January is National Soup Month, at least, it is according to the good people at Campbell’s, and we feel like they know a thing or two about soup. And here at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, we know a bit about soup, too.
For example, according to this article published in The Nurse Practitioner, there may just be something to the idea that chicken soup is a valid treatment for the common cold. According to this paper, it provides relief from symptoms and decreases the inflammatory response related to viral illness- in other words, chicken soup might actually make you feel better when you’re sick. SCIENCE!
Regardless of its efficacy, who doesn’t like a hot bowl of soup in the winter, regardless of whether you’re under the weather? Research and Instruction Librarian Jane recommended this pot of Fire Roasted Tomato Soup for a yummy meal. If you’re looking for a weekend project (it is supposed to be quite chilly), make someone’s day with a labor-intensive batch of delicious Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (aka Jewish Penicillin). For vegetarians/vegans/spicy food lovers, this Lentil and Coconut Soup with Cilantro-Habanero Gremolata is delicious and cheap to make. It also makes enough soup to freeze for the next time you feel the sniffles coming on.
There’s a proverb (of Spanish or Portuguese origin, apparently) that states: “Of soup and love, the first is best.” We offer no opinion on the matter, but wish you a wonderful National Soup Month.
This Sunday is the great feast of Easter, the high point of the Christian calendar (nb: Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on Sunday, May 1). Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and ends the season of Lent, which began on February 10.
The final week of Lent is called “Holy Week” and the three days preceding Easter are referred to the “Holy Triduum,” which consists of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. These three days which recount the final three days of Jesus’ life are marked by Christians around the world by religious observances, fasting, pilgrimages, and acts of repentance.
Ending this intense period of devotion is the Great Vigil on the eve of Easter. Christian communities around the world celebrate Easter Sunday with grand religious processions, the giving of small gifts, and feasts with family and friends. If you are celebrating Easter, we wish a most joyous feast!
Learn more about the “Holy Week” and Easter:
- Holy Week – PBS
- During Holy Week, Christians across globe observe Jesus’ final days (Photos) – PBS
- Easter Celebrations Through the Centuries – NPR
- Beyond Bunnies: The Real Meaning Of Easter Season
- Easter Feast Essentials – New York Times
Image credit: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0.
The weather is beautiful and finally hot! So that means the last thing we want to do is turn the oven on or spend time laboring over a hot stove. Salads are always a good summer meal option, but why not try a cold soup?
My favorite cold soup is šaltibarščiai, a traditional Lithuanian cold beet soup. It involves a lot of chopping, but overall it’s pretty easy to make. It is also delightful shade of hot pink. I recommend using kefir instead of buttermilk, but you can also omit the eggs and dairy make it vegan-friendly and no less delicious.
Not in the mood to use the stove at all? Martha Stewart’s Avocado, Radish, and Basil Soup is a no-cook recipe–just throw everything in the blender!
There are also cold soups to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try something like this cold berry soup. The ingredients may seem like an odd combination, but they go together surprisingly well.
If you’d prefer solid food, try one of these no-bake desserts.
And for those times when you just can’t beat a craving for a cookie, here are some instructions for making cookies in a pan on your stove. It uses low heat, so shouldn’t warm your kitchen up too much!
We spoke too soon! It would seem that chilly weather is back for a bit. But there’s one benefit to this unwelcome temperature drop: fresh baked goods hot out of the oven are appealing again. And conveniently, there’s a holiday on June 6th that encourages enjoying just that: National Applesauce Cake Day.
Not familiar with it? Neither were we, but it seems that The Internet is. While the origins of National Applesauce Cake Day are unknown, it is agreed that June 6th is the day to celebrate it. The consensus seems to be that it’s a celebration of the humble and delicious Applesauce Cake, which was lauded as a patriotic dessert during World War I and the Depression. It could be easily made at home and was more economical than other types of cakes, since applesauce reduces the amount of butter, sugar, and eggs needed in a recipe.
Easy and cheap? Sounds perfect for a busy student on a budget. Applesauce is also a healthier alternative to oil in a recipe or a vegan-friendly replacement for eggs and butter.
Let us know if you have any recipe suggestions or know of another wacky food-related holiday!
Got that seasonal craving for corned beef, but not in the mood for a boiled dinner? Try making a hash!
Substituting cauliflower for potatoes is a great way to cut down on carbs or to protect yourself from potato overload if, like me, you’re planning to eat a bunch of potatoes in another form (boxty anyone?).
The caramelized cauliflower compliments the saltiness of the corned beef and will add a number of great nutrients to your dish!
I use this recipe from I Breathe I’m Hungry as my guide, but like to improvise by throwing some leeks in as well.
