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November 13, 2012

Recipe for sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce

Sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce, with hints of orange.

My cranberry sauce failures -- undercooked, overjelled -- are the stuff of legend in my family. I admit that the molded cranberry sauce I watched slide down the sink drain as I inverted it onto a platter shook my confidence for a while, but it didn't defeat me. I've tried many versions of cranberry over the years, including spicy dried cranberry and pear chutney, my personal favorite. With several Type 1 diabetics in the family, I wanted to create a sugar-free cranberry sauce they could enjoy, and this one was a hit on our holiday table last Thanksgiving. Prepared in the slow cooker, with just a few ingredients (and no blurping splatters all over the stove), it's so good that nobody will believe it's also sugar-free. Make this several days ahead and store in the refrigerator; let it come to room temperature before you serve.

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October 23, 2012

Recipe for curried apple and pecan broccoli slaw {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Curried apple and pecan broccoli slaw, a delicious side dish with roast turkey or chicken.

Here in Apple Valley, the parking lots at pick-your-own orchards overflow with cars every weekend in October and November. One even sets up a popcorn stand, and a bouncy house to keep the little ones entertained while the older kids and parents, armed with picking baskets on long poles, head off into the adjacent grove of apple trees. When you live in a place with a dozen apple orchards, you learn to appreciate apples in season. My love affair with broccoli slaw, however, knows no seasonal boundary. This curried apple and pecan broccoli slaw brings together the best of Apple Valley with one of my favorite ways to get more greens into our diet. I haven't finalized my Thanksgiving menu yet, but I think this quick-and-easy side dish just might find its way to the holiday table.

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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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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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