Thursday, 31 January 2008
HotM 12: Stews and Casseroles
It’s that time of the month again! No, not when PMS hormones are raging and I feel like throwing books or other trinkets at LB when he asks me how my day is. It’s time for Heart of the Matter – the much-nurtured blogchild of the lovely ladies, Ilva and Joanna – whereby bloggers all over the world come up with heart-healthy dishes to share. Last month, my co-host Joanna had a great round up you can find here or here, and thanks to all of you, I now have plenty of fabulous soup recipes to get me through the rest of the gray Oregon winter.
Even more importantly, this is February, and if you’re in the USA, this is the month the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute has dedicated as American Heart Month. February 1st, coming up fast (ahem, tomorrow!), is also National Wear Red Day – to promote awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States. Regardless of where you are though, this disease kills and it’s a disease that is mostly preventable!! Which is the whole reason why we started this monthly event. This post that I did last year was what first started our conversations about starting the HotM, and next month, we’ll be celebrating the ONE YEAR anniversary of the HotM blog. Can you believe it? It’s very exciting what bloggers can do when they get together, and now we’ve all created a great archive of recipes from all over the world that are heart healthy and delicious!
This brings me to our current theme - for this month, we decided on a theme of Stews and Casseroles. Now, if you’re like me, you grew up where there wasn’t much distinction between a “soup” and a “stew.” Wikipedia, in fact, had a similar idea...
The distinctions between stew, soup, and casserole are fine ones. The ingredients of a stew may be cut into larger pieces than a those of a soup and retain more of their individual flavours; a stew may have thicker liquid than a soup, and more liquid than a casserole; a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter, unlike soup; and a stew can be cooked on either the stove top (or range) or in the oven, while casseroles are almost always cooked in the oven, and soups are almost always cooked on the stovetop. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is thin bodied, more like a soup.
A casserole in our house, however, was an entirely different matter. Casseroles were eaten with a fork and sometimes even a knife, and almost always cooked or at least finished in the oven. But some stews are heavy and hearty and cooked in the oven too - and sometimes served over mashed potatoes or couscous or some other goodness that will sop up all that yummy, thick sauce. So, however you might personally distinguish between a soup and a stew or a casserole, make it, bake it, or interpret it with all the creativity (and health-minded ingenuity) you can muster and send us your recipes for a heart-healthy stew or casserole. You could even surprise your Love for Valentine’s Day on February 14th with this heart healthy dish (if you do, send us the story!) – for what better a gift than protecting their heart?
If you’ve participated before, you already know the basics. If you haven’t, check here, here and here for ideas on what “heart-healthy” means, and we hope that you’ll join us! Again, we ask that this please be a single event entry (please don’t use your post for other events – that way we can keep things centered on healthy heart awareness). Just send me your entry at mphilli4 AT uoregon DOT edu by February 24, linking to my site, The Accidental Scientist (and to the HotM blog if you’d like) and I’ll post the round-up a few days later on both sites. Happy Cooking!!