Cabbage is on sale in this week before St. Patrick's Day, and if, like me, you're trying to get more cabbage into your life, now's the time to stock up and try a few new recipes. The inspiration for this dish came from one of those throwaway supermarket publications that are so easy to ignore, but occasionally have some great ideas. A fairly routine stir-fry with spicy peanut sauce, this recipe replaces noodles with shredded cabbage. So clever! I promise you'll never miss the extra carbs. If nuts are not your thing, substitute your favorite teriyaki or stir-fry sauce for the peanut sauce. Ground turkey offers an option in place of ground beef, and if you don't eat meat, try tofu instead. Stir-fried beef and... Read more →


Readers of The Perfect Pantry over the years know that the way to my husband Ted's heart has a lot to do with beef stew. This year I realized that, despite my good intentions, I forgot to make stew ahead of time for today's holiday of love. The pressure cooker -- and a game-changing new-to-me ingredient I found at a local gourmet shop -- came to my rescue. If you plan better than I do, you can make this stew on the stovetop, in the usual way. At the cheese and gourmet shop at the end of my block, I spied a small rack of what might have been test tubes, filled with a murky substance that would have looked at home in a chemistry... Read more →


What can I tell you? This Mexican-inspired green pozole beef stew zigged, and then it zagged, and in the end, it landed perfectly. In the first version I tried to incorporate a couple of cups of blue corn kernels, a gift from my friend Candy in Albuquerque. It turns out I should have pre-cooked the corn to soften it; the kernels remained hard and chewy long after the meat was tender. Hard, chewy, and a very odd blue-ish purple. In the second version, I used canned hominy, whole corn kernels that have been dried, then treated, so they look like little exploded puff balls of corn (you can buy canned hominy in the Spanish foods aisle of any supermarket). Just what this stew needed. And... Read more →


My five-year-old granddaughter, who doesn't like anything, polished off a plate of this slow cooker lasagna, and asked for seconds. Her older brothers, and, well... all of us, loved it, too. As the family meal organizer, I loved it more than anyone, because with the sauce made ahead, the assembly job took minutes, and the lasagna sat in the slow cooker for the afternoon while we went out and did other things. I love that there's no chance of it burning in the slow cooker, as there is in the oven. And when the voila moment comes, and you take the top off the cooker to reveal the lasagna, you'll love the ooohs and aaahs, all for the few minutes of actual work you put... Read more →


I've got a secret. During the past few weeks, for many house guests, friends and family, I have been creating the World's. Best. Sandwiches. Ever. Now I feel badly that I've kept this from you for so long, and I'm here to make amends. I can't put my finger on what makes these sandwiches (panini, really) so remarkable. Could it be the caramelized onions? The home-cooked corned beef? The quick and easy cole slaw? The slices of Swiss cheese? Or could it be all of that forced together under the weight of the panini press, until the layers fuse and the cheese begins to ooze? I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that, once you've tasted this sandwich, you'll never go... Read more →