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July 16, 2014

Slow cooker shredded hoisin beef, for sandwiches, sliders, or lettuce wraps

Slow cooker shredded beef wrapped in lettuce leaves: sweet and light.

Although the kitchen has been hot, hot, hot for the past few weeks, I'm keeping my cool, with a little help from the slow cooker. In the summer, I eat cold salads more often than not, but when I do cook, I make enough to stash in the freezer, to carry me through the dog days. This shredded hoisin beef appeals to eaters of all ages, it freezes perfectly, and it's a flexible filling for sandwiches or sliders, or light and lean lettuce wraps, depending on who wants what. Hoisin sauce contains sugar, and though rice vinegar cuts the sweetness a bit, we still call this "hoisin beef candy" in our house. When you're slow cooking to shred, please try my technique of cutting the meat into quarters, and browning each piece on all sides. With more surface area, the edges get nice and "burnt", almost like barbecue. The lip-smacking sweet sauce will dribble down your chin, also just like barbecue. Top sandwiches or wraps with some raw crunchy vegetables (I like radishes and carrots) for contrast.

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April 15, 2014

Slow cooker "armadillo" beef brisket recipe

Get your slow cooker on for this "armadillo" beef brisket (The Perfect Pantry). #slowcooker #crockpot #beef

Last year when I visited Austin, my husband Ted and I stumbled into Tears of Joy, the hottest little hot sauce shop in Texas. If there's a fiery sauce or spice made anywhere in Texas, or beyond, this store in the heart of the East Sixth Street music district is sure to have it. I shipped home a carton of dry spices and hot sauces, and my eyes have been crying tears of joy ever since. Named for the Texas state mascot, the Armadillo Rub, a deeply flavorful and not-too-too-spicy blend based on smoky ancho chile powder, inspired this slow cooker brisket recipe. Slow cooking tenderizes the meat, and the ancho gives it a bit of the flavor of a traditional smoked brisket. I like to serve it with corn and black bean salad with sweet lime dressing, for a real taste of the Southwest.

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April 10, 2014

Beef barley soup recipe (pressure cooker or stove top)

Beef barley soup, made easy in the pressure cooker (or on the stove stop). #soup

Here in Rhode Island, the calendar says Spring, but the thermometer says Not Yet. I drive around looking for places where green might be peeking through, but until a few days ago, lingering patches of ice suppressed most of the crocuses, daffodils and fiddlehead ferns. The rainy, raw weather of early April puts me in the mood for soups like this traditional beef barley. I'm having a lot of fun learning how to use my first-ever electric pressure cooker, which is my new preferred method for making this soup, though I've included directions for making it on the stove. In the pressure cooker, the small chunks of beef and barley cook to perfect tenderness in just ten minutes at high pressure. Thick and chewy beef barley soup, a standard in New York delicatessens, has been a favorite of mine since childhood. This version is better than any you'll find in a deli. I promise.

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March 23, 2014

Recipe for corned beef with tangy horseradish-mustard sauce (pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop)

Corned beef with tangy mustard sauce (The Perfect Pantry).

Growing up not in the St. Patrick's Day tradition, but in the corned-beef-on-rye-at-the-deli tradition, I'm a huge fan of corned beef. Fortunately, right after St. Patrick's Day, corned beef goes on sale in my local supermarket, and I snag a few pieces of low-sodium flat-cut corned beef to stash in the freezer. (Low sodium is the key, so be sure to look for that on the label.) Usually I cook it in the slow cooker, or even on the stove top, but this year I put my new electric pressure cooker to the test. I don't want to brag, but, honestly, this was the best corned beef I've ever made, and it was by far the easiest. No fussing required, ready in under two hours, perfectly tender, not salty, great for sandwiches the next day. All around perfect, with a kick from horseradish in the mustard sauce. Skip the traditional New England boiled dinner of corned beef and soggy vegetables: serve your corned beef with a platter of oven-roasted carrots, cabbage and potatoes, or this roasted cabbage, apple and pecan salad.

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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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