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A note to readers: For the next several months, a bit of medical mischief (new hips! new knees!) will knock me off my feet. To get ready, I've been cooking up a storm, and I have a summer's worth of brand new recipes to share with you. Though I might not be in the kitchen or scouring local markets for new pantry ingredients, and blog posts might not always reach you on their usual days, I'll be here, responding to comments, answering questions, and working on ebooks. (Truth? I'll probably be reading legal thrillers and binge-watching Modern Family, and maybe Mad Men, again.) To make sure you never miss a recipe, use the box at right to sign up for free email updates.

June 21, 2015

Baby kale and cabbage salad with feta, olives and Greek dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Crunchy, creamy, kale and cabbage salad, packed with mix-ins, and tossed with Greek dressing.

Just when you think you might be done with kale, here's a crunchy, creamy, kale and cabbage salad (how alliterative!) that will make you reconsider. This particular salad started with a bag of baby kale and cabbage that I found at Costco; it's a convenience, to be sure, but you can mix baby kale with any type of shredded cabbage, in whatever proportion you prefer. Play with color and texture, by using green and purple cabbage and multicolored cherry tomatoes. Add sharp kalamata olives and feta cheese, plus wedges of hard-boiled egg, or keep going and pile on cucumber and bell pepper, and if you're not vegetarian, try some grilled shrimp or chicken. Homemade Greek dressing, lightened up with low-fat yogurt and thickened with a bit of buttermilk, brings everything together in this meal-in-a-bowl salad.

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June 20, 2015

Marshmallows: like or dislike?

Marshmallow

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, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

July 4th is coming up soon, and that means it's time for the first s'mores of the season. Do you know s'mores: marshmallows toasted over a fire until they ooze, plus squares of Hershey milk chocolate, sandwiched between two graham crackers? S'mores are a summer tradition in my family, and without marshmallows, they simply would not exist. I've never tried to make my own marshmallows, but it sounds like fun because you can add colors and flavors. Leftover marshmallows go right on top of steaming mugs of hot cocoa. And here in New England, we are big fans of marshmallow fluff, which pairs with peanut butter on ooey-gooey sandwiches. Smiles all around. Are you a marshmallow lover? Do you toast them on sticks over campfires?

Marshmallows: like or dislike?

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June 17, 2015

Atlantic Canada seafood chowder {gluten-free}

Atlantic Canada seafood chowder, packed with clams, lobster, and fresh herbs.

Last year, we took a road trip with our friends Mary and Matt to Prince Edward Island, Canada's eastern outpost of life in the 1950s. If you've never been, you really must go. PEI seduces you with its low scale, green fields, beautiful beaches, Native Canadian culture, Anne of Green Gables, folk music, and lobster. Lots and lots of lobster. We had versions of this seafood chowder all across the island, and I couldn't wait to make my own when we returned home. This is a really a "use what's fresh in the market" chowder, in any combination you like. Fresh clams, and fresh parsley, make all the difference; evaporated milk gives body to the soup, without using any flour as a thickener. Make a Lennie Gallant play list, and serve big bowls of this chowder with hunks of crusty bread or salty crackers. Don't be surprised if Anne herself shows up for dinner.

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June 14, 2015

Nine things I'd like to know about you (and The Perfect Pantry celebrates nine years)

Nine-candle-1

Wow. So much has happened in the past year. The Perfect Pantry moved from country to city, from a large kitchen to a small one, and we traded our herb garden for urban farmers' markets. As we prepared to move, everything in the kitchen and pantry came under scrutiny, and downsizing became known in our house as The D Word.

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June 13, 2015

Shrimp: like or dislike?

Shrimp-beer-marinade-the-perfect-pantry

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, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

This week, a no-brainer for me. I love shrimp. Love, with a capital L. On a visit to New Orleans a bunch of years ago, I ate fresh Gulf shrimp at least twice a day, every day (and yes, some breakfasts might have been involved). Those who are allergic to shellfish have my complete sympathy, for they are destined to a life without shrimp. The only trick to preparing shrimp is to not overcook it. Shrimp take just two minutes to cook, and ignoring them for longer guarantees you will have a tough, chewy ball of seafood. Cooked just right, shrimp are sweet, almost buttery, and they love to dress in a nice, spicy sauce. If you are a shrimp lover, what's your favorite way to serve them?

Shrimp: like or dislike?

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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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