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October 25, 2012

Recipe for lamb tagine with garlic, honey and raisins

Lamb tagine with garlic, honey and raisins.

When you think of a tagine, you probably picture tender chunks of meat stewed in liquid, with vegetables or maybe chickpeas, poured over couscous or rice. This lamb tagine with garlic, honey and raisins isn't quite the stew you imagine. I'd call it lamb candy, if that made any sense at all, because the honey and fruit give the meat a sweet, caramelized glaze that is so good, you'll want to lick every bit off your fork. Garlic and lemon keep the dish well balanced, adding just enough savory notes on your taste buds. Though lamb is a traditional favorite, you can make this dish with beef or chicken, too. It's a wow dish for parties, and you'll love the leftovers for lunch the next day.

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October 16, 2012

Recipe for kale (or broccoli) soup with bacon and cheese

Kale soup with bacon and cheese would be just as good with broccoli!

On one of those days in The Perfect Pantry kitchen, with recipe testing in the slow cooker, on the stove top, and in the oven, despite my careful planning I had a few cups of chopped kale left and no plan for it. A quick search in the refrigerator unearthed some bacon (always good with dark leafy greens) and shredded cheese, and just like that, this kale soup with bacon and cheese was born. Broccoli or broccoli rabe would be equally good, though I especially liked the combination of the slightly bitter kale with the salty bacon. This hearty make-ahead-and-freeze soup, with puff pastry croutons, cooks in less than half an hour.

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April 15, 2012

Recipe for bacon and egg tartine


Offer my husband Ted a green salad for lunch, with some sliced hard-boiled egg, and -- sweet guy that he is -- he'll say yes, that's fine, even if he means is that all we're having for lunch? Offer him that same salad atop a crispy slice of bread with some bacon embedded in it, and he'll say Mmmmm! And who wouldn't, really? Tartine is the French name for an open-faced sandwich. This bacon and egg tartine starts with a slice of rustic or sourdough bread, one with a close grain and not many holes. A panini press makes quick work of melding the bacon and bread together; if you don't have a press, use a stovetop grill pan with a second heavy frying pan on top. A dressed green salad and sliced egg complete the tartine, making it the perfect meal for brunch or lunch. (I know some of you might go ahead and eat the bacon bread on its own. And who wouldn't, really?)

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April 21, 2011

Recipe for grilled lamb with lemon and garlic {gluten-free}

Grilled lamb with lemon and garlic

In the house where I grew up, my father, the king of the grill, loved to cook lamb chops more than anything else. In my taste memory, those grilled chops are perfect, juicy and a little bit salty, and I don't want to mess with a perfect memory. Instead, I've adopted boneless butterflied leg of lamb as our house specialty. My local supermarket sells leg of lamb in weights from two to three-plus pounds, already boned and butterflied. The basic marinade begins with yogurt and olive oil, and you can spice it up with any combination of flavorings. After a long languish in a marinade, it goes on the grill for less than 20 minutes. One suggestion: even if you're a lamb whisperer like my dad, use an instant-read thermometer. Overcooked lamb is not wonderful, and on a very hot grill, it's easy to overdo it. Cold leftover grilled lamb, on the other hand, is wonderful, on sandwiches and stuffed into pitas.

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June 22, 2010

Bacon, a Pantry Special (Recipe: asparagus, cheese and bacon pizza on a pita)

Asparagus cheese and bacon pizza

In the 12th Century, a small church in England promised a side of bacon to any married man who could swear he had not argued with his wife for a year and a day. A husband who could "bring home the bacon" was highly prized! My husband Ted (also highly prized) loves bacon, and -- true confession -- occasionally I eat bacon, too. Not ham, not proscuitto, not pork chops or any other part of the pig, but I do eat real bacon, the stuff Europeans call streaky bacon, the most ubiquitous bacon sold in the United States. Like many foods, bacon was created as a way to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration. Bacon is cured, brined meat prepared from the belly, back or sides of pork (and from other animals, too, such as duck and wild boar). It's often smoked in large slabs, sometimes with a dry rub. Bacon (especially the fat) lends a smoky, salty flavor to soups and stews. These days, low-sodium and extra-lean versions are easy to find in most supermarkets, and artisanal bacon often shows up at farmers markets.

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  • 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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