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November 13, 2012

Recipe for sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce

Sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce, with hints of orange.

My cranberry sauce failures -- undercooked, overjelled -- are the stuff of legend in my family. I admit that the molded cranberry sauce I watched slide down the sink drain as I inverted it onto a platter shook my confidence for a while, but it didn't defeat me. I've tried many versions of cranberry over the years, including spicy dried cranberry and pear chutney, my personal favorite. With several Type 1 diabetics in the family, I wanted to create a sugar-free cranberry sauce they could enjoy, and this one was a hit on our holiday table last Thanksgiving. Prepared in the slow cooker, with just a few ingredients (and no blurping splatters all over the stove), it's so good that nobody will believe it's also sugar-free. Make this several days ahead and store in the refrigerator; let it come to room temperature before you serve.

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August 9, 2012

Celery seed (Recipe: refrigerator zucchini pickles) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

First published in June 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. Special thanks to my friends Bob and Charlotte for the zucchini (and blossoms, what a treat!) from their garden, and to all of the friends who've left zucchini on my front porch this month. Oh, and don't worry about adjusting your computer screen; it's turmeric that gives these pickles their vibrant yellow color.

Refrigerator zucchini pickles, from The Perfect Pantry.

If it weren't for potato salad and pickles, my celery seed would be toast.

All winter, it sits on the spice rack, pushed farther and farther to the rear of the shelf.

In summer, when I'm ready to make pickles and potato salad (Why only in summer? I don't know.), I retrieve the celery seed, dust off the jar, use a few teaspoons here and there, and send it back to its place. Every other year or so, I throw out the mostly-full but decidedly less-zesty spice, buy a new jar, and start the cycle again.

Time to admit that maybe celery seed shouldn't be in The Perfect Pantry? Time to broaden my culinary repertoire?

Time to start drinking Bloody Marys?

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July 31, 2012

Recipe for quick and easy Asian pickled cole slaw {vegan, gluten-free}

Quick and easy Asian pickled cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry.

What's in a name? If I named this dish pickled cabbage, it might conjure up images of clay jars of fermented, kind-of-smelly kimchi buried in the ground out behind the house, and to some, that's a real turn-off. So, I thought, why not call it pickled cole slaw? And then, go one step further and actually make it with store-bought cole slaw mix? Of course, you can shred green or red cabbage, and a few carrots, and make your own mix, but I let someone else do the work. Buy cole slaw mix in a bag at the grocery store and rinse in very cold water to perk it up. Add the seasonings for a quick brine, and this Asian pickled cole slaw is ready to eat in an hour. No need to dig up your back yard. Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken or meat, or in a fish taco.

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June 3, 2012

Allspice (Recipe: rhubarb apricot chutney)

First published in May 2008, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. If you missed it the first time around, please enjoy this seasonal rhubarb recipe and some fun facts about allspice.

Rhubarb apricot chutney goes with all of your favorite Indian dishes.

Next time I reorganize my spice rack, I'm abandoning my usual system.

Next time, I will not group the little jars into peppers, salts, baking spices, warm spices and leafy green herbs.

Next time, I'll sort my dried herbs and spices this way:

  1. aphrodisiacs
  2. miracle cures
  3. brings prosperity and good fortune
  4. used for embalming pharoahs in ancient Egypt

That covers just about everything on my spice rack, including allspice (a triple whammy: numbers 2, 3 and 4).

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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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