ‘chilled’ anything. But when the days start stretching out long and hot and the desert wind blows in relentlessly, bringing no respite to the feverish sunshine, all I want is things cold (or grilled!). Cucumbers, iced white wine, frozen watermelon, fresh green salad, grilled jerk tuna steaks, grilled Caesar salad, pickled fennel and grapefruit…oh, I could go on…
And of course, the year-round (thanks, Mexico!) mainstay: avocados. I will eventually scribe an entire post solely dedicated to the heavenly fruit, but for today I’ll keep it short. Avocados are fucking amazing. (Note: I’ll reserve expletives for when they’re truly necessary and I promise you, my feelings regarding avocados are strong enough for such a burly word as ‘fuck”).
Packed with fat, fiber, potassium and vitamins B and E, they are pretty impressive little super foods. Avocados are also insanely versatile in cooking and great in ‘creamy’ dressings, sauces and mousses (also fabulous when whipped with cashew puree, garlic, lemon, salt and red chile flakes…).
So in light of my need for chilled things, this cold cucumber avocado soup worked out quite well yesterday. It’s really pretty creamy, and I used a decent amount of water to get it to a consistency that I liked. You can obviously decide how thick you would like it, but I like it to be about like a thick crepe batter but not as thick as pancake batter.
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. Tahini
1 clove garlic, chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/4 C. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Water to thin
Put cucumber, avocado, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and herbs into food processor (or bowl and stick blender) and blend until smooth. Add water while mixing until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let chill in the refrigerator overnight or until cold. Serve with fresh parsley (or cilantro) as a garnish.