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December 10, 2013

Quick and easy Thai curry coconut soup recipe with tofu and vegetables

Quick and easy Thai green curry coconut soup (dairy free).

Every Monday at lunch time, my husband Ted surprises his office staff with soup I made on the weekend. I can't remember exactly when this Monday soup ritual began, but I love it, because I am a Sunday soup maker, a big pot soup maker, and always cook far more than the two of us need. Inspired by whatever is in the pantry, and leftovers from the weekend's cooking, I begin tossing ingredients into the stock pot. Most often, there's no plan; in this case, I knew at the outset that I wanted to make a quick and easy spicy Thai curry coconut soup. With tofu in the refrigerator, the decision to go meatless was a no-brainer. Leftover chicken or turkey, or shredded rotisserie chicken, would be a fine addition. Both coconut milk and tofu stand ready to absorb any flavors from the surrounding soup, so make sure you use enough fragrant Thai green curry paste, fresh lime and cilantro. (I like the Maesri and Mae Ploy brands of curry paste, which are all-natural.) This dairy-free soup will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

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November 12, 2013

Recipe for roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro (can be dairy-free).

A long time reader of The Perfect Pantry, Judy answered the call for vegetarian and vegan recipes for my Meatless Holidays e-book with a dish called eggplant salad (baingan bharta). When I made it for the cookbook, I envisioned it as a vegetarian or vegan main dish served with brown rice and almond pilaf, and renamed it roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro. The original recipe calls for quite a bit of yogurt; in Judy's adaptation, she'd cut that way down, and in my version, the yogurt is completely optional, so if you're vegan, leave it out. Indian-spiced food might be a nontraditional choice for your holiday table, but recipes like this eggplant are a great option for those "blended family" occasions when turkey-lovers and turkey-avoiders come together: one person's main dish is another person's side. It's also a good make-ahead dish for worknight dinners, as the eggplant is good served hot, cold, or at room temperature. For this recipe, go ahead and buy those gigantic, deep purple eggplants you find at the market, not the thin, delicate Japanese ones.

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October 24, 2013

Recipe for vegan Asian red cabbage slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint {vegan}

Vegan Asian red cabbage slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint.

Whenever I buy a head of red cabbage, I end up using just about half of it, for whatever quantity of whatever recipe I'm making. I'm not sure how or why that happens, but it's uncanny. So I found myself with half a head left after making chicken and cabbage salad, and with a few scallions and plenty of mint in my herb garden, this Asian slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint was the happy result. Miso (soybean paste) adds a layer of salty depth, and thickens the dressing. When you shop for it (in the refrigerated aisle of many markets now), look for a mild miso that's a light golden color. Rice vinegar acts as a tenderizer, so if you like your cabbage crunchy, don't dress the salad much more than 30 minutes before you're ready to serve. I love this slaw with grilled salmon (think of the colors). I think it would be a great side dish for Asian barbecued pork, too.

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October 20, 2013

Slow cooker hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl recipe

Hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl.

On a wire rack in the corner of my kitchen, you'll find dozens of stacked blue-and-white Chinese bowls in almost every size and shape and pattern you've ever seen. (No, I'm not running a store. Yes, I have a little bowl problem.) However, the bowl in these photos is one-of-a-kind in my collection -- it was made for export, and obviously hand-painted, though it isn't precious -- and it happens to be the absolutely perfect size for a rice bowl dinner for one. This slow cooker hoisin chicken, so easy to make with just three ingredients, is a component I like to make ahead and freeze in small portions. Then, when I'm craving a rice bowl, I fire up the rice cooker, and at the end of the cooking time, I toss the chicken and bok choy on top of the rice, close up the cooker, and let them steam together for 15 minutes. It's Chinese take-out at home, and it couldn't be easier.

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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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