On the route we drive every week from Rhode Island to Boston, my husband Ted and I pass a cranberry bog alongside the highway, close enough that we can see through the trees when it's harvest time. The farmer floods the bog, forcing the cranberries to rise to the surface of the water, where they're gently agitated until they float and can be scooped off. All we see from the road is purple, a gigantic red-wine-colored stain the size of several football fields, and here in cranberry country, that sight makes us happy, because we know our local cranberries soon will be on their way to cooks all across the country.
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A long time reader of The Perfect Pantry, Judy answered the call for vegetarian and vegan recipes for my Meatless Holidays e-book with a dish called eggplant salad (baingan bharta). When I made it for the cookbook, I envisioned it as a vegetarian or vegan main dish served with brown rice and almond pilaf, and renamed it roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro. The original recipe calls for quite a bit of yogurt; in Judy's adaptation, she'd cut that way down, and in my version, the yogurt is completely optional, so if you're vegan, leave it out. Indian-spiced food might be a nontraditional choice for your holiday table, but recipes like this eggplant are a great option for those "blended family" occasions when turkey-lovers and turkey-avoiders come together: one person's main dish is another person's side. It's also a good make-ahead dish for worknight dinners, as the eggplant is good served hot, cold, or at room temperature. For this recipe, go ahead and buy those gigantic, deep purple eggplants you find at the market, not the thin, delicate Japanese ones.
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Continuing my experiments with cooking boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker, I decided to go back to my roots. No, I'm not Italian, but one of my earliest, and best, experiences as a food writer came courtesy of a well-known Italian-American Boston police officer. I'm pleased to share this reinvention of his recipe for stuffed chicken, which works so perfectly with turkey breast. The slow cooker frees your oven for all those amazing side dishes that taste best when cooked at the last minute, and the slow braise helps retain moisture in the meat. Be sure to buy a turkey breast that hasn't been shot full of salty brine, or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. Your butcher will be happy to butterfly it for you; unless you have mad butchering skills, leave this step to the professionals. You can do the rest. Stuff, roll, tie, cook, and collect the oohs and aahs when you bring this turkey to the table.
Continue reading "Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil (gluten-free)" »
This pantry ingredient often finds its way into sausages, and it's popular in Italian cuisine. What is it?
Continue reading "The Pantry Quiz #60" »