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November 14, 2013

Five favorite recipes with dried cranberries

Maple cranberry walnut bread, for dinner and the morning after.

On the route we drive every week from Rhode Island to Boston, my husband Ted and I pass a cranberry bog alongside the highway, close enough that we can see through the trees when it's harvest time. The farmer floods the bog, forcing the cranberries to rise to the surface of the water, where they're gently agitated until they float and can be scooped off. All we see from the road is purple, a gigantic red-wine-colored stain the size of several football fields, and here in cranberry country, that sight makes us happy, because we know our local cranberries soon will be on their way to cooks all across the country.

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November 10, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with tomato, ricotta and basil.

Continuing my experiments with cooking boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker, I decided to go back to my roots. No, I'm not Italian, but one of my earliest, and best, experiences as a food writer came courtesy of a well-known Italian-American Boston police officer. I'm pleased to share this reinvention of his recipe for stuffed chicken, which works so perfectly with turkey breast. The slow cooker frees your oven for all those amazing side dishes that taste best when cooked at the last minute, and the slow braise helps retain moisture in the meat. Be sure to buy a turkey breast that hasn't been shot full of salty brine, or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. Your butcher will be happy to butterfly it for you; unless you have mad butchering skills, leave this step to the professionals. You can do the rest. Stuff, roll, tie, cook, and collect the oohs and aahs when you bring this turkey to the table.

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November 3, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with wild rice and cranberries {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast with wild rice stuffing.

In real life, retail dictates the start of the seasons, which is why Halloween costumes arrive on the shelves in August, and Santa slides down store chimneys in October. In the mail order catalogs, Thanksgiving arrived two months ago, but I'm old-fashioned and wait until the calendar page flips to November. Now it's officially Thanksgiving season, so I offer the first of two recipes for stuffed turkey breast. I began experimenting with turkey breast in the slow cooker last year, when we hosted a very small holiday gathering of people who, it turned out, weren't huge dark meat fans. This gluten-free stuffing packs in all of the flavors of a New England harvest -- apples, thyme and cranberries -- and the slow cooker keeps the meat moist. If you're not buying directly from a farm, be sure to look for an organic turkey breast that hasn't been impregnated with brining solution or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. The butcher at my local supermarket's fantastic meat department happily butterflied the turkey breast for me.

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October 17, 2013

Chili powder (Recipe: turkey tacos)

First published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. We love this spicy turkey filling in tacos, on salads, or as the topping for a rice bowl with a dollop of guacamole and a big plop of sour cream. 

Super easy turkey tacos.

Some like it hot.

I like it really hot.

I like it hot enough to make my scalp tingle, my sinuses drip, and my eyes water. (Do I need to mention that I'm talking about food now, not the weather?) I wasn't always like this, but a trip to New Orleans years ago started me down the pepper path, and there is no turning back.

Sometimes, though, unadulterated heat isn't the goal. When I want a more complex depth of flavor in Mexican and Southwestern dishes, I often reach for chili powder.

Are you confused by the whole chili/chile thing? Many people are, and product packaging doesn't really help, with the willy-nilly and often interchangeable use of chile, chili, chillie and chilli.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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