Caffeinated Cookies follow a bowl of warming soup and fresh veggies. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Soup is a thing here at the cove and I make a pot every week, year-round. I have my favorites, but I’m always up for trying something new.

This chicken soup is a lovely springtime bowlful of comfort to warm yourself after a damp day working in the garden or running errands in the rain. You can go beyond the basic recipe by adding a handful of asparagus or pea pods to the broth, or top each bowl with microgreens. My policy is to add fresh green things to my meal whenever I can.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundys Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

Serving the soup with lemon wedges, more fresh ginger and Sriracha sauce brightens the broth and adds more warming flavors. And if you want to add more veggies to the meal, how about some crudité and dip while that soup is simmering?

A platter of sliced carrots, radishes, broccoli and cucumbers can be complemented by any number of store-bought dips, or make something delicious on your own to keep around. I’ve found that having a covered “dish o’ dip” in the fridge encourages me to keep munching on those veggies instead of reaching for something that I shouldn’t.

Tzatziki is a cooling favorite that can be slathered on all kinds of edibles and can be made in a flash. If you don’t have fresh herbs, just use two teaspoons each of your dried herbs in the cupboard.

Now that I’ve just gone on about veggies, I’ll give you a recipe for a small batch of cookies! Mocha is one of my favorite flavors and let me tell you, these are satisfying little nibbles when you want that coffee-chocolate combo. I also crunched up a small amount of dark-chocolate covered espresso beans and added them to the dough. Perfection – if I do say so myself!

Poached Chicken Soup

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken
Water for the stockpot
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 celery stalks, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1/3 cup fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups spring vegetables, optional
1 cup baby spinach leaves, julienned
6 lemon wedges
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili garlic sauce
2-inch piece fresh ginger, julienned, optional

Place chicken in a large stockpot. Add ginger, onion, celery, carrots, herbs, peppercorns and salt. Fill pot with cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until chicken is tender and juices are running clear, about 1 1/2-2 hours, occasionally skimming foam off the surface.

Remove chicken from the pot and transfer to a plate to cool. Strain stock and discard fat and solids. Return the strained stock to the pot.

Shred the chicken meat and add it to the pot. Season with more salt if needed. Bring to a boil and add spring vegetables, if using, simmering just until tender. Stir in spinach and cook just until wilted.

Turn off heat and ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with more fresh ginger and serve with lemon wedges and Sriracha sauce. Yield: 6 servings

Tzatziki

1 peeled, halved and seeded English cucumber
1 lemon
2 cups plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a box grater, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in a fine-mesh sieve and allow liquid to drain for about 10 minutes. Squeeze grated cucumber in a clean towel to remove any remaining moisture. Discard liquid.

Grate zest from lemon into a bowl then halve the lemon and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Stir in yogurt and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 2 1/2 cups.

Caffeinated Cookies

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
Dash of salt
1 heaping teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Sprinkle of coarse sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugars and beat another 30 seconds. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat just until combined.

Whisk dry ingredients (except chips and sea salt) together in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Make 12 balls with the dough and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes then allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 dozen cookies

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