It's that time of year again. The time of the year when my classes are filled with sniffling, sneezing, coughing students. I've taken to bringing a large jug of hand sanitizer with me to class, and I set this up, next to a gigantic box of tissues, on the desk in front of me. It's amazing how grateful the students are. "Thank you SO much, Professor M.," a stuffed-up student told me yesterday. "I've been using paper towels to blow my nose." And then he sneezed. Right over my folders. ************* This week has been pretty awful--in ways I can't write about. But it's Friday today, and all bad weeks come to an end, with a large and grateful exhale, at that same glorious stopping point. I've barely had time to get through the grading that's piled up on me this week, let alone try out any different and tantalizing recipes I can share with you. So forgive me a recipe repost, in the name of the changing seasons, awful-crazy weeks, and all the sneezing students in my life. Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup 1 cup firm tofu cut up into slivers or narrow strips 2-3 cups vegetable broth (use 3 if you want more broth--I tend to use 3) 2 cups water 1/2 package of sliced mushrooms (you can add the whole package if you love mushrooms) 1 cup snow peas, cut into strips (you can leave these out, or add other veggies like broccoli or sliced carrots) 1 can bamboo shoots 1 can diced water chestnuts 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2-3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 cup green onion 1 tablespoon miso paste 1 teaspoon chopped ginger The first time I made this we were out of ginger and miso, and it turned out just wonderfully. But the ginger adds a nice flavor to it, and it's really good for you, too, as is miso paste, which is virtually tasteless if you're worried about it. If you have trouble finding miso you can get a miso soup base (most Asian markets sell it) and just add it to the broth. Throw everything into a soup pot and let simmer until the mushrooms are soft, then add more vinegar, etc., to season according to your taste. You can also put it all in the crockpot, and let it cook while you're out--or languishing on the couch. Happy Friday!