Instantly French!

Are you an Instant Pot devotee too? I had the pleasure of testing the vegetable recipes* from Ann Mah’s new cookbook, INSTANTLY FRENCH. Not only did I fall in love with the elegant simplicity of recipes for poached pears, braised peppers, and Moroccan chickpea stew, but I learned how to better use my Instant Pot in the process.

With Instant Pot cooking, sometimes it’s easy for spices to get drowned out, but Ann always gets the seasoning exactly right, and it makes cooking from (and eating) these recipes a joyful experience.

The other thing I love about this book is that the recipes I tried didn’t add pain to my grocery bill. One of my favorite soups, (called “Ribs, stems, roots, leaves”) used parts of veggies I might have tossed, to make something delicious!

Our favorite in this house is Ann’s poached leeks with vinaigrette recipe (pictured). I did not know leeks could be a main ingredient before this! It’s amazing.

So, if you’re headed into winter and craving some hearty, homecooked food, I highly, highly recommend this book!

“Ann Mah takes a very classic – and extremely personal – look at the popular electric pressure cooker. Here is how I describe her studied approach: inquisitive, detailed, precise, adventuresome, accurate. Bravo!” –Patricia Wells, journalist, author, and multiple James Beard Award winner, living in Paris and Provence

*While this cookbook isn’t vegan (and I am), I believe this book is worth it for the veggies recipes alone. I made all of the veggie recipes without oil, left out non-vegan ingredients, and was still completely thrilled with the results. I can imagine if you’re an eat-everything person, you’ll also be in heaven with this book.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites, but I only post about products I love. 

3Ws – Louise Miller

Louise Miller_select_8744-1

What do you create?

By day, I create desserts, and by night I create novels that I hope are funny and true.

Why do you create?

I have always turned to writing to figure the world (and myself) out. As a kid my diary was my lifeline—I didn’t understand how I was feeling unless I wrote it down. As an adult, I find writing fiction to be a wonderful way to explore questions I have without having to upend my life. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living was inspired in part by my wrestling with the question would I be happy living in the country? I have always had a longing to live someplace rural, to have goats and sheep and a dozen dogs, to have some land and to know it well. At the same time I live a very happy city life, full of theater and art and food and people from all over the world. I am perfectly divided. Writing The City Baker, which is set in northern Vermont, gave me the chance to dream about making that move, and to consider the ups and downs of it. But the simplest answer to the question why do I write is that I like to make people laugh. Which is pretty similar to why do I bake. I like making people happy. Sweets and a good story are some things that make people happy, and I get to provide that happiness. Satisfying work all around.

What do you consume?

Stories in every form. Novels, of course. But I am also a movie junkie. I love to be in a darkened theater with a bucket of popcorn. I believe movies should be seen on a big screen whenever possible. I’m lucky to live near a wonderful independent movie theater that shows smaller-budget movies, foreign films and old-time classics. Plus they have real butter. And then there are plays! My partner and I subscribe to two theaters in Boston, and we travel to New York frequently to see plays and to eat. And I can’t forget television—there is so much good storytelling happening on TV right now. Add several podcasts to the mix, and you can see that I’m a little story-obsessed.




3Ws – Dana Bate

Author photo

What do you create?

I write what some call “foodie rom coms” – short for food-themed romantic comedies. Other people have called it chick lit, lighthearted women’s fiction, and foodie lit. I just write the stories inside me and try not to label them.

Why do you create?

I like making something that can bring a smile to someone’s face, including my own. When I’m in a groove and write a scene that is working, it’s like a drug – I can’t get enough. But what’s even better is when someone else reads that scene and has a similar reaction. I recently received a message from a reader who was going through a difficult time in his personal life, and he said, “Thanks for making some tough times in my life much better.” If I can make even one person’s day a little brighter with something I’ve created, then I’ve created something worthwhile.

What do you consume?

Food. A lot of food. I’m always seeking out new restaurants, bakeries, and food shops, both in my own neighborhood and travel destinations. Food is how I access culture. Every time I visit a new city or country, I track down the local specialties, which inevitably helps me understand that culture, whether I’m in Tel Aviv or Boston.

I also read a lot of books (mostly novels, all genres) and watch a potentially unhealthy amount of TV. The storytelling on TV is so strong right now – The Good Wife, Homeland, The Affair – and I’m a sucker for a good story.



a second bite at the apple