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March 4, 2014

Marmalade (Recipe: roasted or grilled shrimp in beer marinade)

Originally published in December 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos and links. When I was making the marinade, my husband Ted cast a skeptical eye my way, but it only took one shrimp to make a believer out of him.

Shrimp in beer marinade (The Perfect Pantry).

I didn't grow up in a marmalade house.

In fact, apart from the grape jelly we ate only with peanut butter, I don't remember seeing any jams, jellies, preserves or marmalades in my mother's kitchen. Oh, I know that she had the occasional souvenir jar stashed in the back of the cupboard — a homemade treasure brought by a houseguest or friend who'd returned from a road trip to a part of the country where every family "puts things up", and recipes are prized. But I don't think we ever opened them.

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February 25, 2014

Recipe for roasted chickpea salad with creamy tahini dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted chickpea salad (deconstructed hummus!), from The Perfect Pantry

HERE'S THE THING: I love hummus -- the creamy, garlicky, nutty Middle Eastern spread made with chickpeas and tahini -- but I don't really love chickpeas. It's got to be a texture issue because, well... I love hummus. So, a couple of weeks ago I had the idea to take hummus apart and put it back together, to see if I could combine all of the flavors I love in a dish that would help me love chickpeas, and what I created was this simple salad. Roasting the chickpeas gave them just enough crunch to change the texture but not the flavor, and all the remaining components of hummus went into the dressing. I added some crisp chopped iceberg lettuce, which seemed perfect. You could keep going and pile on more fixings like olives, tomatoes and cucumber, to make a main course salad.

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January 26, 2014

Worcestershire sauce (Recipe: curry dip)

Originally published in May 2007, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. Sometimes we forget about the simple appetizers, and how well they can set the stage for a meal. This dip takes just seconds to make, and it's always a hit. Serve it with chilled crudites, or with crusty roasted vegetables.

Curry dip, best if made ahead. Serve with roasted veggies or crudites. (The Perfect Pantry)

In July, 1981, the US Department of the Army was "honored" by Taxpayers for Common Sense with their Golden Fleece Award, for spending $6,000 to prepare a 17-page manual on how to buy Worcestershire sauce.

Seriously.

Never fear, my friends; you don't need to read the report. I'm going to tell you how to buy Worcestershire sauce (I'll even tell you how to use it), and my advice won't cost you a penny.

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December 26, 2013

The Perfect Pantry's top 12 party appetizers for New Year's Eve

12 favorite appetizers for New Year's Eve (The Perfect Pantry).

Are you ready for New Year's Eve? Whether you're hosting a celebration for many, or an intimate affair for two, all you really need is an assortment of some favorite appetizers, the more variety the merrier, and plenty of bubbly. Add a few streamers or noisemakers, and mood music, and welcome, 2014!

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December 22, 2013

Sweet Rhode Island coffee-dunked turkey appetizer meatballs recipe (slow cooker)

Sweet coffee (decaf!) meatballs, made in the slow cooker. (The Perfect Pantry)

Did you grow up in a meatball house? In the house where I grew up, there were two kinds of meatballs: big red ones, cooked in sauce made with a packet of Spatini, and small sweet-and-sour ones, made by my dad in nothing smaller than five-pound batches. Never did we have anything approaching the sheer nirvana of these sweet Rhode Island coffee-dunked turkey appetizer meatballs. This recipe, from my e-book A Flock of Meatballs: Easy turkey recipes with around-the-world flavors, pretty much requires that you buy a bottle of real Rhode Island coffe syrup (my favorite local product, hands down, is Dave's All-Natural Decaf Coffee Syrup), used to make Rhode Island's official state drink, coffee milk. You can substitute strong brewed decaf coffee plus molasses, and it will be good, though not authentically Rhody. These meatballs freeze so well that you might want to double the quantity, and stash some for last-minute holiday appetizers.

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  • 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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