My husband Ted's aunt and uncle live near Lake Chapala in central Mexico. On one of our visits, on one of those blazing hot days that sound so good to us here in Rhode Island at this time of year, we went out for lunch to a little local restaurant, and we ordered tortilla soup, nothing as inventive as this white bean chipotle chicken tortilla soup from Soup Addict, but very good. Yes, it is true: hot soup on a hot day will help you cool down. Eventually. The cooling doesn't happen right away, but it does happen. In the meantime, your mouth tingles from the chile peppers in the tomato-y soup, mingled with the bite of some lime juice and the crunch of tortillas. It's sublime, really.
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With the possible exception of chocolate cake, nothing in the world soothes the aching spirit more than chicken stew. And when we need to soothe our aching bodies, too, these are the recipes to do the job. Now that most of the snow has melted off the garden, we're out there on weekends tidying up, pruning and trimming and hauling debris to the compost pile. At the end of a long day of yard work, a nice hot chicken stew is most welcome indeed. Use your slow cooker when you can, as Jeanette did in this Crock Pot Jamaican spiced chicken stew, from Jeanette's Healthy Living, but remember that all of these recipes can be made on the stovetop as well.
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Do you fall in love with miso soup every time you eat at a Japanese restaurant, but think the soup is too hard to make at home? It's not complicated, and even if you don't have a pantry full of exotic ingredients, you can make a satisfying bowl of soup with only miso and water. Miso, which you find in the refrigerated aisle of many grocery stores (or in an Asian market), comes in different colors. The lighter the color, the milder the miso; when in doubt, simply buy the lightest color you find. My store only carries miso that is the color of butterscotch, so that's what I consider "all-purpose" miso. It adds a pleasingly salty flavor to soups like this bowl of udon noodles with tofu and asparagus in miso broth, from Kahakai Kitchen, and makes a fine base for a glaze for seafood. It's not expensive, and a little goes a long way.
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