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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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May 21, 2013

Recipe for shrimp with Meyer lemon-dill dipping sauce

Shrimp appetizer with Meyer lemon dill dipping sauce.

Everything about this dish falls into the splurge category, especially if you live here in the Northeast, where shrimp come from elsewhere and Meyer lemons do not grow on trees. However, the holiday weekend approaches, and who deserves this over-the-top indulgent appetizer more than friends and family coming to the first official celebration of the summer season? There's nothing complicated here. Steam, poach, broil or grill jumbo shrimp. Mix up a fresh sauce with Greek yogurt and fresh dill weed and, if you can find one, a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. Simple, elegant, and sure to be the first dish to disappear at any party.

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May 12, 2013

Recipe for Rhode Island weiner spice meatballs

Rhode Island weiner spice meatballs, a fun appetizer.

The small market in my village surprises me on a regular basis, despite the fact that I shop there two or three times every week. On the day I found both a locally made habañero salsa and a spice mix used in the sauce for Rhode Island's famous New York System weiners, I knew I had to pair the two in a recipe. At first I'd planned to fold the salsa into the meatball mixture, but it buried the taste of the spices, so the salsa became the dipping sauce, and the weiner spices really shine in these meatballs. If you don't live in Rhode Island, you can make your own weiner spice mix. The key ingredient, celery salt, gives these meatballs a distinctly Ocean State flavor. The meatballs make a great appetizer, or you can toss them with pasta or serve on a pizza, as we did in our Rhode Island Recipes cookbook. Make a double batch and stash some in the freezer.

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April 28, 2013

Recipe for roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan johnnycakes {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Mini roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan cheese johnnycakes, a gluten-free appetizer.

Until I moved to Rhode Island a decade ago, I'd never heard of johnnycakes (which are also spelled jonnycakes, so let's get that out of the way up front). Johnnycakes, made of cornmeal and gluten-free, are to Rhode Islanders what pancakes are to the rest of the world. Most often they're served just like pancakes, with butter and a glug of local maple syrup. These savory two-bite roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan johnnycakes fit nicely into the end of the day, as a cocktail party appetizer or snack at a barbecue. As with any recipe that has just a few ingredients, be sure to use the best cheese, basil and pepper you can find. Serve them hot off the griddle, and spell them whichever way you like.

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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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