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June 8, 2014

Traditional New England crab cakes

New England crab cakes taste best with a spicy aioli mayonnaise sauce.

When I stopped at my local fish market to buy some crab meat, I asked the fishmonger what he had available. He told me had frozen crabmeat, and when I inquired whether I'd have to pick it over to get out little pieces of shell, he shot me a look and said, "This crab meat is without equal." How could I pass that up? He was absolutely right, and the crab, which is not local to New Engand though we have made crab cakes our own, was plump and sweet, and clean. This recipe, which I got many years ago from my friend Jennifer, makes eight large crab cakes, which would be a perfect lunch for four people, or a dozen smaller bite-size treats for appetizers. Tartar sauce or aioli mayonnaise make the perfect slathering sauce.

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May 29, 2014

Shrimp and coconut curry noodle soup

Shrimp and coconut curry noodle soup recipe. #soup

My pantry might not be 100 percent perfect, but it seldom lets me down. The cupboards, fridge and freezer harbor lots of great stuff, and when I'm in the mood to play in the kitchen, I can find inspiration on every single shelf. That's how this shrimp and coconut curry noodle soup recipe came together. Craving a bowl of tom kha gai, the popular Thai chicken coconut soup, I foraged in the pantry. In the freezer, I found shrimp instead of chicken. There was plenty of red curry paste (there always is), and coconut milk, and scallions from the garden. With the addition of some thin fideo noodles that I usually use for Middle Eastern rice pilaf, I borrowed some mushrooms bought for a different recipe, and I had my soup. A word of caution: start slowly with the red curry paste; you can always add more. I might have made my soup just a bit spicier than the recipe indicates.

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April 29, 2014

Recipe for shrimp and black bean salad with chipotle-lime dressing {gluten-free}

Shrimp and black bean salad, kicked up with chipotle lime dressing! #salad #shrimp #glutenfree

Never underestimate the power of color to inspire what we cook. I'd been working nonstop on my new e-book (Dress Up Your Salad, available now!), and testing lots of salad dressings and salad combinations. One day a few weeks ago, while my kitchen overflowed with jars, and herbs, and prepped ingredients, I took a break and treated myself to a little spree at my favorite local discount store, where I found this bowl. You know the rest: bowl meets black beans meets gorgeous red bell pepper meets kicked-up chipotle lime salad dressing. The shrimp were a bonus, and absolutely perfect, but you could swap in some shredded rotisserie chicken if that's what you have on hand. Go ahead and add some chopped avocado, cold cooked rice, or sliced onion, too. This is a light main-course salad to celebrate the arrival of Spring, and it will carry you straight through summer picnic season.

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April 17, 2014

Seafood and broccoli salad recipe with curry yogurt dressing

Seafood and broccoli salad with curry yogurt dressing. #salad #curry

On the day I made this dish to photograph -- the third time we ate this salad in one week -- I intended to go to the fish market and buy a beautiful melange of scallops and mussels and maybe some chunks of salmon, and mix them all together with the broccoli and curry yogurt dressing. I intended to go, but I didn't. So, I made the salad with large shrimp I had in the freezer, and it was every bit as good as the mixed seafood, which proves that a great salad dressing can snazz up any ingredients you toss with it. Let your imagination, and the fishmonger, guide you, and combine any fish and shellfish with crisp broccoli florets, lightly blanched, and some toasted cashews (or pine nuts, or even chickpeas) and raisins. The dressing keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, which should be ample time to get to the fish market.

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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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