I know I'm rushing the season a bit, but I just can't help it. I adore asparagus, and as soon as it starts to show up in the grocery store -- from who-knows-where -- I lose my resolve to wait until May, when I can buy local spears at the farmers' market. If you're impatient like I am, or if you're lucky enough to live in a place where you can get local asparagus now, this Simmer is for you. Most of the time, I reach for chicken stock when I'm making asparagus soup, but today I'm sharing links to recipes like this chilled asparagus soup with spinach and avocado, from Simple Nourished Living, that do not use chicken stock as a base. Asparagus soups are delicious hot or cold, which means these recipes will carry you through from now until late summer.
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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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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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