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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July 10, 2012

Recipe for cucumber ribbon salad with ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing {vegetarian}

Cool and refreshing cucumber ribbon salad with ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing.

Necessity -- or is it forgetfulness? or humidity? -- being the mother of invention, this cucumber ribbon salad owes its spectacular ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing to a great pantry, and to my strong desire not to drive five miles to the grocery store for a quart of buttermilk on an unbearably hazy-hot-humid day. Powdered buttermilk, a baking pantry staple that will keep perfectly happy in the refrigerator for months, contributes the characteristic tangy ranch flavor, with a boost from Greek yogurt and a small amount of mayonnaise. I like the combination of dill, parsley and chives from my garden for a vibrant herby punch. The overall result? Delicate, much more so than traditional ranch dressing. I'm planning to use the leftover dressing on grilled salmon. The cucumber salad didn't last much longer than the time it took to photograph it. I ate it for breakfast. All of it.

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July 5, 2012

Recipe for cantaloupe and yogurt soup with ginger, lime and mint {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Cantaloupe soup with ginger, lime and mint, so refreshing! #glutenfree

Once upon a time, I bought a honeydew so overripe that, when I cut into it, I discovered more juice and less solid flesh than I'd ever seen in a melon before. The juice tasted like nectar, and I couldn't bear to consign the fruit to the compost pile. It more than made up in flavor what it had lost in texture, so I thought, "Why not soup?" That first bowl, a revelation, led to many others and, eventually, to this cantaloupe and yogurt soup with ginger, lime and spearmint from my garden. If your garden gives you basil, toss a few leaves into the soup, too. Use your favorite melon, or whatever looks best at the market: casaba, crenshaw, canary, orange or yellow or green. Serve it cold, on the hottest days, for breakfast or dessert.

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March 1, 2012

Recipe for chicken and avocado lettuce boats with buttermilk Dijon dressing


Sometimes, in the bleak mid-winter when absolutely nothing is in season, you absolutely have to have a salad. Here in the northeast United States, certain foods, no matter what the time of year, always come from elsewhere, foods like avocado, lemon and olives. I'm not sure there's a season for rotisserie chicken, either. So, why not take all of these out-of-season ingredients and toss them with a great from-the-pantry dressing? For these chicken and avocado lettuce boats, I used heirloom cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe's. If you can't find decent winter tomatoes, use red bell pepper instead, for color and crunch. Close your eyes, take a bite, and you'll forget all about winter.

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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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