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April 19, 2012

Recipe for 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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July 18, 2010

Ponzu sauce (Recipe: grilled flank steak with ponzu and honey glaze)

Grilled flank steak with ponzu glaze

The first time I bought ponzu sauce was a happy accident.

I pulled down what I thought was a bottle of Japanese soy sauce from a high shelf at the Asian grocery. I tossed it into my shopping cart, and not until I reached the checkout line, with my cart full and my wallet in hand, did I realize I had ponzu instead of soy sauce.

I checked the ingredient list on the bottle. Well, I thought, why not give it a try?

Thus began my love affair with ponzu. Think of it "soy sauce plus", as soy is the main ingredient, but it's the combination of sweet and fruit that makes ponzu sauce a perfect base for building a glaze, or a stir-fry or barbecue sauce.

It's easy to make your own from ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, but it's easier to keep a bottle of store-bought ponzu in the refrigerator.

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June 13, 2010

Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad)

Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad

My love affair with chili paste with garlic continues, going on thirty years now, with no loss of affection.

It was my first -- first authentic Chinese condiment in the pantry, that is -- and it's still my favorite, the one that makes my heart sing (and, occasionally, burn), the one I can't live without.

My husband Ted, who is not the least bit jealous of this relationship, will tell you that I get twitchy when I pull the last jar off the pantry shelf. I'm happier with a little stash of three or four jars of my favorite Lan Chi brand with their bright-green-and-white labels in Chinese and English.

Nothing, not even chocolate or lemon or Fresca, excites my taste buds in quite the same way.

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November 24, 2009

Spike seasoning (Recipe: Spiked Cornish game hens)

Not Quite Turkey Week, Day Two: An updated post from the archives, with new photos, links, and printer-friendly recipe.

Cornish game hen, a perfect meal for one or two.

Helmut Eugen Benjamin Gellert Hauser must have had the world's most perfect pantry.

How else could he have concocted his famous Spike seasoning, which combines 39 ingredients (Really. 39. Can you count them in the photograph?):

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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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