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February 18, 2015

Spaghetti squash boat with clams, zucchini, peppers and olives {gluten-free}

Roasted spaghetti squash boats filled with clams, vegetables and cheese. #glutenfree

Today, despite the umpteenth day of snow, The Perfect Pantry® departs the log house kitchen, where the blog was born and where my e-books and their headless videos came to life, and moves to the city. My husband Ted and I are excited to return full-time to Boston's South End, a multi-ethnic neighborhood where we've lived since 1980. I'm going to take a few days to unpack, organize the kitchen and pantry, and stock up at the wonderful local stores -- Syrian Grocery (olives, spices, pita bread), Formaggio (cheese, bread and more spices), Ming's Market (Asian), Morse Fish, Foodies supermarket (great produce and butcher) -- that are within blocks of our apartment. I also have to figure out where, and how, to take food photographs in the new space. If you're curious, I'll be sharing photos of my new kitchen in the next Tidbits newsletter, so if you're not already subscribed (it's free), click this link to sign up. In the meantime, I want you to keep cooking, so I'm leaving you with a spaghetti squash recipe, one we've made many times over the past few months, and I hope you'll try it this week. If you don't love clams, substitute shrimp or scallops or mussels, and for liquid, use a bottle of clam juice from the supermarket. I'll be back soon with more recipes -- sooner if you come and help me unpack -- and Like or Dislike will be here on Saturday morning as usual.

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January 18, 2015

Turkey, brie, roasted red pepper and arugula panini with honey mustard sauce

Turkey, creamy brie, roasted red pepper, spicy arugula: piled into one great sandwich!

Nothing, but nothing, beats a really great grilled cheese sandwich. If you've seen the movie Chef, you know how much of an event a grilled cheese sandwich can be. Like the dad in the movie, my father was our family's official grilled cheese master, carefully buttering white bread, precisely positioning a few square slices of yellow cheese, pressing it flat under a plate in a frying pan on the stove, tending it until the bread turned perfectly golden. Well, that was a bit of heaven to me. Nowadays my grilled cheese creations tend to end up in the panini press, and there's usually more between the pieces of bread than just one type of cheese. Greens, meats, multiple cheeses, roasted vegetables: anything goes. In this sandwich, the honey-mustard sauce marries the mild turkey and cheese with the spicy arugula and red pepper. You can swap rotisserie chicken for the turkey.

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January 7, 2015

Confetti spaghetti squash with peppers, zucchini, lemon and capers {vegan, gluten-free}

Scrape out strands of spaghetti squash topped with colorful vegetables. Fun for kids and adults! #vegan #glutenfree

When I first shared this recipe in a post about capers, in January 2008, I thought that, because I found it in a kids' cookbook, it would be typical kid food. Au contraire. Capers give the vegetable sauce a sophisticated profile, but honestly, I imagine my grandkids would take great pains to pick out each and every caper berry. Two changes I've made in the way I prepare this recipe now: I use smaller amounts of both capers and lemon juice, which tend to overwhelm the delicate vegetables, and I add a teaspoon of garlic. I like to serve the vegetable topping right in the spaghetti squash, so each person can scrape out his or her own squash as they go along. Sometimes, I grate some parmesan or asiago cheese on top. Not vegan, but delicious.

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December 14, 2014

Shredded Brussels sprouts salad with dried blueberries, pecans, and maple-miso dressing {vegan}

Thinly shredded Brussels sprouts with dried blueberries get tenderized by maple dressing. A quick and easy salad! #vegan #salad

A huge stalk of Brussels sprouts, on sale at the local market for $4.99, caught my eye last week. Too large for the grocery bags I'd brought, the stalk nestled under my arm as I left the store. By the time I arrived home, I had lost the will to cook, but not the will to eat. This salad requires no cooking, save a brief toasting of the pecans while you're throwing everything else together. You can make the maple-miso dressing ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator for a week or more. Trim the sprouts and toss them into a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, to save time. Or attack them one by one with a sharp knife; cut off the very bottom edge, slice each sprout in half lengthwise, and then make cross-wise cuts to get very thin pieces. The blueberries add extra antioxidant power to an already-powerful side dish, but if you can't find them, swap in dried cranberries, which are available in any grocery store. And to serve as a vegetarian main course or Meatless Monday entrée, add some crumbled feta or blue cheese.

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October 22, 2014

Traditional turkey meatloaf

Traditional turkey meatloaf with a ketchup glaze.

In the house where I grew up, my mother was a big-time name dropper when it came to what we ate. Our tuna was Bumble Bee, our bread was Wonder (yes, really), and our ketchup was Heinz. Always. And, though Wonder Bread is long gone from my pantry and I don't eat much canned tuna, I'm still a Heinz girl. When my husband Ted requested a turkey meatloaf, I considered many of the same flavor combinations I love in turkey meatballs, but in the end, I went traditional (almost) all the way, with ketchup as one of the primary seasonings. Any brand of ketchup will work; just make sure the one you choose is more tangy than sweet. Greek yogurt helps keep the meatloaf moist, and an egg holds it together. This turkey meatloaf passed the most important test; it sliced perfectly for sandwiches on the next day. Make it ahead and stash it in the freezer for a night when you don't have time to cook. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

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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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