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December 3, 2014

Quick and easy ploughman's crisps {vegetarian}

Cheddar and chutney on toasted bread, the best parts of a traditional English pub lunch.

On my very first trip to London, my husband Ted, who had lived there for a time, introduced me to the ploughman's (plow man's) lunch. Every pub serves its own variation. The constants are a few slices of crusty bread, a hunk of good, sharp, English Cheddar cheese, and a bit of tart fruit chutney, to which sausage, ham, apples or other treats might be added. (Don't forget a pint of beer or ale on draught, too.) In the pubs, you're served a plate of individual elements to combine in any way that tempts you. During these next few crazy-busy weeks, with holiday preparations in full swing, these ploughman's crisps make a satisfying lunch or light supper, with very little work on the part of the cook. They're also a great savory appetizer nibble for your cookie exchange party, or football Sunday. Use your favorite homemade or store-bought chutney, or try one of our recipes.

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November 30, 2014

Risotto alla Milanese, stovetop or pressure cooker method {gluten-free}

Risotto alla Milanese, the ultimate classic risotto rich with saffron and cheese.

My love affair with risotto began with this saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese, and now that I'm learning to make risotto in the pressure cooker, I'm more in love than ever before. There are only a handful of ingredients in this dish, so each one needs to be the very best you can find. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, good Italian arborio rice, pure saffron threads (expensive, but you only need a pinch), creamy butter, and broth that isn't too salty. When you're cooking with short-grain rices, note that the proportion of liquid to rice is approximately 4-to-1, compared to the 2-to-1 ratio for cooking long-grain white rice; however, in the pressure cooker, which retains more liquid in the cooking process, the proportion is slightly different. I've given you both methods, because I really want you to fall in love with this risotto, too. (And here's a tip for parents: when preparing this for your kids, call it "yellow cheesy rice." It works for us.)

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November 29, 2014

Chocolate: like or dislike?

Chocolate

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.

There are chocolate people, and there are vanilla people. Everyone I know is one or the other. I am a chocolate person, through and through. I don't eat a lot of it, but when I have a craving for a chocolate bar, or hot chocolate, or chocolate frozen yogurt, nothing else will satisfy me. And let's not forget that chocolate is good for you, in many ways.

Chocolate: like or dislike?

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November 28, 2014

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir-fry

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir fry: make it with leftover turkey and lots of heat.

Two things about our typical Thanksgiving feast contribute to my craving for this particular way to use leftovers: the meal is overwhelmingly brown (turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing), and it's overwhelmingly family-friendly and spicy-free. So, after cooking and eating brown food for days, all I want is heat. Spicy heat. Chile pepper heat. And a little bit of bright color. Oh, and noodles. So easy to accomplish with leftover shredded turkey, dried noodles from the pantry, and a few other fridge bits.

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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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