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October 21, 2012

Recipe for chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce

Chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce, from The Perfect Pantry.

In Boston's South End neighborhood, where my husband Ted and I moved more than thirty years ago, almost every corner used to boast a spa (Boston-speak for an all-purpose market), or a Middle Eastern grocery, or a bar. The bars have long since closed -- many replaced by the fine restaurants that now define the South End -- and, sadly, most of the Middle Eastern businesses have gone, too. The spas endure, and almost every one that offers prepared food sells a basic, uninspired, too-much-mayo chicken salad. My new chicken salad recipe with walnuts and celery features a pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce that reminds me of the wonderful ingredients I used to buy at the local Middle Eastern markets. It's sweet and tangy, and as spicy as you want to make it, perfect in a sandwich or lettuce wrap. If I owned a spa in the neighborhood, I'd make this my signature chicken salad.

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October 11, 2012

Recipe for red pepper, kale and walnut dip (or spread) {vegan, gluten-free}

Red pepper, kale and walnut dip, or use it as a spread.

All year long I've been on a campaign to eat more kale. You can tell by my use of the word campaign that kale is a vegetable I'm learning to love, not one I loved from the start. Like most kids I know, I don't always want to eat my dark leafy greens, so from time to time I have to hide vegetables in my own meals. This mildly spicy red pepper, kale and walnut dip -- which you also could use as a spread on sandwiches or bruschetta -- began as a random ingredient pull from the refrigerator. I had some kale that needed to be used, a bit of leftover roasted red pepper in a jar, and a few walnuts. Harissa brought them all together in a Mediterranean-inspired dip, and nobody will ever figure out that kale is the green in it. Serve this at your next party, with celery sticks, carrots, or tortilla chips.

 

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September 6, 2012

Recipe for spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint {gluten-free}

Spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint, from The Perfect Pantry.

When the last of Bob and Charlotte's canoe-size zucchini appeared in my car (how careless of me to leave the car unlocked in their driveway), I planned to turn that zucchini, along with a few trimmings of some very ripe tomatoes, into a curry. Along the way, however, cinnamon and cumin called out to me, and just like that, this mildly spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew veered off toward the Middle East. A few sprigs of mint from my garden gave the dish just the right amount of brightness, without overwhelming the delicate zucchini flavor, and turmeric turned it a glowing golden color. As with all stews, this was even better on the second day, served over fluffy brown rice.

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September 4, 2012

Bottled salad dressing (Recipe: hot roasted vegetables with couscous)

First published in April 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. If you don't keep bottled salad dressing in your pantry, skip right to the recipe, which you can make with your own favorite creamy vinaigrette and any seasonal vegetables you find at the farm stand.

Hot roasted vegetables with couscous, from The Perfect Pantry.

Psssst. I've got a secret.

Paul Newman is playing peek-a-boo in my refrigerator. And he's not alone.

You'll always find three or four bottled salad dressings hiding in there with him.

These salad dressings aren't for salad; they're the best, quickest marinades in the world.

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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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