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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry, now with larger type, larger photos, and a design that's easier to read on your tablet or phone. For more goodies you won't find here on the blog, subscribe to my free newsletter, Tidbits. And to make sure you never miss a recipe, use the box at right to sign up for email updates.

April 11, 2015

Cilantro: like or dislike?

Cilantro

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.

Cilantro, also called Chinese parsley or coriander, defines the cuisines of so many countries: Mexico, Brazil, India, Thailand and more. Sadly, I'm one of the 15 percent of people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. Apparently it's a genetic thing, a predisposition, not just a turn-up-your-nose thing. My husband loves cilantro, and my friends are equally divided between the likes and the dislikes. Most people are strongly in one camp or the other. How about you?

Cilantro: like or dislike?

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April 8, 2015

Egg salad with avocado, jalapeño and lime {vegetarian}

Grown-up egg salad with avocado, jalapeño and lime. Great for roll-ups or lettuce boats. [ThePerfectPantry.com]

After you've eaten your way through all of the sweets and Peeps of the holiday season, you probably have a few leftover hard-boiled eggs languishing in the refrigerator. It doesn't take much to turn those eggs into a truly peppy egg salad, one that absolutely will not remind you of what you found in your grade school lunch box. Here's an egg salad for grown-ups. It's filled with tangy little bites of jalapeño pepper, creamy avocado, and bursts of lime. Fill a roll-up, top some crackers, or serve it in a lettuce leaf. I used a low-carb flatbread one day, and romaine lettuce the next day, and both were equally delicious. Okay, maybe not as delicious as a chocolate bunny, but much healthier, and a fine way to use leftovers. I like to use my egg slicer rather than a knife to make a first pass at the eggs; the eggs won't roll around, and it makes them easier to chop and smoosh with the avocado.

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April 5, 2015

Oven-baked matzoh brei with caramelized onions {vegetarian}

Oven-baked matzoh brei will turn your breakfast world upside down! [ThePerfectPantry.com]

When I was a little girl, my father taught me to make matzoh brei, a treat we enjoyed only during Passover, and only for breakfast (there were rules, apparently). Matzoh brei (pronounced MAHT ZAH BRY, and spelled many ways) means fried matzoh, and it's an ethereal cross between a frittata and a noodle pudding. Beaten eggs mixed with matzoh, which bears a striking resemblance to cardboard, cooked in butter in a large frying pan, flipped to cook on both sides (a messy and often embarrassing operation), desperately in need of salt: trust me, it might not sound great, but it is the best breakfast ever. And so this recipe, which deviates from my dad's in so many ways, might be viewed as heresy. Instead, I hope you see it as the recipe that will liberate you from attempting the giant pan flip and the messy stove cleanup. Yes, this fried matzoh actually bakes in the oven. And for a twist, I caramelize onions to add to the mix. You can omit the onions and make a straightforward matzoh brei, but my husband Ted went ahead and topped his with maple syrup, and proclaimed the combination of sweet caramelized onions and maple syrup quite delightful. Matzoh is actually available year-round in the ethnic foods aisle at the grocery store. I predict you'll be making oven-baked matzoh brei more than just one week a year.

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April 4, 2015

Carrots: like or dislike?

Carrots

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.

There are foods I love raw but not cooked (strawberries), and foods I love cooked but not raw (fennel), and foods I love no matter what (chocolate). Carrots fall into the first category. Pile them raw and crunchy on a plate with dip, or in a salad, and I'm all in. Cook them in soup, or roasted in the oven, or in a stew, and you lose me. Cooked carrots just don't turn me on. It could be the texture I don't love, or the sweetness that comes out in the cooking. How about you? Are you an all-in carrot lover?

Carrots: like or dislike?

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April 1, 2015

Brown-butter saffron spice brownies

Brown-butter saffron spice brownies, rich and fudgy and a little bit exotic. [ThePerfectPantry.com]

I can count on one hand the number of times I've clipped a recipe from a newspaper or magazine and made the recipe that very same day (or exactly as it's written). More often, the paper turns yellow at the edges before I get around to trying the recipe, and years later, when I find the scrap of paper in a long-buried file, I can't remember why I saved it in the first place. Something about these spice brownies grabbed my attention, and I made them on the day I found the recipe in The Boston Globe. In the slow cooker, I had a kind of North African stew at work, and these fudgy brownies, shot through with the warm spices of that region, made a perfect dessert. I've never put saffron into a brownie before, or taken time to brown the butter, and I admit I had my doubts, but one bite convinced me that all brownies should be made this way, forever.

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  • 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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