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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April 8, 2012

How to make caramelized onions in the slow cooker (recipe)

Slow cooker caramelized onions. #slowcooker #crockpot

The seductive aroma of onions cooking all day perfumes every corner of my house, yet I'm not lifting a finger. No standing at the stove with a wooden spoon, no turning the flame down, down, down to make sure nothing is burning. Caramelizing brings out the natural sugar in onions, resulting in a condiment you can use in everything from soup to scrambled eggs, in a panini or on top of pizza. If you've ever wondered how to make caramelized onions in the slow cooker, or whether it's even possible, I'm here to tell you that you can, and you must, because nothing could be easier. Use regular yellow onions, not Vidalia or other sweet onions that contain more water. I trim five pounds ($1.99) of ordinary yellow onions down to a bit less than four pounds, slice them in the food processor, and cook them for 9 hours. I've been putting caramelized onions in everything lately, and I'll share a couple of the ways I use them later this week. A batch of onions will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. You won't be able to resist their allure.

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November 20, 2011

Green (or red) tomato and apple chutney recipe


Long after my tomato plants ceased producing ripe red tomatoes, they buckled under the weight of green tomatoes that had no intention of ripening on the vine. Unwilling to admit that the vines were done for the year, I left those green tomatoes out until the impending first frost forced me to harvest what the chipmunks left in the garden. I made another batch of slow-roasted green tomatoes, and used the rest for this green tomato and apple chutney. Not being a huge fan of super-sweet jams and jellies, I love chutney's tart flavor and chunky texture. Make some chutney now -- yes, it's okay to use red tomatoes, even the unripe ones from the market -- and store it in the refrigerator for a month or more. If you have leftover turkey on Thanksgiving weekend, pull out the chutney and throw together this turkey and brie panini; it's just bread, cheese, turkey, and green tomato chutney.

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August 11, 2011

Apple-blueberry chutney recipe

Apple-blueberry chuntney.

When my friend Lucia, who goes berry picking every year at our local orchard, posted on Facebook that she'd made blueberry chutney, I asked immediately if I could appropriate her idea. I didn't ask for her recipe, and instead looked to the bowls of produce sitting on my counter. I had blueberries from the farmers' market, and a couple of apples that were no longer entirely lovely on the outside. The herb garden offered fresh tarragon, something I love to grow but don't use often enough in my cooking. The remaining ingredients, traditional chutney components, came straight from the pantry: onions and garlic, vinegar and sugar, and a wee bit of heat. When my husband Ted and I sampled this straight from the pot, we felt the ingredients weren't quite balanced, but after a few hours chilling in the refrigerator, everything aligned. The flavor was just right, and the color oh-so-purple. Serve this on a cracker with cream cheese or a slice of brie, or on a turkey sandwich. Why not make some now, and freeze it for Thanksgiving?

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July 21, 2011

Mango, watermelon and tomato salsa fresca recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

A week of recipes designed for easy cooking, in or out of a burrito. Viva Mexico Week, Day Three.


Even though I love Mexican food, I'm a little afraid of salsa fresca, the salsa that works magic on chicken and bean burritos but almost always contains cilantro. Sometimes those cilantro leaves jump right up and grab onto my tongue, where I can't avoid the vaguely soapy taste they leave behind. One day, I had an epiphany: I can make my own salsa, and leave the cilantro out. Yes, out, completely, none, not one sprig of it. Don't tell anyone, but this mango, watermelon and tomato salsa fresca packs plenty of sweet and a touch of heat, flavor and crunch, and doesn't need cilantro at all. If you want to add it, I won't stop you, but try it without and enjoy your own little epiphany over your next burrito.

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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.

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