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April 25, 2015

Rosemary: like or dislike?

Rosemary

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme: thanks to Simon and Garfunkel, when I plant one, I feel obligated to plant them all. Parsley and thyme became the mainstays of my herb garden at the log house, and I could use them both in most any recipe. A hardy sage bush lasted for years, though I harvested the leaves infrequently. Rosemary, not so much. The strong flavor has never been a favorite in our house. Rosemary isn't hardy here in New England, so every year I drive to the garden center, buy a new plant, dutifully tend it, and hardly ever harvest it. Do you cook with rosemary? What are your favorite ways to use it?

Rosemary: like or dislike?

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April 18, 2015

Measuring spoons: like or dislike?

Measuring-spoons

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

If you're a baker, you probably think this week's Like or Dislike is a no-brainer. After all, how can you bake without measuring? For me, a notorious bake-o-phobe, measuring feels confining rather than comforting. When I cook, I seldom reach for measuring spoons, unless I'm creating a recipe for this blog, because I want you to be able to recreate that recipe pretty much as I made it. I prefer the free-form method of measuring -- using the palm of my hand -- for most things. Except when I bake. One tip, if you do use measuring spoons: see how I have them loose, in a mug? Take your spoons off the little connecting rings, and pile them into a container. So much easier to pull out when you need one. So, how do you feel about measuring in general, and about measuring spoons?

Measuring spoons: like or dislike?

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April 11, 2015

Cilantro: like or dislike?

Cilantro

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Cilantro, also called Chinese parsley or coriander, defines the cuisines of so many countries: Mexico, Brazil, India, Thailand and more. Sadly, I'm one of the 15 percent of people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. Apparently it's a genetic thing, a predisposition, not just a turn-up-your-nose thing. My husband loves cilantro, and my friends are equally divided between the likes and the dislikes. Most people are strongly in one camp or the other. How about you?

Cilantro: like or dislike?

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April 4, 2015

Carrots: like or dislike?

Carrots

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

There are foods I love raw but not cooked (strawberries), and foods I love cooked but not raw (fennel), and foods I love no matter what (chocolate). Carrots fall into the first category. Pile them raw and crunchy on a plate with dip, or in a salad, and I'm all in. Cook them in soup, or roasted in the oven, or in a stew, and you lose me. Cooked carrots just don't turn me on. It could be the texture I don't love, or the sweetness that comes out in the cooking. How about you? Are you an all-in carrot lover?

Carrots: like or dislike?

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March 28, 2015

Rubber spatulas: like or dislike?

Rubber spatulas

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Here's what I love about rubber spatulas: you can slip their heads off, pop them into the dishwasher or soak them in a bowl of hot hot hot water, and they get clean. Really clean, in a way that wooden spoons never do (and you know how much I love my wooden spoons). You can use rubber spatulas in high heat cooking, for mixing and folding, to get at sticky things like rice or molasses... so many uses, and rubber spatulas come in all sizes to accommodate. I have a small one, a very large one, a bunch of medium-sized ones, and my favorite, leopard spots with a silicone handle. (My husband Ted and I can tell you a true story about a dinner party hostess who once lost a corner of a rubber spatula in a batch of chocolate mousse -- and went ahead and served that mousse after warning us that someone might bite into a piece of rubber. I'm not kidding.) I use my rubber spatulas every day.

Rubber spatulas: like or dislike?

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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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