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January 29, 2013

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup recipe {gluten-free}

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup, a hearty Meatless Monday entree (gluten-free).

Once upon a time, I didn't need a scorecard to remember my family's culinary preferences. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in middle age, I forget who loves olives, who hates mushrooms, who likes tomatoes on their pizza and who won't eat anything green. So, it was inevitable that, when I cooked a big holiday dinner for my stepson and grandkids, I would get something wrong, and I came home with three pounds of leftover mashed sweet potatoes that none of the kids would touch. Lucky me: I turned those already-mashed potatoes into this rich and creamy Indian-spiced sweet potato soup. It's vegan and gluten-free, and you can make it even if you don't have leftovers. Top each individual bowl with traditional curry garnishes (cashews, raisins, chopped apple or shredded coconut) to create a hearty one-dish meal.

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January 6, 2013

Recipe for boerenkool (kale with mashed potatoes) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Boerenkool (kale with mashed potatoes), a traditional Dutch side dish. Versatile and gluten-free.

For years before I started blogging, I wrote for newspapers and magazines. My stories introduced readers to my neighbors through the food they cooked, most often recipes they carried with them from their family heritage, or from their home countries. Betta lived on the block where I worked in Boston's South End. Born in British Borneo to Dutch parents who moved the family back to Holland when she was a young girl, Betta taught me to make boerenkool stamppot, a traditional Dutch dish of kale with mashed potatoes and sausages. I thought about that combination recently when I came across some leftover mashed potatoes in my refrigerator, and I adapted her recipe a bit to show off some beautiful baby kale from the market. Boerenkool, which means "farmer's cabbage", makes a hearty side dish for any roast or grilled meat, poultry or fish; turn it into a traditional stamppot by serving with your favorite sausages (I served mine with some tri-tip). Betta tops her kale and potatoes very nontraditionally, with a dollop of cranberry sauce.

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December 13, 2012

Recipe for slow-cooker kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms

A dish from my grandmother's kitchen, kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms, updated for the slow cooker.

Some time during the summer, my slow cooker took up residence on the kitchen counter, and ever since, I've been inspired to adapt some of my favorite stove top recipes to the low-and-slow method. Kasha (buckwheat groats) reminds my taste buds of the best comfort food that came out of my Polish grandmother's kitchen, and it never fails to satisfy, whether I'm serving it as a side dish with roast chicken or brisket, or a lunch or light supper entree with a tangy green salad on the side. If you've never cooked with kasha before, look for it in the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store; it comes in three different granulations -- fine, medium, and coarse. This kasha, kicked up a bit with caramelized onions and mushrooms, does its thing without the frequent tending the stove top version demands, down to browning the onions right in the slow cooker. You can make ahead and freeze, then reheat in the microwave.

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September 30, 2012

Recipe for Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta {gluten-free}

Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta, a year-round favorite.

To everything, there is a season. Everything except lentils, which are timeless. Depending on what you have on hand, and what you find at the farmers' market, you can pair lentils with acorn squash, or tomatoes, or mint, or fresh green peas. Or you can make this Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta using ingredients you probably keep in your pantry all year round. Lemon, feta and thyme (or oregano), the classic Greek seasonings, all play off the earthy lentils; you can omit the cheese and substitute homemade mushroom broth for the chicken stock to make this vegan. Lentil soup freezes beautifully, so make a big pot on the weekend, and portion it out for lunches or worknight dinners. Serve with a hunk of crusty bread and a light green salad on the side.

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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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