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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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January 5, 2014

Slow cooker honey Sriracha beef stew recipe

Honey Sriracha beef stew (slow cooker), from The Perfect Pantry.

To my husband Ted, beef stew, maple syrup, and nectar of the gods all tie for first place on his culinary love list. We buy maple syrup at the local farm, and I've yet to come up with a good recipe for nectar of the gods, but I do love to make stew. Most often it's chock full of root vegetables like turnips and potatoes and rutabaga, of which I'm not a big fan, so I tend to leave the stew for Ted. However, this honey Sriracha beef stew includes only carrots and onions, with nothing else to distract from the sweet-hot gravy, and I absolutely love it. Although I make this in the slow cooker, you could adapt the recipe easily for stovetop cooking. This lick-your-lips beef stew (I think it would be delicious made with lamb, too) is a great dish to make ahead and have on hand for weeknight dinners. Adjust the amount of heat and sweet at the very end of the cooking time.

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December 17, 2013

Recipe for baked samosa wontons with potato, pea and broccoli filling {vegetarian}

Baked samosa wontons filled with potatoes, peas and broccoli (The Perfect Pantry).

You've heard the saying, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. No wonder I'm always stressed when I have to prepare appetizers. Apps create excitement and anticipation, as they set the stage -- with or without drinks -- for the occasion to follow. When I serve the same old same old dips and chips, my guests are probably wondering if they're in for a ho-hum dinner. The solution to the pre-dinner blahs is a repertoire of easy, yet impressive, appetizers, like these samosa wontons. The dip is store-bought mango chutney, and the wontons are baked, not fried, so nobody starts the meal with a mouth full of grease. The traditional mashed potato and pea filling gets a kick from Madras (yellow) curry paste, which is easy to find in the Indian foods aisle of many supermarkets. You can make the filling ahead and refrigerate it. Or, make and bake the wontons ahead, and freeze them to reheat at party time. Either way, these apps, easy on the cook, will surely be a hit for your holiday entertaining.

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December 12, 2013

Brown rice (Recipe: vegetable fried rice) {vegetarian}

First published in August 2007, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links and tweaks to the recipe. When I make this dish now, I use a much larger proportion of vegetables to rice, so I've adjusted the original recipe. Make as little or as much as you wish, and use any combination of vegetables -- the more colorful, the merrier. When you're running around crazy-busy before the holidays, it's nice to have a quick stir-fry dish in your repertoire for an easy lunch or dinner.

Vegetable fried rice, with broccoli, cabbage, peppers.

I know what you're thinking.

Good grief, three quarts of brown rice! What is she doing with so much rice? Mortaring a brick patio? Filling a sandbox? Making a bean bag chair? Blind-baking a year's worth of pies???

None of the above. This brown Nishiki rice, perfect for the rice cooker to which I am unrepentantly addicted, isn't all that easy to find in the grocery store, and the smallest package in my favorite Asian market happens to be five pounds. I'm glad to have it in my pantry.

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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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