November 13, 2008

Brown sugar (Recipe: mulled cider)

Mulled cider

If you've been reading The Perfect Pantry for a while, you know a lot about me.

You know that I live in Rhode Island, in a log house in the woods, with a nice kitchen and an herb garden and a fire pit outside.

You know that I love Asian noodles and coffee and that stuff that isn't really mayonnaise.

You know that I am old... old enough to think of this whenever someone says brown sugar...

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November 4, 2008

Gifts for food lovers: Think outside the box (Recipe: hot buttered rum)

Part One of an eight-part series.

Sf1
Mighty World Farmer's Market, from Jeffrey's Toys, Market Street, San Francisco

My father wasn't the most creative gift giver in the world.

For every occasion, he went to the same jewelry store and picked out a brooch or necklace much fancier than anything my mother would wear for everyday. Some she loved, some she didn't, but she believed that gifts should be for the person, not for the household, and, to his credit, my dad never put a big red bow on a washing machine.

My mother wasn't a food person. If she were, she might have loved a sesame seed grinder, a tagine, a stack of cookbooks, or a Viking six-burner stove -- all gifts for the household, but all things a foodie might love. I know. I love mine.

Call me crazy, but I'd much rather get a hand-carved wooden spoon than a piece of jewelry.

My husband Ted knows that about me, and over the past 18 years, since food writing became my work, he's become the most creative searcher-outer of eclectic, fun, practical, interesting, wacky, lovely, and downright cool stuff, whether from halfway around the world, or around the corner.

Inspired by Ted's ideas, and by gifts I've received and purchased for my food friends, every Tuesday from now until your favorite December holidays I'll be sharing gift suggestions for the food lover in your life.

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July 24, 2008

Lemons, flamenco, and a summer sangria recipe

Sangria1

It's an upside-down summer day.

A thank-goodness-it's-almost-Friday day.

A tomorrow-is-my-friend-Cindy's-50th-birthday day.

So please, just for today, make the recipe first. Get it into the fridge. You'll have plenty of time to read all about the lemon and its many attributes while the sangria is chilling.

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June 22, 2008

Hibiscus (Recipe: apple-tea liqueur)

Hibiscus1

Guest post by Peter in Brazil

Hibiscus is in season in São Gonçalo do Rio das Pedras, and Cí­ntia's quintal (yard) is full of ruby-red-calyx-laden bushes. She sells them by the kilo (R$3,00 or about US$1.80 for 2.2 pounds), and so while her gardener, Maurí­cio, clips the pods from the plants, I wait and sip a glass of cool, pink, hibiscus ade in the shade of her orchidarium, thinking about exactly what I am going to do with three kilos.

I don't remember my first encounter with hibiscus, but I know it was in the 1970s. Perhaps it was Red Zinger, the popular Celestial Seasonings tea of that time, but more likely it was during my liqueur phase.

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March 13, 2008

Cardamom pods (Recipe: masalawali chai — Indian spiced tea)

Cardamompods1

Did you know that more than eighty percent of the world's export production of cardamom pods finds its way into cups of coffee?

Not into Starbucks mocha cappuccino.

Not into Peet's cafe au lait.

Not into the Dunkin' Donuts Great One my husband drinks almost every morning.

In Arab cultures, cardamom -- the world's third most expensive spice, after saffron and vanilla -- is added to coffee, as a sign of hospitality. Before guests are served, they are shown the green cardamom pods that will be used. The appearance of the pods is important; the more plump and perfect the pods, the more respect for the guest.

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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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