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August 16, 2012

Ratatouille soup recipe {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Ratatouille soup, from The Perfect Pantry.

The term seasonal gets bandied about a lot these days, and for good reason. Seasonal eating means preparing food at its peak of nutrition, and at its natural harvest time. If you visit the farmstands and farmers' markets in my part of New England this week, you'll find eggplant, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, garlic and zucchini. Put them together in this ratatouille soup, with my secret weapon -- a rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese -- or go vegan and cheese-free. Add mushrooms, or some local corn, if you wish. Eating doesn't get more seasonal than this.

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August 2, 2012

Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup recipe {vegetarian}

Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup, from The Perfect Pantry.

Yesterday, the farm stand presented me with all of the key ingredients for this soup -- tomatoes, zucchini, onions and garlic -- except the can of beans and hunk of cheese, both of which are staples in my pantry. My own garden basil, abundant and robust, found a happy home with the vegetables in this tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup. I added hardy thyme early in the cooking, and tossed the more delicate basil in at the end. Perfect for a summer lunch or supper, with some crusty bread on the side, this "skinny" soup comes together quickly. After all, with very fresh herbs and vegetables, you don't want to fuss over them.

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July 31, 2012

Recipe for quick and easy Asian pickled cole slaw {vegan, gluten-free}

Quick and easy Asian pickled cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry.

What's in a name? If I named this dish pickled cabbage, it might conjure up images of clay jars of fermented, kind-of-smelly kimchi buried in the ground out behind the house, and to some, that's a real turn-off. So, I thought, why not call it pickled cole slaw? And then, go one step further and actually make it with store-bought cole slaw mix? Of course, you can shred green or red cabbage, and a few carrots, and make your own mix, but I let someone else do the work. Buy cole slaw mix in a bag at the grocery store and rinse in very cold water to perk it up. Add the seasonings for a quick brine, and this Asian pickled cole slaw is ready to eat in an hour. No need to dig up your back yard. Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken or meat, or in a fish taco.

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July 17, 2012

Arugula, berries and goat cheese salad with poppy seed dressing recipe {vegetarian}


It takes a village to make a salad. Well, it takes my village to make this salad: raspberries and blueberries from Bob and Charlotte, goat cheese from Christine (a cheesemaker-in-training), baby arugula from a farmstand up the road, all brought together by a simple poppy seed dressing from ingredients I always have in the pantry. One taste of this salad, and you'll want to move to my town and meet my friends, or at least get their addresses so you can collect the ingredients. Poppy seed dressings often contain onion (this one doesn't) and mustard (this one doesn't), and a little bit of sugar (this one does). I make mine just slightly sweet, a perfect counterpoint that doesn't overwhelm the bite of the arugula. Dark leafy greens and antioxidant-rich blueberries pack a powerful nutritional wallop -- a nice bonus in something that tastes so good.

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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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