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March 29, 2012

Recipe for chocolate cake in a mug


On one of those days when silly little things were going wrong -- the bank machine was out of cash, and the office where I need to get my dump sticker was closed at 11 a.m. for no reason at all -- I absolutely, positively needed chocolate to restore my equilibrium. With no stash of candy or brownies in the house, I pulled out a recipe I've been saving for months from Ingredient, a cooking magazine for children. Chocolate cake in a mug (or an old glass measuring cup), made in less than two minutes. Almost like a brownie, the cake, kicked up from the original recipe with grown-up pantry items (walnuts, cinnamon, crystallized ginger, sea salt), delivered nearly instant gratification. The dump sticker could wait.

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February 16, 2012

Swedish soda bread recipe


Don't you love a recipe with a pedigree? I do. This Swedish soda bread recipe came to me from my friend Bev, who first tasted a version of it at an opening reception at the Providence Art Club. Bev asked Joan, the artist, for the recipe; Joan had made it as Irish soda bread, with caraway seeds instead of cardamom, and shortening instead of butter. When I sampled Bev's Swedish adaptation, it seemed more like cake, so I baked mine in one of the Bundt pans I collect but seldom use. (I can't explain my fascination with Bundt pans. I just love them.) Bev made hers in a round cake pan. Serve the soda bread warm, with a pat of sweet butter and a cup of tea, when friends stop by for a mid-afternoon visit.

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November 29, 2011

Recipe for double chocolate pumpkin pecan loaf cake


As much as I love chocolate -- and I do love chocolate -- I seldom bake or eat chocolate cake. Truth be told, I'm more of a cookie gal. However, when the pantry presented me with all of the ingredients for this double chocolate pumpkin pecan loaf cake, including some canned pumpkin left from baking these pumpkin chocolate chip biscotti, I couldn't resist. Despite the presence of chocolate chips, this cake is not overly sweet, yet it's melt-in-your-mouth moist. Kathy and I thought a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt would make a perfect topping, but we didn't have any on hand when we took the photographs. (Good thing, too, or you'd be seeing even less of the cake than you are now.) Make your cake ahead, let it cool completely, cut it in half cross-wise and freeze it. That way you'll have some on hand for the holidays, and some for a lucky friend or two who might stop in for afternoon tea.

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October 2, 2011

Quick and easy apple or pear tart recipe


Soon after Ted and I moved to Boston's South End in 1980, we met a woman who lived on Fort Hill, a middle class, not-yet-gentrified enclave of brick row houses in the midst of the low-income, mostly black and Hispanic Roxbury neighborhood. She invited us to dinner, and we had a lovely evening. Then, we called a taxi to pick us up. Our host laughed, and said no cabs would come to her neighborhood at that time of night. She was right, as it turned out, and we waited an uncomfortably long hour-plus until one finally arrived. Fortunately, our awkward exit isn't all I remember about that night; I remember the apple tart she made for dessert. This is it, a bare-bones, apple-lover's, no-gooey-pastry-cream tart best made with crisp apples (and equally delicious made with sweet pears). If you've spent any time here in The Perfect Pantry, you know I don't bake. In fact, I'm a bake-o-phobe. So, when I tell you this pretty tart is super quick and easy, believe me. You can do it.

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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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