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August 18, 2013

Recipe for shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry with Asian cilantro vinaigrette {gluten-free}

Shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry with Asian cilantro vinaigrette.

As you might expect, we cook a lot around here. Most of the time, I make the food, and my husband Ted makes sure it's good enough to share with you. Every now and then, however, I come up with something so thoroughly irresistible that we don't even want to share with each other. After photographing this shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry, I left the bowl on the kitchen counter. Despite the fact that it was 9:00 in the morning and we'd just finished breakfast, we couldn't stop nibbling, a shrimp here, a pepper there, until we were running our fingers inside the empty bowl to capture every last drop of the Asian cilantro vinaigrette. Fortunately we had some of the dressing left over (I made it with a mix of cilantro and a little bit of flat-leaf parsley, from our herb garden), and I used it the next day on a grilled flank steak, lettuce and avocado salad. We licked that plate clean, too.

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August 13, 2013

Recipe for lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls {gluten-free}

Lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls.

When I first thought about making lighter lobster rolls in rice paper wrappers, I didn't dare tell anyone. Here in New England, people take lobster rolls seriously. Lobster rolls are served in lightly toasted and buttered hot dog buns. Period. No exceptions. So, these lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls break all the rules. Lemon and basil? Never. Shrimp instead of lobster? Simply not done. Skip the hot dog bun? Don't even think about it. That's the official position, but for me, these salad rolls hit all the high notes. I always have shrimp in my freezer, so that's what I use, but if you're lucky enough to have some leftover steamed lobster, swap that for the shrimp. You can wrap the rolls in lettuce leaves instead of the rice paper, to keep them really light. Just don't call them lobster rolls if you're in my neighborhood; no one will believe you.

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July 23, 2013

Recipe for salmon and greens salad with buttermilk lemon-thyme dressing {gluten-free}

Salmon and greens salad with buttermilk lemon thyme dressing.

One of the mainstays of summer dining, main course salads showcase what's in season, and if you're clever and have a well-stocked pantry, you can serve the same fresh ingredients over and over, while changing the flavor completely with fresh herbs and dressings. Case in point: this salmon and greens salad with buttermilk lemon-thyme dressing. It takes inspiration from my very favorite green salad, the one with nectarines and olives and our house vinaigrette dressing, crossed with another favorite, maple glazed salmon salad. Same primary ingredients -- salmon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and greens -- remixed with a dose of tang from buttermilk and lemon. No one will catch on.

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June 4, 2013

Recipe for Jamaican run down (fish stew with tomato, peppers and coconut milk) {gluten-free}

Jamaican run down, a robust fish stew. #glutenfree

Jamaican cooks make magic with fish. Dishes like run down aren't complicated, but they are definitely more than the sum of their parts. (The name originates from the way the fish is cooked until it falls apart, or "runs down.") When big chunks of fresh-caught fish, tomato, peppers, onion, lime juice, and a bit of hot chile pepper, distinctively Caribbean ingredients that you probably have in your pantry, come together in a coconut milk base, you end up with a fish stew that's hearty but not heavy. Here in New England the fishmongers sell cod loin, a thick cut of white fish; if you don't like cod, or can't find the loin cut, use salmon, halibut, red snapper or mackerel, whichever looks best at the market. Serve run down as a main course, with rice (for a gluten-free dish) or some crusty bread to mop the bottom of the bowl. Remember: food that comes from hot climates really does cool you down in the summer.

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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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