Look to sunny citrus to brighten your mood and add a zing to winter soups
Today, let's look on the bright side.
Sure, it's been a long, hard winter and we're still in the thick of it. Yet, there's one thing that (almost) makes it worthwhile.
It's citrus season.
Yep, now is the time of year when all that sweet and juicy goodness is at its absolute best. Not only is citrus a nice burst of sunshine in your kitchen, but there are also all kinds of health reasons to consume it -- from vitamins B and C to compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
No matter your citrus of choice, these fruits are high fiber, low calorie and so much fun to cook with -- the possibilities are endless.
Think of the possibilities: Blood oranges in a salad, grilled chicken with lemon sauce, shrimp tacos with lime or beef stew with orange zest.
Of course, there are plenty of dessert options, too. It's hard to be in a bad mood when there's Key lime pie in the fridge or a pan of lemon bars in the oven.
And why wait until summer for some fresh lemonade?
Citrus also is great in any number of soups. Lemons, in particular, can add just the right touch of acidity and brightness. Whenever I make a soup that falls flat, a squeeze of lemon juice often is the way to fix it.
This recipe for Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup calls for both lemon juice and zest. I used Meyer lemons, which are a little sweeter than regular lemons, but either kind will work just fine. The addition of spinach adds another flavor and nutrient punch.
It's also super easy -- especially if you have a cooked chicken breast in the freezer.
So, stock up on some citrus. I promise you it will go a long way toward brightening your mood.
• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's director of strategic marketing and innovation and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.