20-minute Instant Pot soup in the fall

My first attempt at using the Instant Pot. Is it a great soup? No, not really, but it’s nutritious and fairly delicious and satisfying. And it’s a one-pot endeavor, even using frozen stock! Has extra step of briefly sauteing onion, and then a quick toss of garlic and carrots, and then everything goes into the pot. Pressure setting of soup with steam vent locked closed and 20 minutes later: Voila! Soup in pot.


Onion, small, diced
Carrot, large, cut into half moons
garlic, minced
Kale, rinsed and torn from stems, perhaps into smaller pieces
Mushrooms, sliced. Nice selection of mitake, shiitake and oyster perhaps
Potato, scrubbed and cut into medium chunks, not large.


Turn on sauté function and heat up. Add 1 T olive oil, and sauté one small diced onion for 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, carrot, and sauté briefly. Add one potato, cubed, sliced mushrooms and kale leaves, rinsed. Add in 1 pint frozen vegetable stock and equal part water and perhaps some dried thyme or even better, fresh stems.
Cook on high pressure on soup setting. Release steam vent manually.

Add to bowls: leftover chicken and/or rice.


A nice fall soup — napa cabbage and shrimp, Vietnamese style

Just as fall is settling in and there is Napa cabbage in the market (or your CSA), this is a nice transitional seasonal soup. Neither light nor overly heavy, it makes for a satisfying and unfussy dinner, perhaps with some leftover rice.


Vegetable stock or quick stock (carrots, onions and leek tops)
Onion, thinly sliced
Leek, thinly sliced (optional)
Garlic cloves, 2, minced
carrots, 2, diced
Fish sauce, 1 T
Napa cabbage, ~ 6 c, sliced
Shrimp, peeled and deveined — 6 per person
Scallion greens, sliced thin


Sauté garlic and then onion and leeks and then carrots for about 4 minutes.
Add fish sauce and salt, and cook about 30 seconds.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Then add cabbage, turn down heat and simmer about 4 minutes until soft. Add shrimp (and cook in strainer submerged in soup for easy retrieval) and cook about 3 minutes.
Put leftover rice in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle on soup and shrimp, and garnish with scallion green tops. Mmmm.

Inspiration: Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nyugen


Vegetable Soup

Easy, nutritious, very delicious with your fall CSA share!

vegetable stock or water, 3 c
Onion, diced
carrots, 6 small, diced
Celery, 1-2 stalks, diced
garlic, 1-2 cloves, minced
Potatoes, 5 or more, peeled and large dice/small pieces
Turnip, peeled and cut up
tomato paste
green vegetable such as spinach, steamed
olive oil for drizzling


Cut up onion and sauté in large soup pot in olive oil for at least 8 mins until soft. Add butter and sauté carrots and celery; add salt and sauté another 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add tomato paste and Harissa — less than 1 T each; stir and cook a minute. Next add potatoes and cover with stock. Boil for 10 minutes. Add S&P. Add turnips and more stock to more than cover, and cook uncovered at gentle boil until tender, which may take another 20 minutes. OPTIONAL: add chunks of carrot, parsnip and/or potato with turnips. Add green beans after pureeing.
Purée with immersion blender.
Serve in bowls topped with steamed spinach, drizzled olive oil and parmesan cheese. Pass the salt.
Bread is good with this. Focaccia: perfection!

Fall Vegetable Soup

I have been putting off making soup, thinking it’s a big production — to figure out components AND spices. Thinking: Tunisian, Thai, etc. which got too complicated and became an unproductive dead end (Are dead ends *ever* productive?)

So I had some lovely vegetables from my CSA share, and it being my Sunday night, I decided it was time to make some plain soup. Well I’m here to say that once again having good quality ingredients makes ALL the difference! I used no spices beyond salt and pepper and this soup was delicious! I had: carrots, potatoes, leeks, turnips, garlic and onions. So that was my soup!

I didn’t have vegetable stock handy to use as a soup base, so at Deborah Madison’s guidance I figured I would start with a “quick stock”, and I ended up making a full stock — which is still quick because 40 minutes is fine for vegetables. Also I found making stock is not such a big production if you use a regular size pot I realized last night. I had my base stock simmering while I prepared the ingredients for soup.

Make vegetable stock with onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns.

Soup Ingredients:

3 carrots, peeled and large dice
2 leeks, cut in half, rinsed and large dice
Turnips, peeled and cut into large dice
4-5 potatoes, peeled, quartered and thin slices

Turnip greens


Prepare vegetables and then put 2 T butter into soup pot, heat on medium heat and add carrots, leeks, turnips and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, add S&P. Add stock to cover by 2” or more. Cover partially, and cook at simmer for 20+ minutes

Separately boil greens for 3 minutes or less. Mustard greens are good here; boil for 10 minutes, drain and add to soup at end of cooking time. (Optional with greens: red pepper flakes and parmesan in bowls.)

A lovely soup that you can keep in your refrigerator for two days.

Summer vegetable soup

When you tire of summer salads, try soup! Now that seems like an odd notion in mid-summer. But…. High-summer season vegetables are coming in now: zucchini, green beans, sweet, sweet carrots. So toss them all in a soup pot and after you make some vegetable stock, make some vegetable soup. Nutritious, delicious and naturally low-calorie/carb.


