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March 11, 2014

Recipe for beef, asparagus and scallions negimaki-style

Beef, asparagus and scallions negimaki style (The Perfect Pantry).

A package of thin-sliced beef in the refrigerator put me in the mood for negimaki, one of my favorite Japanese restaurant appetizers. I had every intention of wrapping the beef around scallions to make the traditional negimaki roll, but I only had a couple of skinny scallions on hand. As luck would have it, I found a couple of thin asparagus, too. I trimmed the vegetables to the same length, and tossed them into a casserole dish to marinate with the beef for an hour. However, when the time came to roll everything together, impatience won out. My panini press grilled the meat and vegetables flat in just two minutes; the broiler or a stove-top grill pan would work just as well. This dish has all of negimaki's salty-sweet teriyaki flavor, in a more casual presentation. I served it for lunch with a bowl of steamed rice.

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May 19, 2013

Cocoa powder (Recipe: cocoa-cumin-allspice rubbed rib-eye steak) {gluten-free}

First published in July 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and significant changes to the recipe, just in time for the holiday weekend. Get your grill on!

Get your grill on! Rib-eye steak rubbed with cocoa, cumin and allspice.

Sometimes I uncover an item in my pantry that's a bit of mystery. I know I should have it. In fact, I'm never without it. I just don't know why.

Cocoa powder is the mystery du jour.

What, exactly, is cocoa powder? What makes some of it Dutch-processed? Is natural cocoa powder better, or just different?

Here's what I've learned.

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April 21, 2013

Recipe for grilled not-too-spicy jerk chicken {gluten-free}

Grilled Jamaican jerk chicken, a slightly milder version.

Good news: you don't have to be a jerk to love this Jamaican jerk chicken. In fact, the name jerk doesn't have anything to do with obnoxiousness, or that Steve Martin character. The term might have originated with the Spanish word charqui, used to describe dried meat, that later evolved to jerky and then jerk. Or, it might have come from the practice of jerking (poking) holes in the meat to fill with spices prior to cooking. The hallmark of jerk chicken, most popular in Jamaica but also found in other parts of the Caribbean, is a spicy dry rub that includes fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers and aromatic allspice. From there, the recipe varies, but always includes other spices, such as thyme or nutmeg. Scotch Bonnets lend authenticity, but the jalapeños in this recipe tone down the fire a bit while still evoking the heat of the islands. The chicken tastes best when marinated overnight, so plan ahead when you can. Store cooked jerk chicken in the refrigerator for several days, or make ahead and freeze. Serve hot, over rice, or cold, sliced and stuffed into pita sandwiches.

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April 19, 2012

Recipe for slow cooker espresso-rubbed pot roast

Slow-cooker-espresso-rubbed-pot-roast

In this wacky weather year, April has given us mild and mostly dry days, good for extreme weeding in the emerging herb garden, with evenings still cool enough for a fire in the hearth and a hot meal on the dinner table. Though I made this espresso-rubbed pot roast in the slow cooker, you can braise it on the stove or in the oven, too. I'd call this a pot roast for grown-ups; the instant espresso, cocoa and smoked paprika create an assertive, earthy rub that mellows with long cooking. When I prepare the meat, I trim all visible fat, which often means cutting the roast into large chunks along the natural separations. The chunks, easier to brown, fit comfortably into the slow cooker or Dutch oven, and leave very little fat in the sauce at the end.

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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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