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September 24, 2013

Recipe for roasted green beans and potatoes with creamy sesame dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted green beans and potatoes with creamy sesame dressing.

A new-to-the-blog reader, who happens to live nearby in Rhode Island, mentioned recently that she's been reluctant to try some ethnic recipes because she doesn't believe in single-purpose ingredients. Of course that's the premise behind this site, to use what's in our pantries in more than one way.  This recipe for roasted green beans and potatoes with creamy sesame dressing proves the point. If you have a tin of tahini (sesame paste) in your pantry, odds are you're planning to make hummus. I love hummus, and I've shared recipes for asparagus, lemon-onion, and roasted red pepper and garlic hummus, but there's so much more you can do with tahini. Like peanut butter, which makes a good substitute, nutty tahini blends with tangy ingredients like buttermilk, lemon or yogurt to make wonderful and unexpected salad dressings and sauces with Middle Eastern flair. Use any vegetables you have on hand; I like beans and potatoes, but bell pepper, onion, broccoli, zucchini or eggplant -- or all of them together -- also would be delicious in this recipe.

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September 10, 2013

Recipe for barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad with zahtar dressing {vegetarian}

Barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad.

For years -- well, for decades -- I cooked barley only one way: in soup, with mushrooms and carrots and rich beef or chicken stock. So I missed out on decades of amazing warm and cold barley salads, and now I'm making up for lost time. Or for lost tastes. This barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad came together after a quick pantry raid and a short hop to the herb garden for some of the curly parsley I'm growing this year for the first time. The strong, salty flavors of the artichokes, tomato and cheese, plus the lemony flavor of a zahtar-based dressing, provide just the right counterpoint to the creamy barley. For a vegan salad, omit the cheese, and add some kalamata olives.

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July 28, 2013

Kosher salt (Recipe: Moroccan eggplant salad) {vegan, gluten-free}

First published in May 2007, this updated ingredient post features new photos, link, and tweaks to the recipe. The eggplant salad, taught to me by a neighbor who grew up in Morocco and owned our local dry cleaning shop, is perfect for summer, when both eggplant and tomatoes come straight from the garden.

Moroccan eggplant salad with tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Is kosher salt, the darling of chefs and cookbook authors, just another flaky food fashion?

Is it saltier than table salt, better for health or baking or taste?

Is all kosher salt the same?

Is it even kosher?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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December 13, 2012

Recipe for slow-cooker kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms

A dish from my grandmother's kitchen, kasha with caramelized onions and mushrooms, updated for the slow cooker.

Some time during the summer, my slow cooker took up residence on the kitchen counter, and ever since, I've been inspired to adapt some of my favorite stove top recipes to the low-and-slow method. Kasha (buckwheat groats) reminds my taste buds of the best comfort food that came out of my Polish grandmother's kitchen, and it never fails to satisfy, whether I'm serving it as a side dish with roast chicken or brisket, or a lunch or light supper entree with a tangy green salad on the side. If you've never cooked with kasha before, look for it in the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store; it comes in three different granulations -- fine, medium, and coarse. This kasha, kicked up a bit with caramelized onions and mushrooms, does its thing without the frequent tending the stove top version demands, down to browning the onions right in the slow cooker. You can make ahead and freeze, then reheat in the microwave.

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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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