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Mind Your Melons 

It's hotter than a kitchen witch's tit, and the thought of turning on the stove is melting your brain. You've got no energy to cook, so don't. Uncook dinner instead.

This does not mean to head for the cereal box. All you need is a melon, a lime, some fresh mint and a blender (plus a few spices and aromatics to perk things up) and uncooked dinner can be yours in 10 minutes.

After work, you can stop off at the market, pick up just enough items to go through the express lane and make dinner in the amount of time it may take to pay a bill, listen to voicemail or contemplate the meaning of life. Ten minutes.

I'm not a fan of dairy-based soups, especially when they're cold, but in this case, I add a small amount of plain yogurt for body. When pureed, melon tends to separate, so a smidge of dairy is helpful to keep everything together.

With a quick whiz in the blender or food processor, the melon (I'm a sucker for cantaloupe, aka muskmelon) transforms into luscious velvet on the tongue; slurped without the heat of cayenne, a smidge of salt and some honey, however, the melon feels flat and uninteresting.

One note to keep in mind with cantaloupe: It can smell like a tropical heaven in the store but sometimes ferments quickly after being brought home. Keep refrigerated to suppress over-ripening. Otherwise, lap up this luscious puree that makes uncooked life feel quite decadent.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

1 large cantaloupe, seeded and cut into chunks

Approximately 5 tablespoons plain yogurt (alternatively, use soy milk, soy yogurt, buttermilk or cream)

1/4 cup chopped mint leaves, picked from stem and torn by hand

Squeeze of 1 lime

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Dash salt

Other possibilities: basil instead of mint, 1/4 cup white wine or vodka, sub 1 cucumber for 1 cup of melon, lemon instead of lime

Place melon in bowl of blender or food processor and puree. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Taste for consistency. If it seems too grainy, add a bit more yogurt or alternative dairy source.

Chill for at least one hour and serve. Taste before serving and adjust honey or lime if necessary. Makes four soup bowl servings.

Culinary questions? Reach CL's Kitchen Witch at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

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