I’ll admit it; I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to chili. Most people have one chili powder blend in their pantry. I have four, all of which I buy online at wholespice.com: Chili Powder Dark; ancho chili powder; Chili California Powder; and Chili New Mexico Powder. You get the idea. But my recipe tester Catherine was having none of it when I suggested this recipe include all four of my chili powder blends. “No,” she said. “I have one blend, just like any other normal person. Either this is going test well with one blend, or it’s not going to fly at all.” Fortunately, it achieved the correct flying altitude with just one blend—whichever one you happen to have on hand—but if you want all three (I can’t resist), look at the Cook’s Note. I love this chili straight up, topped with avocado-cilantro cream, while Catherine likes it best topped with poached eggs. Talk about a protein hit! And for a brain boost, there’s nothing like the choline that both black beans and eggs provide.
Some people are a little shy about cooking fish. This is a great first step out of your comfort zone: a simple yet hardy fish soup. It looks daunting, but it’s truly easy, and the herbal drizzle is a delicious finishing touch. Try it once, and it could become a go-to dish for entertaining, believe me! It’s that good.
Sometimes the colors that nature comes up with blow me away. Take the ruby red beets and red cabbage in this soup; they’re as brilliant as the dahlias that grow in my backyard. So, too, is their taste, and when combined with sautéed onion, fennel, and celery, plus cumin, coriander, and caraway, the result is simply luscious.
Sometimes I feel more like a mad scientist than a cook. That’s what soup making and a pantry full of ingredients can do to you. Here I’ve created a hybrid of chicken and miso soups. The miso matches well with the garlic, ginger, and shitake mushrooms, and it goes in at the end, when the soup is already hot, so it’s probiotics are preserved—great news for your digestion!
Kitchari, which means “mixture,” is a thousand-year-old staple of Ayurvedic healing that’s enjoying a moment these days—understandably! Nourishing and comforting, it’s really quite simple, traditionally being made with basmati rice, mung beans, and ghee. I’ve kicked it up quite a bit, adding onion, ginger, cauliflower, coriander, turmeric, and cumin, enhancing both flavor and texture. Try this one!