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June 5, 2011

Santorini Sunrise strawberry smoothie recipe


Many years ago, before there was a restaurant on every corner of Boston's South End, a lovely couple opened a cafe on Columbus Avenue, a bit off the main street, with two tables outside, and half a dozen inside. Before moving to Boston, they lived on Santorini, where they ran a dry cleaning business. I don't remember why they came to Boston, but I'm glad they did. The cafe sold very strong hot coffee, ice cold smoothies, and a few pastries. The Santorini Sunrise, my favorite smoothie from their menu, uses vanilla frozen yogurt for the base, and fresh or frozen strawberries. You can slice and freeze the bananas, too. And if you close your eyes, you can picture the white-washed houses of Santorini, overlooking the deep blue sea, and you, sitting at a cafe and sipping a Santorini Sunrise.

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November 23, 2010

Cardamom pods (Recipe: mulling spices for wine or cider)

Mulling spices

One lovely thing to know about cardamom pods:

In Arab cultures, cardamom pods placed in the spout of a coffee pot flavor the coffee, and guests are often shown the pods first as a sign of respect. The larger and greener and more plump the pods, the more highly revered the guest. The cuisines of many countries incorporate cardamom, which has been used in Indian cooking for more than 2,000 years. Thanks to the Vikings, cardamom found its way to Scandinavia, where it's very popular in baked goods like pulla bread.

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June 6, 2010

Frozen fruit (Recipe: raspberry, lime and mint smoothie)

Raspberry smoothie recipe

I live in a fruit-challenged part of the country.

Don't get me wrong. We have fruit, just not the fruit I crave.

Ten miles up the road, in the area known as Apple Valley, you can find apples, of course, and also pears, blackberries and raspberries. Closer to my house, just a mile up the road, is Cherry Valley, but I don't know anyone who grows cherries there.

The fruit I love most -- grapes, plums, middle-of-winter casaba melons -- comes from valleys much farther away, so in order to get fresh fruit year-round, I keep flash-frozen fruit in my pantry.

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September 24, 2009

Brazil food: Cachaça (Recipe: caipirinha)

The second in an occasional series of posts over the next few weeks about Brazilian food and ingredients we discovered during our visit.


When my friend Peter told me he was moving from Rhode Island to Brazil, I understood why he was going.

He'd fallen in love with a wonderful woman from Belo Horizonte. (Some day, he'll tell you the story.)

I didn't know anything about where he was going, but I should have known that Peter, a professional chef, would land in a part of the world famous as much for its distinctive cuisine as for coffee, diamonds, and colonial architecture.

Located in the mountainous region of southeast Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais produces some of the country's finest farmhouse cheese, beef and cachaça, the fire-water alcohol used to make America's new favorite cocktail, the caipirinha.

So, when Epaminondas Pires de Miranda ("Nondas"), owner of Cachaça Velha Serrana, invited us to tour the distillery where he produces artisanal, organic cachaça, we set off for Serro, where we would meet at a gas station and follow his truck to the farm.

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July 19, 2009

Maple syrup (Recipes: maple nut bread and a maple cocktail)


Guest post and photos by Sarah in Boston.

My dad had a way of making the simplest foods into a celebration.

He spent a lot of his free time in his backyard garden, talking to robins and tilling the soil with his trusty hoe. Each garden season was met with great anticipation: the first rhubarb, green onions, beefsteak tomatoes, basketball-sized cabbage heads -- you name it, he grew it.

For each thing he grew, he created a special ritual to enjoy it, something as simple as walking around with a pocketful of salt so he could eat radishes and cucumbers right out of the garden.

He had his special ways of enjoying other foods, too, like red-skinned peanuts and cold, locally made hot dogs. He was very particular about the hot dogs. He would never eat packaged ones raw, but the ones they made at Tom’s Market he ate by the pound. If I close my eyes, I can still see him sitting at the picnic table, listening to the Detroit Tigers on the radio, with a pound of peanuts and a plastic Tupperware tub of hot dogs, watching his garden, and sometimes fiddling with his car.

Another favorite was maple syrup, and of course he created a family ceremony around the annual spring tapping of the sugar maple in our front yard.

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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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