Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Whole Lotta Heat

All winter I did hot yoga (yoga in a room that's 90+ degrees). I loved it. It made me sweat. It made me cheerful. It helped me lose weight. But what I loved most was leaving class, going outside into the crisp 30 degree night, and feeling as though I lived in Florida, not Ohio.

Today it is 90+ degrees outside and I can't fathom doing hot yoga. This Ohio wet, breeze-less heat makes me feel dizzy and nauseous. And even a little irritable, especially because no matter what I cook it makes the house even hotter.

Bleu and I have taken to standing in front of the open fridge, acting like we're looking for something. It feels good for about a minute, but then I get nervous seeing the mustard bottles sweating and I close the door.

Today during our fridge cool-off time, Bleu and I spotted a bag of 7 small zucchinis that needed cooked. Being that it was early in the morning, it was the perfect time to cook.

Of course, I turned to Alice Waters and found her Spicy Summer Squash Soup with Yogurt and Mint.

Sure, let's add even more heat to an already hot summer day.

This soup is one of the easiest ones I've made, and it's awesome. But you need to like heat. I added the 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper it calls for and the first bite opened my throat and nostrils. After the second bite my brow began to perspire. Luckily, the yogurt and mint dressing begins to kick in and cool down the soup after about the fourth slurp.

The heat from this soup reminded me of hot yoga. It was cleansing and fresh. And there was a bit of struggle with sticking with such a spicy soup, especially on a day when it seems even the A/C unit is too hot to work, but the struggle turned into joy, which turned into a slightly religious, euphoric experience.

It was actually the perfect dish for today and made me appreciate "heat."

But I don't see myself doing hot yoga until at least November...

Spicy Summer Squash Soup with Yogurt and Mint
adapted from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

1/4 cup olive oil
3 medium new onions, sliced fine
1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
5-7 medium green or yellow summer squash, sliced
2 cups veggie broth
4 cups water
4 mint sprigs, leaves only
2 T olive oil
2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
lime wedges

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir often, and cook until the onions are soft and not brown. Add the squash to the pot, then the salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the garnish: Cut the mint into julienne. Pound half of it in a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the mint, and stir in the yogurt, olive oil, and some salt. When the squash is tender, let it cool for a few minutes, then puree until smooth. Serve topped with mint yogurt and with lime wedges on the side.


  1. dude, I can't believe you made soup today! I literally opened the cupboard, saw a thing of soup and thought "Wow...now that I don't live in central s/c I will only be eating soup from Sept to March." I too have been struggling to get to yoga b/c of the heat. I was thinking of doing a DVD of it infront of my computer tomorrow morning since it's prob about 95 degrees in my home office anyway. It's rough when you know you are going to walk out of yoga into HOTTER temps! For real, it is 5:00 here in Hudson, OH and a whomping 102 degrees. I'm scared for our planet...
    See you in a week and a half!

  2. Can't wait to see you too, mama! Hopefully, these temps will break when I come visit.

    I felt crazy making this and it seemed wrong to have soup on such a hot day, but it ended up being perfect. I'm thinking of trying it cold with dinner.