I recently convinced myself that August is National Tomato Month. Possibly because I have spent the last several weeks gorging on the beautiful New England tomatoes making their way to the Boston farmers’ markets and local farm stands.
Imagine my dismay when I discovered that August celebrates many foodstuffs, including sandwiches, catfish, and peaches, but according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Fresh Tomato Day falls on April 6th.
Now, if you dragged yourself through many, many miserably damp days in March and April of 2014, you know for a fact that there was not a local, sun-ripened, fresh tomato to be found in Boston on April 6th. And I’m not the only person who thinks August is the time to celebrate the glorious tomato. Consider the world-famous, tomato-centric celebration known as La Tomatina in Buñol, a small Spanish town in Valencia that attracts over 30,000 people every August.
This is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful ripe tomatoes of all varieties. They are also a superfood, rich in Vitamin C and fiber, as well as beta-carotene and lycopene. Read more about the health benefits of eating tomatoes in the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy tomatoes, here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen
- Roasted Tomato Soup from 101 Cookbooks
- Heirloom Tomato Tart from Joy the Baker
And of course, you can always just eat a perfectly ripe tomato all on its own, preferably over the kitchen sink.
This delicious, flavorful Vietnamese dish is a personal favorite shared by a close friend. It’s a soup to make any time of the year to enjoy among family and friends.
Prep time: 1 hour and 15 mins.
Cook time: 2 hours
2 tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce
3 stems of green onion, chopped
1 tbs. beef spice (Gia Vi Nau Bo Kho)
1 tbs. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1lb beef stew meat (chuck)
Marinate beef with sugar, salt, beef spice, soy sauce, green onion, and garlic for at least 1 hour. For best flavor, marinate overnight in the fridge.
1lb carrots, chopped
1 stem of lemongrass, cut into 5 inch pieces
1 tbs. canola oil
2 tbs. beef spice (Gia Vi Nau Bo Kho)
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic, chopped
6 (8oz)cans of reduced sodium chicken broth
1 pkg rice noodle (Banh Pho Tuoi)
herbs (mint, cilantro, and/or basil leaves)
1. Brown garlic with oil in a 6 quart pot, after it turns a golden color, put meat in.
2. Cook meat thoroughly, and then add 4 cans of chicken broth and 4 cans of water.
3. Add beef spice, sugar, salt, and then stir.
4. Add pieces of lemon grass stem (only used for flavor, to be discarded upon serving).
5. Let simmer for about 1 ½ hours.
6. Add carrots, 2 remaining cans of chicken broth and 2 cans of water.
7. Let simmer for ½ hour more, stirring occasionally.
8. Cook rice noodles as indicated.
9. Discard lemongrass pieces and serve soup over noodles in a bowl.
9. Garnish with mint leaves, basil, or cilantro.
Yields approximately 4 quarts | Serving size: 3 cups | Calories per Serving: 306 | Servings: approximately 5
Passover begins Monday evening, April 14th and here is an easy matzo bark recipe with that appealing sweet and salty combination.
3 sheets matzo
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c pecans, toasted
1/2 c unsweetened coconut, toasted
1 chocolate covered toffee bar (such as Heath or Skor), chopped
2 tsp flaky sea salt
- Heat oven to 350 F. Place matzo on baking sheet and bake until golden brown (10 minutes)
- Sprinkle chocolate over the matzo, return to oven and bake until it melts (about 30 seconds)
- Remove the baking sheet and spread chocolate over the matzo with back of spoon or spatula
- Sprinkle with pecans, coconut, toffee bar and salt. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes
- Refrigerate until firm (at least 10 minutes) and then break into pieces and enjoy!
Spring is here, even if the weather seems to indicate otherwise! Take your mind off the snow and brighten up your day with these vibrant lemon cookies. They are one of my favorite springtime treats. Enjoy with a cup of tea, a dollop of ice cream, or unadorned, by the fistful.
Crispy/Chewy Lemon Cookies
from Cate’s World Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract (if you don’t have any, you can add an additional tsp of zest)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (takes about 2 medium lemons)
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (2 medium lemons will probably give you enough, but I’ll often use 3 for extra zing)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and shortening until smooth.
3. Beat in the sugar and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy.
4. Add the extracts, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix until smooth.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
6. Roll a scant tablespoon of dough at a time into a ball then flatten slightly and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.They spread a lot while baking so make sure there is ample space between them, unless you want one giant cookie (which, hey, maybe you do!).
7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden.
8. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. You’ll want to be sure to get the cookies off the cookie sheets while they are still hot and soft, as they will harden quite a bit as they cool.
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