Friday, May 28, 2010

Acclimating—With Cold Zucchini Basil Soup

Greetings from Texas!  After a round-a-bout road trip from Cleveland to Dallas via Chicago, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, a golf cart tour of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, enough cheese curds to kill any innocent lactose intolerant, and a road kill tally (of identifiable animals) of over 14 deer, 19 raccoons, 8 skunks, 5 jackrabbits, 6 turtles and 10 armadillos from central Wisconsin to Texas, we arrived in Dallas.

It is slowly sinking in that this will be my home for at least the next four years, and I’m alternating between feeling excitement and pure terror.  Mostly the terror isn’t for the place itself, although that comes in waves, but is more associated with the fact that in a few weeks I’m going to be a practicing physician after months of sitting on the couch.

I’ve heard it a thousand times, but Dallas is hot!  When we got here in the middle of the day, my little peanut of a car was roasting after an hour in the sun.  It’s only May.  My hands are so balloon-like swollen after walking around that I need a Lasix and if I had an unexpected trauma they would have to take a diamond saw to my ring. 

People say we’ll get used to the temperatures.  I have to think this is true, considering I somehow miraculously and unhappily got used to winters every year in Chicago, Vermont, and Cleveland.  Science shows as people acclimatize to hot weather, they begin to overheat less and sweat more efficiently without losing as much salt; this effect is thought to be enhanced by exercise [1,2].  Time to come out of hiding and go on a walk.

Well, I’m going to stay in hiding for just a few moments, because I’m thrilled to be back in the kitchen.  My new kitchen has seven outlets whereas my old kitchen had one.  I’ll be damned however if I turned on the oven unless necessary.  In keeping with my promise to myself to cook healthy food, I have done just that. It is amazing that after weeks of eating out how amazing a simply and freshly prepared meal at home can taste.

I based this cold zucchini basil soup on a zucchini salad that I love to make.  Before you say bleck, give me a chance.  The soup is bright, tangy and delicious.  If you marinate raw zucchini in lemon juice and salt, then not unlike ceviche, the lemon softens the zucchini and blunts the rawness as well as releases a lot of liquid which makes a great base for the soup.  I then added basil, raw garlic, olive oil and a touch of the lovely Mexican cream I love down here to make a lovely cold, pureed and very green soup.  Light, refreshing and easy.  Just like the next few weeks of my life…

Creamy Cold Zucchini Basil Soup

4 medium zucchini
2 large lemons
½ tbsp salt
½ cup packed basil leaves
2 green onions whites and greens
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup Mexican sour cream (or just take ½ cup sour cream and add 2 tbsp milk to thin)
Water (if needed to thin soup)

Grate zucchini.  Add lemon juice and salt to zucchini in large bowl and refrigerate until cold and zucchini has begun to release juice at least one hour.  Loosely chop garlic, basil leaves and green onion.  Reserve grated zucchini for garnish.  To blender add all ingredients and water if necessary.  Serve cold.

1. Chinevere, TD., et al. “Effect of heat acclimation on sweat minerals.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, v. 40 issue 5, 2008, p. 886-91.
2. Kampmann, B., et al. “Lowering of resting core temperature during acclimation is influenced by exercise stimulus.” European Journal of Applied Physiology, v. 104 issue 2, 2008, p. 321-7.


  1. This looks great! What would you recommend serving with it?
    Welcome to Texas!

  2. Thanks Victoria! I served it as a first course to some simple grilled chicken and some ripe tomatoes with salt and olive oil. Easy!

  3. I love the color that you got on this soup! It makes me almost feel how cool and refreshing it is. Good luck in your new home!

  4. Welcome to Dallas. Found you from a tweet to midwifeamy. I'm really confused about something, though. Why don't you want to turn on the oven? I've used mine for both lunch and dinner today. :)