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September 1, 2013

Herbes de Provence (Recipe: marinated mozzarella) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

First published in June 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. Marinated mozzarella cheese takes just minutes to make, and a few days to steep in the good flavors of the herbs. For a quick appetizer, just add toothpicks.

Marinated bocconcini, small balls of mozzarella in herbs.

Who was more ingenious, the Provencal cook who first tossed together a few herbs growing on a hillside and gave it a fancy-sounding name -- herbes de Provence -- or the person who thought to market those herbs in an adorable ceramic crock ?

(You have one of those iconic little crocks on your spice rack, don't you? Me, too.)

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July 28, 2013

Kosher salt (Recipe: Moroccan eggplant salad) {vegan, gluten-free}

First published in May 2007, this updated ingredient post features new photos, link, and tweaks to the recipe. The eggplant salad, taught to me by a neighbor who grew up in Morocco and owned our local dry cleaning shop, is perfect for summer, when both eggplant and tomatoes come straight from the garden.

Moroccan eggplant salad with tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Is kosher salt, the darling of chefs and cookbook authors, just another flaky food fashion?

Is it saltier than table salt, better for health or baking or taste?

Is all kosher salt the same?

Is it even kosher?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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July 18, 2013

Chipotle ranch dip or dressing recipe {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Chipotle ranch dip or dressing, for salads or sandwiches. Zingy!

Inside every passionate cook lurks the soul of a slightly mad scientist. The kitchen becomes a laboratory, every recipe an opportunity to experiment. I love to play around with salad dressings, mixing and matching ingredients from my pantry, but 90 percent of the time, I end up using the same salad dressing: my go-to balsamic vinaigrette. Last week, spurred on by some buttermilk left from a baking episode, I went as far as I could in the opposite direction with this chipotle ranch dressing that also makes a terrific dip. It's got a bit of a kick, which you can control by using more or less chipotle pepper. Try this zippy dressing in a chicken salad, on a roast beef panini, or atop a robust salad of greens and avocado. Or slice up some crispy cucumber, and dip, dip, dip.

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June 30, 2013

Recipe for tarragon and roasted red pepper deviled eggs {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Tarragon and roasted red pepper deviled eggs. Light lunch or appetizer.

One of the most reliable perennial herbs in my garden, tarragon arrives early in Spring, alongside the chives. The tender leaves of tarragon impart a faintly licorice flavor, and you either love it or hate it. We love it, especially with eggs, and these tarragon and roasted red pepper deviled eggs make a perfect light lunch. If you're not sure how you feel about tarragon, use half the amount called for in the recipe, and if tarragon isn't your thing, substitute garden-fresh parsley or basil. Of course, deviled eggs always go first at a party, so add these to your repertoire if you're the person others rely on to bring the deviled eggs.

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May 23, 2013

Roasted asparagus hummus recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

Roasted asparagus hummus.

At this time of year, the magical time when New England farms begin to harvest some fresh green vegetables after a cold winter of barren fields, the temptation to serve asparagus at least once a day is powerful. Honestly, though, my husband Ted has a limit on how much asparagus soup, grilled asparagus, and asparagus stir-fry he's willing to consume. I don't really understand it, as I'm sure I could eat asparagus three times a day for the all-too-brief six-week season. Recently I had a nice bunch of spears in the fridge, and I turned to the pantry for inspiration. Chickpeas provided the first glimmer, and tahini the next, and this roasted asparagus hummus came together in minutes after that. Adjust the proportion of vegetable to chickpeas to suit your taste, and process it to a smooth texture or leave it fairly chunky, if that's what you like. The subtle flavor and light green color of the asparagus will delight you, without scaring off any kids who aren't firmly in the asparagus camp. Make this a day ahead for easy entertaining.

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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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