September 11, 2012

Recipe for pear and brie salad with cashews and dried cranberries {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Pear and brie salad, from The Perfect Pantry.

If you want to make this pear and brie salad just the way I made it, be prepared for a lot of prep time. Twelve years of prep time. First, buy a house with a pair of untended pear trees. Spend a few seasons pruning them to a third of their original size (and don't worry about the fact that they tilt precipitously, like that tower in Pisa). Every other year or so, harvest the pears when they are rock hard, and set them on the window sill. Check them every day. They will ripen, all of a sudden, and that is the day to make this salad. Substitute freely for everything except the pears; arugula can swap in for lettuce, fontina for brie, pecans for cashews, dried cherries for cranberries. Pear season lasts into the colder weather, making this a great salad for Fall.

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September 9, 2012

Recipe for gluten-free mango and raspberry crisp with almond topping

This mango and raspberry crisp has a gluten-free almond topping.

The arrival of Spring triggers in me an instant, visceral aversion to Spring cleaning. I don't know why -- perhaps a lifelong rebellion at being told what to do, and when to do it. This year, though, I've been cleaning out cupboards, storage boxes and shelves nonstop since March. Tucked away in a forgotten file, a cache of recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines years ago contained more than a few recipes I still wanted to try. One of those little scraps of paper inspired this mango and raspberry crisp. I had a nectarine that was perfectly ripe, so I combined it with the mango; I think any stone fruit (apricots? plums?) would be delicious. The almond topping, a last-minute inspiration, made these little crisps crunchy and gluten-free.

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August 19, 2012

Recipe for sugar-free, low-fat lemon frozen Greek yogurt

Lemon frozen Greek yogurt, sugar-free!

For a food writer, I'm kind of funny about food. I love strawberries, but not strawberry jam. I love crunchy raw carrots, but not mushy cooked ones. I love hummus, but not chickpeas. And I love frozen yogurt, but not regular yogurt right from the container. So it might seem odd when I tell you that I've been working for weeks to perfect this low-fat frozen Greek yogurt that's creamy and rich, with great "mouth feel" but no sugar, a diet-friendly, diabetic-friendly dessert I really love. I know it's a success because all five of our grandchildren, ages 1-1/2 to 11, ate every spoonful of it at dinner a few weeks ago.

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July 24, 2012

Recipe for no-cook blueberry apple soup {vegetarian}

No-cook blueberry apple soup, from The Perfect Pantry

One day a few weeks ago, I returned home to find a folded piece of paper stuck inside my screen door. It took but a moment to figure out who had left it, as Debbie and I were talking earlier about a blueberry soup recipe she wanted me to try. The recipe, from Yankee magazine, came with notes suggesting some changes, and when Bob handed me a couple of cups of gorgeous blueberries from his garden, I knew the time had come. I went far afield of the original version in creating this no-cook blueberry apple soup, substituting a small amount of agave nectar for the sugar, and eliminating the sour cream, but I kept the cinnamon-coriander spice combination because it warms up the tart blueberries. If you prefer an absolutely seedless soup, pass the mixture through a food mill. A scoop of lime sherbet would send this straight to dessert heaven.

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July 17, 2012

Arugula, berries and goat cheese salad with poppy seed dressing recipe {vegetarian}

Arugula-berries-and-goat-cheese-salad

It takes a village to make a salad. Well, it takes my village to make this salad: raspberries and blueberries from Bob and Charlotte, goat cheese from Christine (a cheesemaker-in-training), baby arugula from a farmstand up the road, all brought together by a simple poppy seed dressing from ingredients I always have in the pantry. One taste of this salad, and you'll want to move to my town and meet my friends, or at least get their addresses so you can collect the ingredients. Poppy seed dressings often contain onion (this one doesn't) and mustard (this one doesn't), and a little bit of sugar (this one does). I make mine just slightly sweet, a perfect counterpoint that doesn't overwhelm the bite of the arugula. Dark leafy greens and antioxidant-rich blueberries pack a powerful nutritional wallop -- a nice bonus in something that tastes so good.

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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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