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May 1, 2014

Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: spicy chicken balls)

Originally published in January 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. I still love chili paste with garlic best of all the ingredients in my pantry. I make these chicken balls small enough for bite-size appetizers, and they're so flavor-packed that they don't even need a dipping sauce. You could go larger, and serve them with noodles or rice.

Spicy chicken balls, a great appetizer. #appetizer

With the new year comes wisdom, and, at last, I have an answer to the question of the ages:

What's your favorite pantry item?

Oh. You were expecting another question. Something along the lines of what is the meaning of life? Why is the Earth round? Why did the chicken cross the road?

Here in The Perfect Pantry, I'm often asked about my favorite pantry item. So here it is, my favorite, the one thing I'd choose if I had to choose just one thing.

Chili paste with garlic.

Even as I write this, I'm mentally checking the pantry shelf. I know I have at least three jars -- a kind of chili paste security blanket -- plus the open jar in the refrigerator. Whew. Enough.

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April 27, 2014

Mexican adobo chicken rice bowl recipe {gluten-free}

Mexican adobo chicken rice bowl, an easy worknight dinner.  #glutenfree

ADOBO. Talk about an identity crisis. There's adobo, the smoky, spicy tomato-vinegar sauce for chipotle peppers, and there's adobo, the Filipino national dish of pork or chicken stewed in vinegar-laced liquid. And there's Mexican or Puerto Rican adobo, more of a dry rub than a wet marinade. I used Mexican adobo spices as a base for this recipe with a small amount of vinegar, marinated chunks of chicken breast, added enough broth to make a sauce, and cooked it on the stovetop. Then, I served the chicken and sauce on a bowl of brown rice, with a good dose of scallions cut from my garden. You can make all of the components of this dish ahead of time. Add some broccoli or asparagus, if you have it. This is a very satisfying (and gluten-free) meal-in-a-bowl.

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March 30, 2014

Recipe for slow cooker chicken curry with sweet potatoes, tomato and raisins {gluten-free}

Slow cooker chicken curry (The Perfect Pantry).

On its way to becoming a traditional chicken korma -- curry in a tomato and yogurt sauce -- this slow cooker chicken curry veered off the path, and I'm so glad it did. Chicken korma isn't a fiery hot curry like vindaloo, but because I like heat, I used hot curry powder instead of mild. And then I realized I wanted sweet heat, so I added raisins and agave nectar to bring the curry into balance. Like all curries, this dish is very accommodating; if you prefer chicken breast, use that (but cut the cooking time slightly). If you don't like sweet potato, try red-skinned potatoes. Play with the sweet and heat to your own taste by adjusting the curry powder (use mild instead of hot), red pepper flakes (more or less than the recipe specifies), and agave.

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February 9, 2014

Cayenne pepper (Recipe: doro wot, Ethiopian chicken in red pepper sauce) {gluten-free}

Originally published in November 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. In the way that pad Thai is often the first dish people try at a Thai restaurant, doro wot might be the most popular dish at Ethiopian restaurants in America. It's great for parties.

Doro wot (Ethiopian chicken in red pepper sauce), from The Perfect Pantry.

Twenty or so years ago, the City of Boston, in a brief spate of urban beautification that would have made Lady Bird Johnson proud, bestowed upon us a Norway maple sapling to fill the empty tree hole in the brick sidewalk in front of our house.

We loved that little tree. So did every dog in the neighborhood.

To discourage the small gifts those dogs left us (in the days before pooper-scoopering was mandatory), we sprinkled cayenne pepper around the tree hole. It worked. Every so often we'd hear a little sneeze... and we'd watch a very surprised puppy move along, perhaps to find a kinder and gentler tree hole.

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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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