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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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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When it comes to chili, I'm definitely not a purist. Beans or no beans, meat or no meat, as long as there's a good kick of chile pepper in some form, I'm happy. Lately, I've been gravitating toward meatless recipes like this slow cooker vegetarian chili from Amee's Savory Dish, which combines four different types of canned beans with corn and tomato. Perfect for Meatless Monday, or any day of the week, vegetarian or vegan chili packed with beans, legumes, and vegetables will satisfy everyone in the family. Make your chili on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker. I promise, you'll never miss the meat.
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