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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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May 10, 2011

Recipe for pan seared salmon with tomato-caper relish {gluten-free}


When guests come for dinner, I go out of my way to accommodate their likes and dislikes. Sometimes menu planning that takes into account who doesn't like what can be a challenge, especially when I'm trying out new recipes to share with you on The Perfect Pantry. The fresh topping on this salmon dish could be called "Bob's Nightmare Relish"; it includes fresh tomatoes, olives, and capers, all of which are on my friend Bob's cross-the-street-to-avoid list. Fortunately, they're on my love-'em-lots list, and in combination they brighten up even the most simply prepared fish, chicken or vegetables. I used canned black olives, because they're mild and because I always have them in my pantry; if you prefer Kalamata olives, be sure to rinse them to remove excess brine. Fresh tomatoes are a must.

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February 27, 2011

Jalapeño nectarine salsa fresca recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

Jalapeno nectarine salsa fresca

Have you seen Ingredient, a cooking magazine for children ages 6-12 (and their adult sous chefs)? My husband Ted and I sent a gift subscription to our nine-year-old granddaughter Sabina, and we ordered a subscription for ourselves, too, so we can cook together even though we don't live nearby. In the January issue, we learned a lot about jalapeño peppers: how they got their name, how hot they are on the Scoville Unit scale, how to temper the heat, and how to make a simple fruit salsa. Our granddaughter, an adventurous (and vegetarian) eater, loves salsa; she'll probably enjoy hers with tortilla chips, but we're having ours with grilled chicken. Fruit salsas are delicious with fish or shellfish, beef or quesadillas, and the bright tang of lime and cilantro will bring the taste of summer into your kitchen, even when you're grilling outdoors in your mittens.

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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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