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January 14, 2015

Pan-seared tuna burger with Sriracha mayonnaise

Spicy Sriracha sauce kicks up this pan-seared tuna burger.

Photography not being my strong suit, the only way I can convince you that these tuna burgers are lick-the-plate good is to confess that two of us ate enough for four, and probably would have kept going if I'd made a larger batch. Everything except the fresh tuna comes right from the pantry, making these burgers quick and easy for weeknight dinners or weekend lunch. For sliders, divide the tuna mixture into eight patties insead of four. If you're like me and get mad cravings for Sriracha, you'll love the spicy sauce slathered on top of each burger. Although you can cook these on a grill or panini press, a stovetop frying pan works best, because fish burgers are a bit delicate and like to be settled on a flat surface. When you're in the mood for a burger but want something lighter and healthier than beef, this recipe will surely satisfy.

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January 11, 2015

Slow cooker chicken stew with onions, mushrooms, and at least 40 cloves of garlic

The more garlic, the merrier in this crockpot chicken stew.

Cross a traditional French coq au vin, chicken with forty cloves of garlic, and old-fashioned chicken stew, and only good things can happen. And then, add more garlic! This recipe sprung from my husband Ted's craving for chicken stew, a half bottle of unspectacular red wine that needed to be used, and my own wish to toss something into the slow cooker that would make the house smell wonderful all day. Please don't be afraid of the amount of garlic in this recipe; it mellows and sweetens with the long cooking, and is essential to the success of the dish. Serve the stew on its own, or over rice or egg noodles, with a bowl of sliced crusty bread for mopping up every last bit of the sauce. Like all stews, it's wonderful on the day you make it, and even more wonderful the following day.

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January 10, 2015

Tofu: like or dislike?

Tofu.

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

I don't think anybody really loves tofu per se, because, let's face it, tofu really doesn't have much flavor. However, tofu acts like a sponge, absorbing any spicy or sweet or rich or tangy sauce you throw at it. And it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and super-high in calcium. You can blend it into a sauce, use it in place of meat in stir-fry dishes and soups, and even grill it and slather it with barbecue sauce. Call it bean curd, and your kids might not eat it, but that's what it is: curdled soybean milk that's coagulated, then pressed into a cake form. You can buy it soft (silken), firm, or extra firm. It's one of the world's healthiest foods, and I've always got some in my refrigerator.

Tofu: like or dislike?

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January 7, 2015

Confetti spaghetti squash with peppers, zucchini, lemon and capers {vegan, gluten-free}

Scrape out strands of spaghetti squash topped with colorful vegetables. Fun for kids and adults! #vegan #glutenfree

When I first shared this recipe in a post about capers, in January 2008, I thought that, because I found it in a kids' cookbook, it would be typical kid food. Au contraire. Capers give the vegetable sauce a sophisticated profile, but honestly, I imagine my grandkids would take great pains to pick out each and every caper berry. Two changes I've made in the way I prepare this recipe now: I use smaller amounts of both capers and lemon juice, which tend to overwhelm the delicate vegetables, and I add a teaspoon of garlic. I like to serve the vegetable topping right in the spaghetti squash, so each person can scrape out his or her own squash as they go along. Sometimes, I grate some parmesan or asiago cheese on top. Not vegan, but delicious.

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January 4, 2015

The Perfect Pantry's top 14 recipes of 2014

Gallo pinto (black beans and rice), a wonderful breakfast dish with scrambled eggs. One of The Perfect Pantry's Top 14 recipes of 2014.

It's always fun to reflect on the year, and highlight my favorite recipes from The Perfect Pantry. These are the 2014 recipes of which I am most proud, and if you missed any of them during the year, I hope you'll take a moment to check out the recipes now.

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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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