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October 31, 2013

Powdered buttermilk (Recipe: apple spice bread)

First published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. I think I've made this apple spice bread more than any other quick bread, ever. My family loves it, so I try to keep one in the freezer at all times. (Doesn't everyone keep an emergency apple bread on hand?)

Apple spice bread (make ahead and freeze).

When most people think of Rhode Island, they think of Newport mansions. Jazz festivals. Clambakes on the beach. Rhode Island Red chickens. (Okay, not everyone thinks of chickens....)

Until I moved here, I was one of those people. If you'd told me I was moving to apple country — that, in fact, I'd be buying my Macouns at an orchard named Apple Land — I would have said "hah!". But here I am, smack dab in apple land, where I can buy Jonagolds and Cortlands, Mutsu and Macintosh, from August until March.

The thing about apple land is that it's miles from here to anything like a grocery store. So I always keep powdered buttermilk, an essential ingredient in my favorite apple spice bread and other baked goodies, in my pantry.

What is buttermilk? And what makes it cultured

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October 27, 2013

Irish soda bread muffin recipe

Irish soda bread muffins, with golden raisins.

In my family, there are people who remember in detail the dreams they had days, weeks or years ago. I don't mean hopes-and-dreams; I mean I-just-woke-up-where's-my-coffee dreams. I'm not one of those people, so when I tell you that the idea for these Irish soda bread muffins came to me in a dream, and I remembered and then actually made them, you'll understand why in every sense of the word, these muffins are a minor miracle. I know that Irish soda bread purists will cringe at the notion of golden raisins, but they add just the right amount of sweet. Though it's good to let the muffins cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers, my husband Ted and I couldn't wait, and we slathered on some butter as soon as the muffins came out of the oven. It was the right thing to do.

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September 22, 2013

Cinnamon buttermilk muffins recipe

Cinnamon buttermilk muffins.

Real estate agents tell you that, when you are selling your house, you should bake chocolate chip cookies to fill the air with that tantalizing aroma. For me, it's the scent of cinnamon that makes my house feel like home, and that's what I was craving when I baked these cinnamon buttermilk muffins. Determined to use every drop of the quart of buttermilk I bought for this orange Bundt cake, I've made salad dressings and sauces, and still I have a cup of buttermilk left. You can add anything to this batter: fresh or dried fruit, chocolate chips, lemon or orange zest. Serve these light and fluffy muffins for breakfast, or with an afternoon cup of tea.

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July 30, 2013

Mexican red corn bread recipe

Mexican red corn bread, with green chiles and corn kernels.

When we wrote Rhode Island Recipes: Creative, healthy cooking with iconic local foods, Jennifer of Savor the Thyme and I didn't fully appreciate one of the perks: the opportunity to meet all of the food producers in the book, and to learn about new products, sometimes before they hit the market. Kenyon's Grist Mill isn't new -- they've been grinding grains on their Rhode Island site since 1696 -- but their red corn meal is new to me. I adapted a recipe from the Kenyon's site for this Mexican red corn bread. It's a rustic pan bread, lumpy and bumpy with chopped green chile peppers and whole corn kernels (I used frozen, fire-roasted corn). If you like your corn bread on the sweet side, add an additional tablespoon of sugar, as the original recipe suggests. You can substitute yellow, blue or white finely ground corn meal, or purchase Kenyon's red corn meal online or at their mill shop here in Rhode Island.

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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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