mercredi 8 août 2007

It really hasn't been that hot of a hot summer. This is a good thing.

Ranking really really high on the list of things I do not like to eat is yogurt.

I have never liked yogurt. There's something about its taste and consistency that are extremely off-putting. I also do not like sour cream, cottage cheese, nor mayonnaise as well, in case you were wondering. (Yet I really like aioli. Maybe it's the addition of garlic. Maybe it's the fact that it doesn't come in a gross cruddy glass jar that's been sitting in the fridge for aeons.)

Every couple of years, I'll try yogurt again, because I know it's supposed to be healthy and all that crap. The last round, approximately two years ago, had me trying all sorts of different yogurts, including that famed Fage. The only one I came remotely close to even being okay with was this brand called Liberté, which I had when the owners of a B&B in Montreal served it for breakfast. I bought some to try again at home, and realized that perhaps yogurt loses its healthy qualities when you dump truckloads of granola and honey atop it.

And yes, I do hate Pinkberry, because - it's supposed to taste like yogurt, but in frozen soft serve form. Guess what? It doesn't make it any more palatable to me.

Really, the only way I could have yogurt was if it was baked into a cake. Then it's not yogurt, it's cake. And the only bad cake is moldy cake.

But recently, I came across this lovely recipe that actually has me buying yogurt. I know! It's absolute madness! At my advisor's house last month, she had me make this chilled cucumber and yogurt soup, and it's not like I could say no, I refuse on the principles that I hate yogurt (especially since I had offered to help with dinner). Obviously I had to have some at dinner as well, and guess what? I didn't hate it!

It's a really light, refreshing summer soup. It falls under my "ladies who lunch" category - this is the type of soup that I'd imagine them having. It'd be perfect at a tea, or perhaps with some nice crusty bread, as a light dinner.


Chilled cucumber and yogurt soup with mint
Adapted from Patricia Wells's Vegetable Harvest (2007)

The original recipe calls for dill to be added. I don't like the taste of dill, so I omitted it. But if you really want dill, use 2 tablespoons when you blend the soup together, and then extra as garnish. I served the soup here in clear glasses. If only I had a patio - it's the perfect thing to sit outside and sip (aside from alcohol, of course).

It's also nice to perk it up a little with a squeeze of lime when serving it.

1 European or hothouse cucumber (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups nonfat yogurt
1 plump moist clove garlic, peeled, halved, green germ removed, minced
1/3 cup finely minced fresh mint leaves

Trim and peel the cucumber and cut into chunks. In a blender, combine the cucumber, salt, yogurt, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of mint. Purée.

Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and cover securely. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

At serving time, reblend the soup to a smooth purée with an immersion blender, a food processor, or a blender (or, just shake it all really well). Pour the soup into the chilled soup bowls. Garnish with the remaining mint and serve.