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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.

September 2, 2015

Bacon, lettuce and tomato: The Perfect Pantry's favorite twists on the classic sandwich

The stuff of dreams: BLT sandwich with garlicky Green Goddess dressing..

Here in New England, it's just now tomato season. We wait all year, and then all summer, and only in August do we get tomatoes that were not grown in a hothouse. There isn't much that's better than a slice of tomato with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, but at this time of year, I love to bring out some of my favorite variations on the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

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August 30, 2015

Gluten-free flatbread or pizza dough

Gluten-free pizza made on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill!

My friend Mary, a long-time reader, cook and gardener who lives in Boston, spent decades living with the effects of undiagnosed gluten- and dairy- intolerance before changing her diet a few years ago. She cooks often from this blog, and when she offered to share her recipe for gluten-free pizza dough, I was thrilled. This is Mary's first guest post for The Perfect Pantry.

Before I went gluten- and dairy-free, I would have told you that my survival food on a desert island would be whole wheat bread, peanut butter and Greek yogurt. I was a lover of all things bread. My husband and I built a large wood-fired bread oven in our back yard, and we always kept a bucket or two of dough in the fridge. Unexpected guests were treated to yummy flatbreads, pizzas and calzones. A handful of this or that, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a few fresh herbs, a shave of Parmigiano-Reggiano and maybe an egg or two on top of yeasty crust made a luscious lunch.

Until it didn’t work, and my tummy rebelled.

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August 29, 2015

Slow cookers (crock pots): like or dislike?

Slow cooker.

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.

Though I came late to slow cooker cooking, I absolutely love it. In The Downsizing, I kept two slow cookers (of the four I had): a $20 oval four-quart Crock-Pot®, a popular size I use for recipe testing; and a six-quart Ninja Cooking System with a few more bells and whistles, that's become my everyday slow cooker. In the summer, when I do not want to turn on the oven, slow cookers keep the kitchen cool. And this summer, when I didn't have a lot of stamina for cooking after a couple of hip surgeries, I could still manage to throw a meal together in the slow cooker and let it do its thing with minimal effort on my part. Do you use a slow cooker? Do you have more than one? More than two?

Slow cookers: like or dislike?

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August 26, 2015

Chilled cucumber and avocado soup {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Chilled cucumber and avocado soup: no cooking required!

In my part of the country, these are the dog days of summer, the hazy-hot-humid days when even the dogs don't have any energy. I've lost my will to turn on the oven, the stovetop, or the grill. Smoothies, and ice cream, rule my kitchen. And soup. Yes, soup. Cold soup like this bright green cucumber and avocado soup. You can change it up with whatever herbs you have in the garden; mint would be wonderful, or basil. Make sure to give the soup time to get very cold in the refrigerator before serving.

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August 23, 2015

Chickenless chicken chili: how to rock the taste, but lose the meat {vegetarian}

Floribean bean chili: how to turn a favorite chicken recipe into a meatless wonder!

Susan, a long-time reader of The Perfect Pantry, wasn't always a vegetarian. She often writes to me about how she's changed up one of my recipes to fit her current way of eating. Susan lives in New Hampshire, where she and her husband formerly owned a health food store. She's a wonderfully creative cook, and the first person ever to tell me that she made my beef brisket recipe -- without the beef! Intrigued, I asked her to share more about how she approaches adapting meat recipes for her meat-free lifestyle. This is Susan's first guest post for The Perfect Pantry.

I might be an anomaly. I’m a vegetarian who seeks out meat recipes. Selectively, yes... but why?

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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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