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October 7, 2015

Three Sisters soup {vegan, gluten-free}

Three Sisters soup combines beans, corn and squash. Make ahead and freeze, from The Perfect Pantry.

Five years ago, I shared a version of this Native American Three Sisters Soup on my soup blog, and because I believe in the magic of the Three Sisters (beans, squash and corn, planted together in a mutually supportive ecosystem), I thought I'd freshen up the recipe and post it here. After all, who couldn't use some magic in their life? The power of this soup begins in the field: the beans climb onto the corn, and return nitrogen to the soil; the squash, nourished by the beans, provides shade to the shallow roots of the corn plants and keeps the weeds down. Native Americans believe that since these three foods protect each other while growing, they will protect whoever eats them together. The apple cider adds sweetness that a splash of cider vinegar balances nicely. If you're looking for a great make-ahead-and-freeze soup, put this one on your list. You never know when you'll need a little bit of magic.

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September 30, 2015

Turkey green chile chili {gluten-free}

Turkey green chile chili, quick and easy (and no beans!)

When my friend Candy brought me a container of real New Mexico green chiles (the hot ones!) a few months ago, I didn't know what to do. Well, that's not true. I knew what to do. I just couldn't settle on the perfect recipe to take advantage of all of this spicy goodness in the house, and because I couldn't choose a recipe, I put the container in the freezer last May. There it sat, until today, when I needed a dinner that was fast, filling, and hot (both temperature and spiciness), and I reached back into the archives for this turkey green chile chili that I first shared here in November, 2006, but never photographed. With the gift of nearly a pound of hot Hatch chile peppers, and everything else on hand in the pantry, this bean-free chili was quick and easy, just as I'd remembered. Depending on the type of potato you use, the chunks will remain firm, as mine did here, or they'll disintegrate into the chili and thicken it, with a nudge or two from the back of a wooden spoon. If you don't love chile peppers (and it's okay to use mild instead of hot), either cut the quantity way back, to a quarter pound, or try another recipe. This one's for chile lovers.

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September 23, 2015

Shrimp, bacon and broccoli slaw with ranch dressing {gluten-free}

Shrimp, bacon and store-bought broccoli slaw, with homemade ranch dressing.

As you know, I'm not a big fan of convenience foods. It's just as easy to make most things from scratch, and you know exactly what you're getting. However, when it comes to broccoli slaw, I make an exception. If you look in the bag, you know exactly what you're getting: shredded broccoli stems and carrots and a little bit of red cabbage. Sometimes you can find the mix with cauliflower added, but cauliflower and I still are not friends, so I don't seek it out. You can use the cauliflower-added mix (sometimes called Rainbow Salad) in this recipe, unless you're inviting me for lunch. Broccoli slaw benefits from a few minutes of tenderizing --here, buttermilk does the trick, and in other recipes, mustard would do the same -- so make the dressing, toss it with the slaw, and let that sit while you finish the rest of the recipe.

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September 2, 2015

Bacon, lettuce and tomato: The Perfect Pantry's favorite twists on the classic sandwich

The stuff of dreams: BLT sandwich with garlicky Green Goddess dressing..

Here in New England, it's just now tomato season. We wait all year, and then all summer, and only in August do we get tomatoes that were not grown in a hothouse. There isn't much that's better than a slice of tomato with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, but at this time of year, I love to bring out some of my favorite variations on the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

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August 19, 2015

Turkey, black bean, and three-chile taco boats {gluten-free}

Three-chile taco boats filled with turkey and black bean sauce. Just add your favorite toppings! #glutenfree

My friend Mary has been gluten-free and dairy-free for a couple of years, and one day she confessed to me that, sometimes, she gets a little bit bored with her cooking. I understand, because really, don't we all get in a rut once in a while? I do. To break out of the rut, you don't always need to invent something new; you might just need to jazz up the presentation a bit. I found Ortega gluten-free tortilla flats in my supermarket, in the Latin foods aisle. I made a slight variation of our favorite Tex-Mex turkey and black bean sauce, using some green chile powder my friend Kalyn sent me, and piled the sauce into the tortilla flats. The dish looked, and felt, brand new -- and my grandsons loved it, too.

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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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