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February 11, 2014

Spicy rice noodle stir-fry recipe

Spicy rice noodle stir fry.

When I first encountered banh pho dried rice noodles -- the noodles often sold as pad Thai noodles, or rice vermicelli -- I thought they were, well... astonishing. After a brief soak in a bowl of warm water, these brittle, opaque noodles got tossed directly into a wok -- no boiling, can you imagine? -- where the heat softened them to chewy perfection in just a minute or two. Wow. Everything, sauce and noodles, cooked in the same pot, and that made a believer out of me. The noodles have no real flavor of their own, and happily soak up any sauce and spices that surround them. This recipe is a template for all kinds of rice noodle stir-fry dishes. Swap turkey, chicken or pork for the beef; add snow peas or bok choy, or any vegetables you have on hand. Banh pho keeps in the pantry cupboard for a year or more, and offers a easy, inexpensive, gluten-free alternative to wheat noodles.

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January 28, 2014

Recipe for tofu stir-fry with cabbage and cashews {vegan}

Tofu stir-fry with cabbage and cashews (The Perfect Pantry).

Recently our friend Bev stayed with us for a week-plus while recovering from foot surgery, and this made her a captive audience for my cooking experiments. Working with what I had in the pantry one day, I whipped up a turkey version of this vegetarian tofu stir-fry, with cabbage and cashews and mushrooms, and we loved it so much (and ate so much of it) that I had to make it again for you. Bev doesn't like very spicy food, so instead of adding chili paste, which might have been my first instinct, I used a bit more sesame oil, to enhance the nutty flavor of the cashews. Though I've never been a huge fan of cooked cabbage -- I love raw cabbage, in slaws and salads -- I've decided to work harder at liking it. And, as it's so nutritious, I'm making a special effort to incorporate cabbage into our diet more often, starting with soups and stir-fry dishes. Serve this tofu stir-fry over white or brown rice.

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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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January 9, 2014

Recipe for Thai green curry turkey with spinach, green pepper and cilantro

Thai green curry turkey rice bowl (The Perfect Pantry).

Every year should begin on a spicy note. To me, hot and spicy food in January portends a zesty, adventurous year ahead. In creating this Thai curry turkey with spinach, green pepper and cilantro, which I served over a bowl of steaming brown rice, I knew I wanted to keep everything green and herby by using the Thai green curry paste I always have in my refrigerator. When it comes to Asian condiments, I like what I like. I prefer the Maesri brand of Thai curry paste, which is all-natural and full of fresh cilantro and other herbs, and for fish sauce, it's always Three Crabs, in a bottle with, yes, three crabs on a pink label. Authentic condiments make all the difference, so why not start the year with an adventure: a trip to your local Asian grocery store. Fill your pantry with great condiments, and cook along with me all year!

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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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