Infinitely Adaptable Instant Pot “end of the week” Soup

This is a template to employ some good ol’ chop therapy, clear out your fridge, and make some soup while you are at it. I call this a template because the base recipe can be adapted to any ingredients you have on hand that you want to use up, that have nowhere else to go. Random sausage links, throw them in. 2 ugly carrots, sure. Stale baguette that’s too dry to do anything with, absolutely! Old can of black beans with no future, use it up!

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Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk, Spinach and Turmeric

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Ever since Alison Roman’s “The Stew” became all the rage on Instagram last year (have you made her cookies “The Cookies” yet?) I have been obsessed with this stew. I’ve made it several times with my own tweaks and updates, and verbally shared the recipe with many. I also typed up my version of the recipe for my mom few months ago, when I should have just written this post to make it easier to share.

Because, The Stew is absolutely worth sharing and making, and making again! It is so nourishing, indulgent, warm and satisfying, not to mention easy, quick enough for a weeknight and do you see how gorgeous? Over the past year, I’ve made it with canned vs home-cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), with canned vs boxed (lite) coconut milk, in chicken broth vs vegetable broth vs water, with kale vs spinach vs chard, and inhaled it with grilled naan, or basmati rice, or just by itself. It is vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, and definitely one of the best things I’ve learnt to make from Instagram.

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Tiranga (Indian Tricolor) Mini Dosa

When you think about cooking and food as much as I do, anything that’s plain starts to look like a canvas. The Dosa (a fermented rice and lentil crepe from South India) with its mild, slightly tangy taste lends itself well to being a canvas on which other colors and flavors can shine. So, going with my tricolor (Tiranga, the Indian flag) theme, something I usually do every year on India’s Republic Day (January 26th) and Independence Day (August 15), I picked Dosa and used carrot pureé for the orange and spinach pureé for the green! Super easy and fun twist on regular Dosa (and even Idli) to celebrate my motherland!

In the past I’ve done this with Idlis and Dhokla (detailed recipe is already on the blog), and it was delicious! The carrot in particular tastes really good.

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Beckoning Spring + Rainbow Chard Crepes!

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A few weeks ago, we drove up couple hours north of San Francisco to check out some new places, early-Spring scenery and eat some oysters. We came back inspired, relaxed, and rejuvenated, already drawing up the schedule for a summer visit.

We went all the way north up to Cazadero and drove our way back south, visiting Tomales Bay, Inverness, Pierce Point (hello Elks!), Point Reyes, Bolinas and Stinson Beach, taking in the beautiful pastures, crisp air and grazing cows, as Northern California showed itself off preparing for an early Spring.

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Pretties from the Inverness, Point Reyes Station and Bolinas areas

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Kale Mashed Potatoes and Baked Salmon with Lemon and Capers

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Thanks to the unrelenting (!), ever-changing Bay Area weather (hey! we all need to find something to complain about), I was out of commission for most of last week, and unable to do the things I had set out to do – at work, at home and of course, in the kitchen. Since the weather improved a bit on Sunday, and thanks to the husband, I had my meal prep for the week (detailed post on that coming soon!) in the bag, I actually had the time, energy and freedom to make something new. Also, ingredients. And writing this up while holding my breath watching Beyonce do this at the Grammys was a nice end to a week-long illness.

Sometimes you need to put together a meal that scores on all accounts:

  1. Relatively healthy but not dull
  2. A li’l indulgent but not over the top
  3. Quick
  4. Easily adaptable with ingredients available on hand
  5. Doesn’t require dirtying all the pots/pans you own
  6. Delicious!

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Poach if you must…

But you need not.

If the sight of a runny egg yolk makes you feel weird, I’m sorry but the rest of this post is going to be about how to get the runny perfection which is oh-so-decadent, like the perfect dipping sauce for the…sorry. Yeah, so if you aren’t a fan, I apologize.

Because look at this! At some point I did teach myself to poach eggs (I wasted almost a dozen eggs trying to get it right) but thanks to Smitten Kitchen and the “5 1/2 minute egg”, I can dip my buttered toast into this luxurious egg yolk without making a big mess in the kitchen!

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