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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 25, 2014

Slow cooker Mexican fiesta breakfast or brunch frittata {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker Mexican fiesta breakfast or brunch frittata recipe. Olé! #eggs #crockpot #slowcooker

Don't adjust your computer screen: the farm-fresh eggs I used to make this slow cooker Mexican fiesta frittata have a definite orange glow to them. Delivered straight from my friend Kathy's chicken coop, these might be the very best eggs on the planet, but even if you're using less-than-orange eggs, you will love this egg frittata recipe. I've been wanting to try making an egg dish in the slow cooker ever since I saw a recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen. The frittata was so easy in the slow cooker, and if your oven is in use for something else this would be a great way to cook eggs. I still prefer the oven method, which produces a puffier frittata with a bit of a crust, but in the slow cooker, the flavors have more time to penetrate the egg mixture, and that's pretty great. For this Mexican fiesta frittata, I wanted a little bit of a kick, so I used canned chopped chile peppers. If I were serving this for supper, I'd add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper (or both!), for even more zing.

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May 22, 2014

Seven super recipes for grilled boneless chicken or turkey breasts {gluten-free}

Grilled tamarind chicken breasts, made with tamarind concentrate from the supermarket. #chicken #grilling

At a holiday barbecue, it's always good to offer a chicken option for your guests who don't eat red meat. Preparing chicken for the grill is so easy. In most cases, a marinade of a few hours (or overnight) is all that's needed, along with a vigilant eye at grilling time  -- and a willingness to poke the chicken with your finger -- to make sure it doesn't overcook. You can even grill most of these recipes ahead of time, which makes your life easier and leaves more room on the grill for those last-minute burgers or tofu hot dogs. Use frozen chicken breasts from your pantry, or buy a boneless, skinless turkey breast at the supermarket; then mix and match the marinades, as any of the ones for chicken will be just as good on turkey. Note: the marinades are naturally gluten-free when you use gluten-free condiments, such as tamari soy sauce. Now, get your grill on!

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May 1, 2014

Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: spicy chicken balls)

Originally published in January 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. I still love chili paste with garlic best of all the ingredients in my pantry. I make these chicken balls small enough for bite-size appetizers, and they're so flavor-packed that they don't even need a dipping sauce. You could go larger, and serve them with noodles or rice.

Spicy chicken balls, a great appetizer. #appetizer

With the new year comes wisdom, and, at last, I have an answer to the question of the ages:

What's your favorite pantry item?

Oh. You were expecting another question. Something along the lines of what is the meaning of life? Why is the Earth round? Why did the chicken cross the road?

Here in The Perfect Pantry, I'm often asked about my favorite pantry item. So here it is, my favorite, the one thing I'd choose if I had to choose just one thing.

Chili paste with garlic.

Even as I write this, I'm mentally checking the pantry shelf. I know I have at least three jars -- a kind of chili paste security blanket -- plus the open jar in the refrigerator. Whew. Enough.

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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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