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December 13, 2012

Recipe for slow-cooker kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms

A dish from my grandmother's kitchen, kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms, updated for the slow cooker.

Some time during the summer, my slow cooker took up residence on the kitchen counter, and ever since, I've been inspired to adapt some of my favorite stove top recipes to the low-and-slow method. Kasha (buckwheat groats) reminds my taste buds of the best comfort food that came out of my Polish grandmother's kitchen, and it never fails to satisfy, whether I'm serving it as a side dish with roast chicken or brisket, or a lunch or light supper entree with a tangy green salad on the side. If you've never cooked with kasha before, look for it in the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store; it comes in three different granulations -- fine, medium, and coarse. This kasha, kicked up a bit with caramelized onions and mushrooms, does its thing without the frequent tending the stove top version demands, down to browning the onions right in the slow cooker. You can make ahead and freeze, then reheat in the microwave.

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May 13, 2012

Maple cinnamon matzoh brei recipe


Did you know that you can buy matzoh in the supermarket all year round, not just at Passover, and not just in the giant-size packages they sell during the holiday season? (If you don't know what matzoh looks like, here's a photo; it's a type of flatbread or large cracker.) In our house, we tend to buy the same plain kosher-for-Passover matzoh year after year, and to make the same matzoh brei recipe (my dad's classic) year after year. And we only make it during the holidays; I don't know why. I'm tired of the same old same old, and as proof, I offer this maple cinnamon matzoh brei (pronounced MAT-zah BRY), which is very much like a frittata or a really substantial quiche. Instead of the somewhat bland classic version that relies on salt for flavor, this sweet matzoh brei kicks off your day with cinnamon, maple syrup, and a bit of vanilla. I tested it on a group of friends a few weeks ago. There were no leftovers.

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December 5, 2010

Dried mushrooms (Recipe: mushroom Stroganoff soup, improved)

Mushroom stroganoff soup

One undefinable thing to know about dried mushrooms:

I have a big old mason jar where for many years I've stored dried mushrooms. The last time we visited the south of France, too long ago, I purchased two large bags of dried cepes from a mushroom farmer at a small weekly market near the village where my sister-in-law lives. When I got home, I put those mushrooms in the jar, and used them sparingly, because they were a precious souvenir of our travels and also because they were so potent that only small amounts were needed to impart rich flavor. The mushrooms lasted for years, and to this day, every time I open the jar, though the mushrooms are long gone, the aroma of deep woods remains. Damp earth, fresh grass, deep shade: all of those smells stayed in the jar. I can't really define what the woods smell like, just that it's the aroma of dried mushrooms.

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October 18, 2009

Wine you'd be happy to drink (Recipe: Grandma's beef brisket in the slow cooker) {gluten-free}

Grandma's beef brisket

Question: Why should you cook with wine you'd be happy to drink?

Answer: So you can drink the leftover wine!

That's a good reason -- a great reason -- but it's not the only reason.

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December 11, 2008

Buckwheat groats (Recipe: vegetarian kasha varnishkes)


Two things readers ask most often about The Perfect Pantry:

Is there a list of everything in your pantry? And, why haven't you written about... (black-eyed peas, fennel pollen, porcupine noses...)?

Yes, there is a list. I don't publish it, but I've written about each ingredient in my pantry, at least once.

To be included in The Perfect Pantry, an ingredient must be something I use to make other things, which rules out Fresca, which I always have in my refrigerator, and also porcupine noses, which I can't imagine anyone would like, as well as many more palatable things that simply don't appeal to me, like black-eyed peas and fennel pollen.

Also, the ingredient must be something I use in more than one way, or that I use in one way, but over and over again.

Buckwheat groats fall into that second category. My pantry, and my childhood, would be incomplete without it.

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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry®

  • 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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