Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bring on the Heat!

In one of my first jobs, in the Bay Area (i.e. near San Jose, CA), I worked with a number of guys who had somehow gotten out of what was back then still known as Red China (they all had horrific stories of the cultural revolution – first hand – though many no longer had parents because of it). Most of them came from a very hot region of China. High temps. High humidity. I believe they came from central China, maybe Sichuan – it is so long ago, I can’t remember exactly. But it was brutally hot there in the summer.

And naturally, they ate food so hot I couldn’t even withstand the smell of it. They put down hot chili peppers, raw, like they were carrot sticks. Hot peppers that caused my eyes to burn and my mouth to hurt for an hour after just a tiny nibble.



Hot regions favor spicy hot foods. Often smokin’ spicy hot foods. Up in northern Europe, Copenhagen, or Hamburg, or Amsterdam, or Liverpool, we got mild things, with dill and cream and vinegar. Down here near the deserts, we eat hot – as in spicy, even when it’s hot outside. ‘Cause we’re all masochistic nuts.

It’s like some testosterone fueled contest: ‘Who can stand the Heat’. “You think that’s hot? Watch this!” we gasp at each other, faces flushed, sweat streaming down our brows.

So we made some soothing cool cucumber yogurt soup.

Other then just climbing right in the freezer, what could be better? Cold yogurt. Cold cucumbers. Cool, cool dill. Chilled for hours before consuming.

But, of course, being that it’s hot here, we couldn’t leave things at that.

So we added some heat. To the cool, cool yogurt cucumber soup.

Chili peppers. Cayenne pepper. And chili powder.

We are masochistic nuts.



But it was wonderful. The cool, soothing flavors of the yogurt and cucumbers still predominated. But those flavors were backed up by a smokin’ hot symphony of fiery chili.

Since we’re gonna’ sweat anyways, we might as well enjoy it!


Fiery Cool Cucumber Soup
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds cucumbers (seeded), peeled and cut into pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
2 green onions, chopped
3 cups non-fat yogurt
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 serrano chili, (seeded if you want less heat)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice wine viengar
Additional yogurt, for garnish, if desired
Additional chopped red pepper, for garnish, if desired
Additional sprigs of mint, for garnish, if desired

Add all ingredients, except those for the garnish, to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Chill the soup for several hours before serving. Ladle the soup into chilled bowls, garnish with a scoop of yogurt, a sprinkle of chopped red peppers and a sprig of mint, if desired. Serve. Enjoy!


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5 Comments:

Blogger ilva said...

wow, sounds great!

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