1 onion (or 2 spring onions, with greens cut up and added later)

2 large carrots, diced medium

4 garlic cloves, minced medium

thyme – fresh or dried

1 zucchini – soaked, then cut into quarters and sliced

1 bay leaf

¼ to ½ # green beans, tipped and tailed, cut into 1-1/2 to 2” pieces OR bunch of swiss chard, stems removed, leaves torn and washed

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed

optional: corn cut from 2-3 ears; leftover rice; parmesan cheese rind; scallions if no fresh onion greens


  1. Put zucchini in sink or bowl to soak whole. (Removes any soil that settled into skin.) Dice onion, then carrots.
  2. Heat soup pot and add 2-3 T oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions with salt until soft. Add carrots, zucchini, thyme, S&P (hearty pinch of salt!), and cook until softened. Stir in garlic and bay leaf and cook for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in vegetable stock – about 4-5 cups total (can include some water), and bring to rapid simmer. Throw in green beans and cook about 10+ minutes until just tender. Add rinsed beans, and corn and/or rice, if using.


If you have leftovers, refrigerate for up to one week.

Inspiration source

Cream of cauliflower soup

It is cold, cold, dead of winter cold.  And did I mention dreary?  No snow.  Just cold.  And grey.

Time to make soup!  Decided to buy a head of cauliflower.  Got out the frozen chicken stock.  We’re not calling it chicken soup — though it’s that — but rather with a head of cauliflower and some cream, we’re calling it cream of cauliflower soup.

Here’s the idea of it:  Defrost a quart of chicken stock.  If it’s still frozen, heat it up in a saucepan, probably covered.  Saute some onions/leeks and celery, add cumin and ginger (powdered) and garlic (always!), the cauliflower, broken up into florets by cutting out core, 1 quart stock and 2 c water.  Cook for 15 mins.  Throw the solids into a food processor, probably in batches, not bothering to get out a second pot.  Add 1/2 c or more of heavy cream and heat with S&P.  Voila!  Call in dinner.

While you’re at it, cook a brisket to eat the next night.  Why not.


  1. Defrost and/or heat up 1 qt. chicken stock. Rinse and de-core one head of cauliflower, which will create florets. Don’t worry about size.
  2. Dice one stalk celery with some inner leaves.  Dice one onion (or leeks, if you have ’em).
  3. Get out soup pot and put on medium heat with 2 T butter and 2 T oil.  I used olive earl.  Throw in your celery and onions, and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins.  About 4 mins before the end, add minced garlic, probably about 3 cloves.  At end, add 2 t curry powder, and 2 t powdered ginger, some S&P.  Cook spices for only 1 min.image
  4. Add cauliflower, stock and water.  Cook 15 mins uncovered, breaking up cauliflower a bit, until tender.  Let cool for about 15 mins or so.image
  5. Scoop out cauliflower, etc (leaving liquid in pot) into food processor.  Don’t fill too much.  Process and return to pot.  Scoop out more large solids and repeat.  Return all to pot with 1/2c+ of heavy cream.  Add S&P and heat through.  Call it dinner.  With some cheese and crackers.


Inspiration/source:  Sheila Lukins, Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Epicurious Oct 2008

Split pea soup


If you go to holiday parties in December, odds are you are going to see baked hams.  They show up at all parties — high-end to low-brow, culinarily speaking. (Contra Dorothy Parker:  “Eternity is a ham and two people.”)

At a party this weekend — that was pretty dreadful food-wise as it was pot-luck for non-foodcentric people — I asked the ham-bringer if I might have the bone at the end of evening.  See, the thought came into my head that with a ham bone I was on my way to split pea soup.  I bought a bag of split peas for a whopping 99 cents and was ready to roll.  Folks, I’m here to say there is not much more to making yourself some split pea soup than a ham bone and a bag o’ beans. Assuming of course you following Louise’s dictum of always having stock.  I was out of chicken, so I had some going in the stock pot yesterday, and then decided to make split pea soup from the fresh stock.

Here’s what I did (and I’d do it again, even ham-less, or especially ham-less!):

  1. Take your ham bone, and with a paring knife, get in there and cut off ham close to the bone.  Throw out the disgusting fatty pieces, and cut remaining into cubes, to make about 2 c.
  2. Pick over and rinse your beans, and put in a soup pot.  For 1 # beans, add 5 cups stock.  (Alternate directions below if you are — gasp! — stock-less.)  Put your ham bone in.  If it’s very large and protrudes greatly out of the liquid, do like I did and grab it and break in half at the joint.  That felt good!
  3. Bring to a near boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.  Less time needed if your beans are fresh.  You won’t know that probably in advance, and I don’t dried beans move quickly in the supermarket.  But it does not matter — they will cook either way.image
  4. You can puree, but if you just cook long enough, until peas are very, very soft (which is what you want — you don’t want resistance from the peas when you eat it) the peas will mostly fall apart and thicken the soup.  I didn’t puree.
  5. Add in cubed ham, S&P, stir and heat gently.  Ladle and serve.  Voila!  Croutons or oysters crackers are good, but not necessary if you have that ham.

What to do ham-less:

Saute one chopped onion, a couple carrots and one celery stalk in olive oil.  Can add a thyme sprig with the stock.  You’ll probably want to run all this through a food mill at the end (or whir in blender).

To add creaminess, you can add a potato, peeled and cut up into large pieces with the peas (or 1/2 c white rice, which I won’t do most likely (white rice says to me: “empty carbs” and I would rather my empty carbs be of the chocolate variety).