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August 30, 2014

Cauliflower: like or dislike?

Cauliflower.

Occasionally on our Facebook page, we play a little game called Like or Dislike, with ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. Now, Like or Dislike comes to The Perfect Pantry on Saturdays. Do you like, dislike, love, crave, despise, wish for, use in your own kitchen? The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell!

It's no secret to readers of The Perfect Pantry that I do not like cauliflower. I've tried. Goodness knows, I've tried, but I just do not like it. Several readers, refusing to accept my limitations, have sent recipes and serving suggestions -- make it spicy! roast it in the oven! try fried "rice"! -- but it's time for me to confess that, when it comes to cauliflower, I'm firmly in the dislike camp. How about you?

Cauliflower: like or dislike?

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August 27, 2014

Cinnamon chocolate crinkle cookies

My capable assistant helped make these chocolate crinkle cookies.

RIDDLE: How many cooks does it take to make cinnamon chocolate crinkle cookies? Answer: three. You definitely want to have two granddaughters with you in the kitchen, because the cookies just come out better that way. The one who can read organizes the dry ingredients, while the other measures the sugar and cracks the eggs into a bowl. You get to do the hard stuff, like turning on the stand mixer. And when it's time to form the cookies, one girl wields the ice cream scoop to portion out the cookies, one rolls the balls of dough in cinnamon sugar, and you do the hot oven maneuvers. These cookies were a spur-of-the-moment activity for us (hence the iPhone photos), and we didn't want to run to the store for any ingredients. The original recipe calls for chocolate chips, but we didn't have any, and the cookies really don't need them. We added some cinnamon into the dough, for a slightly more complex flavor, and the cookies were a huge hit. You have everything you need -- except two of my favorite kitchen assistants -- right in your own perfect pantry.

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August 24, 2014

Salad Nicoise-style, with tuna, green beans, olives and potatoes {gluten-free}

Salad with lots of Nicoise ingredients: beans, olives, potatoes.

Before seeing Julia Child make it on an episode of The French Chef, way back when, I'd never heard of salade Nicoise. Julia dressed each element of the classic composed salad individually, arranged everything artfully on a platter, and presented it (to her television audience) with great fanfare. I took a few shortcuts in preparing my version, which was precipitated by the gift of some beautiful crispy green beans from my friend Donna's garden. I had fingerling potatoes left from another recipe, plus local tomatoes and some pitted kalamata olives. A hard-boiled farm egg with a golden yolk. Baby cucumbers, almost seedless. A red bell pepper. I added a small piece of roasted tuna (vegetarians can substitute chickpeas), and used my favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing to pull together the melange of cooked and raw components. Not 100 percent authentic, but very good indeed. The recipe multiplies easily, to serve a crowd, and you can make all of the pieces ahead of time for last-minute assembly. Bon appétit!

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August 23, 2014

Sriracha sauce: like or dislike?

Sriracha sauce.

Occasionally on our Facebook page, we play a little game called Like or Dislike, with ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. Starting today, Like or Dislike comes to The Perfect Pantry on Saturdays. Do you like, dislike, love, crave, despise, wish for, use in your own kitchen? The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell!

It's no secret that I love hot and spicy food. I've got a stockpile of chili paste with garlic, in case the end of the world arrives and the Asian market is closed. Another favorite is Sriracha sauce, also called "rooster" sauce, which my grocery store sells and which I buy in the largest size bottle available. (If the apocalypse comes, head over to my house. I don't know what we'll have to eat, but whatever it is, we'll make it spicy.) Restaurants discovered this Thai-style hot sauce years ago, and now home cooks have made it their own.

Sriracha sauce: like or dislike?

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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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