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December 11, 2012

Recipe for marinated mozzarella with garlic and slow-roasted tomatoes {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Marinated mozzarella with slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomatoes, and plenty of garlic.

When my husband Ted saw the jar of marinated mozzarella with slow-roasted tomato in the refrigerator, he laughed and said it looked like brains. In fact, it's just the opposite: a no-brainer appetizer that takes two minutes to prepare, and a few days to marinate in the refrigerator. No cooking, no fussing. During the busy holiday entertaining season, it helps to have a few easy appetizers in your repertoire. You can keep these in the refrigerator for a week, while they soak up more and more of the garlicky tomato and herb flavor. Serve the mozzarella as an appetizer, with crackers or toasted bread; or, toss the cheese with pasta for a quick weeknight dinner, or press into panini sandwiches with some peppery arugula.

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November 25, 2012

Recipe for turkey, kale and cheese quesadillas

Turkey, kale and cheese quesadillas, a great way to use leftovers.

To tell you my husband Ted and I loved these quesadillas would be an understatement. So, I'll just tell you that we devoured them three days in a row, which, if you have lots and lots of turkey leftovers, is a good thing to know. Pull out any shredded cheese you have in your freezer, any salsa (or chutney, or even leftover cranberry sauce) from the fridge, and any type of tortillas you have on hand; I love these habanero-lime tortillas from Trader Joe's, which are both orange and spicy. Cook the kale with salsa or sofrito to give it a bit of a kick, and you have a quesadilla so good you'll forget you're eating Thanksgiving leftovers.

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September 13, 2012

Recipe for egg casserole with Italian cheeses, sun-dried tomato and fresh herbs {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Egg casserole with Italian cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs, for breakfast or light supper.

A bag of beautiful sun-dried tomatoes, a gift from my friend Mary, inspired several dishes in my kitchen recently, including this baked egg casserole with Italian cheeses and fresh herbs from my garden. Egg casseroles make ideal breakfast, brunch or light supper entrées. You can whip them up in minutes, they serve a lot of people, and they adapt to almost any flavor profile, so you can raid the pantry or use up leftover chicken, pasta or cooked vegetables. Add green chiles and cumin, for a Mexican flair, or soy sauce and scallions, to put an egg foo yung spin on this recipe. I love the classic combination of tomato with basil and thyme, both of which are still prolific in my herb garden.

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September 11, 2012

Recipe for pear and brie salad with cashews and dried cranberries {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Pear and brie salad, from The Perfect Pantry.

If you want to make this pear and brie salad just the way I made it, be prepared for a lot of prep time. Twelve years of prep time. First, buy a house with a pair of untended pear trees. Spend a few seasons pruning them to a third of their original size (and don't worry about the fact that they tilt precipitously, like that tower in Pisa). Every other year or so, harvest the pears when they are rock hard, and set them on the window sill. Check them every day. They will ripen, all of a sudden, and that is the day to make this salad. Substitute freely for everything except the pears; arugula can swap in for lettuce, fontina for brie, pecans for cashews, dried cherries for cranberries. Pear season lasts into the colder weather, making this a great salad for Fall.

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August 23, 2012

Lobster, corn and basil quiche recipe

Lobster, corn and basil quiche, from The Perfect Pantry.

Last Saturday -- an average day, no special occasion -- I awoke with the urge to make a luxurious breakfast for my husband Ted and me. No explanation of why I felt drawn to cook on a Saturday morning (believe me, this never happens), but I recognized it right away as a splendid idea. My pantry offered the basic components for quiche: pie crust, eggs, cheese. Basil in the garden, and cooked lobster tail and roasted corn in the freezer from a recent Trader Joe's shopping trip, came together in this lobster, corn and basil quiche. Fresh lobster and corn cut off the cob would make it that much better, but it was so good that I want you to make this recipe even if you rely on frozen and pantry ingredients. You can substitute shrimp, langoustines or chunks of salmon for the lobster. Serve this quiche with a green salad and glass of white wine for lunch or supper, or make it for breakfast on an ordinary Saturday morning, and turn the day into a special occasion.

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  • 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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