Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric

Congee is my new favorite breakfast food. This thick porridge, also called jook, is a classic Chinese comfort food. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast bowl customized with an assortment of delicious and savory toppings. And it’s super easy to make in the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker.

Also called jook, congee is rice porridge, a classic Chinese comfort food. It is also popular in Vietnam (called chao), Japan (okayu), Korea (juk), Thailand (jok), and other Asian countries.

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Incredibly Easy Tomato Soup Recipe

Our Lazy Gourmet roasted tomato soup recipe is incredibly easy to make. And delicious.

roasted tomato soup

There are only so many homegrown tomatoes that an urban backyard farmer can consume. (Yes, even here in San Francisco! Sun Golds by the Bay!)

Tomatoes don’t last long on the counter (a ruthless gang of fruit flies holds unopposed authority in my kitchen), and they lose flavor when stored in the fridge.

Sure, we can share them with our friends and family — but there’s a good chance those friends and family members are simultaneously sharing their tomatoes with us.

Consequently, those of us who are not Duggars are always looking for creative ways to use and preserve our summer bounty. At my house, the leftovers that don’t make it into my maw via sandwich, salad, or fist, end up in soups that I freeze and save for winter. Bring on the flu season!

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raw shrimp on brown paper

Easy Homemade Shrimp Stock Recipe

raw shrimp on brown paper

I just realized that for years I’ve been throwing away gold. Pink culinary gold. With what I know now, I can’t believe I am saying this, but I used to think that shrimp shells were [gasp] garbage. Meanwhile, wholly convinced that this was true, I passed up recipe after recipe that called for making a shrimp stock thinking, “Oh, I’m way too lazy for that.” But last week, I was on assignment and there was no getting around it: I had to make a shrimp stock for a project I was working on for a client. To my surprise, it was easy, quick, and so worth it. Five minutes of prep (not counting the 10 minutes it took me to shell and devein the shrimp, but let’s face it, if you’re cooking shrimp, you probably have to do that anyway) and 45 minutes simmering on the stove was all it took. The end result was an intensely shrimpy, full-flavored base for soup, sauce, or seafood risotto.

I’m telling you, you should make this easy shrimp stock today because tomorrow I’m going to post a recipe for Shrimp Bisque that you are going to want to make ASAP. You can cook the shrimp today, too: just drop the shelled, deveined shrimp into well-salted boiling water and simmer until pink and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on their size. Then drain, chill, and store in a tightly covered container in the fridge. You can also store the raw shrimp, tightly covered in the fridge, until tomorrow as long as it is very fresh.

And, if you’re going to ignore my advice and insist on tossing out those shrimp shells, um… can I have them?

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Corn and tomato soup with basil

Corn and Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil

Corn and tomato soup with basil

Many years before the birth of The Lazy Gourmet, Robin and I were college housemates sharing a huge, century-old Victorian house with five other women. You can read the long version here—about how we all took turns cooking, about how Robin and I had very different backgrounds when it came to culinary competence, and about the revelation that inspired us to write a cookbook together all these years later. (Or read the short version instead, which you have just done.)

We love to reminisce about the delicious dinners we cooked up in that house—unusually good food for a bunch of college kids barely out of our teens. There was a legendary tomato-based seafood soup, pierogies from someone’s grandmother’s recipe, homemade calzones, fava beans drenched in garlic butter, apple pies, and a full Thanksgiving dinner one night in July when turkeys were on sale for some reason. Then there was one of my all-time favorites: a gigantic pot of corn and tomato soup that we made with fresh corn, sweet summer tomatoes, heavy cream, and a dash of cayenne pepper. There was something about that particular soup—the bright colors, intense flavors, and my budding excitement at first discovering how to experiment in the kitchen—that made a lasting impression on me.

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