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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.

February 18, 2015

Spaghetti squash boat with clams, zucchini, peppers and olives {gluten-free}

Roasted spaghetti squash boats filled with clams, vegetables and cheese. #glutenfree

Today, despite the umpteenth day of snow, The Perfect Pantry® departs the log house kitchen, where the blog was born and where my e-books and their headless videos came to life, and moves to the city. My husband Ted and I are excited to return full-time to Boston's South End, a multi-ethnic neighborhood where we've lived since 1980. I'm going to take a few days to unpack, organize the kitchen and pantry, and stock up at the wonderful local stores -- Syrian Grocery (olives, spices, pita bread), Formaggio (cheese, bread and more spices), Ming's Market (Asian), Morse Fish, Foodies supermarket (great produce and butcher) -- that are within blocks of our apartment. I also have to figure out where, and how, to take food photographs in the new space. If you're curious, I'll be sharing photos of my new kitchen in the next Tidbits newsletter, so if you're not already subscribed (it's free), click this link to sign up. In the meantime, I want you to keep cooking, so I'm leaving you with a spaghetti squash recipe, one we've made many times over the past few months, and I hope you'll try it this week. If you don't love clams, substitute shrimp or scallops or mussels, and for liquid, use a bottle of clam juice from the supermarket. I'll be back soon with more recipes -- sooner if you come and help me unpack -- and Like or Dislike will be here on Saturday morning as usual.

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February 15, 2015

Salsa verde turkey and brown rice bowl with avocado and cheese {gluten-free}

Salsa verde turkey and brown rice bowl, topped with avocado and cheese, makes a perfect one-dish meal.

When I set out to create a recipe for The Perfect Pantry, I often begin by jotting down ingredients and the quantities of each that I think will bring the dish to life. As I cook, I adjust and fine-tune. When the recipe works, you see it here. When it doesn't, I go back to the drawing board and start again. In the first notes about this salsa verde turkey, I was certain I'd add a can of chopped green chiles. Fortunately -- and here is the important lesson -- I tasted the salsa first. I used a jar of Trader Joe's Hatch Valley Salsa, a hot-hot-hot green chile salsa, and it was plenty hot enough for me. In the recipe, I caution you to taste your green salsa, as there are so many varieties of store-bought salsa that will be great in this recipe. Use a mild tomatillo salsa, or an incendiary one; it doesn't matter, as long as it's green, and you like the taste.

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February 14, 2015

Ice cream: like or dislike?

Ice cream

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.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. At least, here in New England, we do. I believe that in this part of the country, we eat more ice cream per person than anywhere else, and we're partial to eating ice cream (and drinking iced coffee, too) in the middle of winter. Given the endless snow storms, you'd think we would forego it this year, but we don't. For me, ice cream must have something chocolate in it, or on it, but I recognize that for you, it might be lemon, or strawberry, or passion fruit, or jelly bean. I respect that, but if I'm going to eat the calories, I want them to be chocolate. And I don't want frozen yogurt instead of real, creamy ice cream. I'd love a bowl of chocolate ice cream with raspberries or strawberries for Valentine's Day. Or any day. How about you?

Ice cream: like or dislike?

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February 11, 2015

French-style beef stew with onions, mushrooms and peas

French-style beef stew with onions, mushrooms and peas, and lots of red wine!

Once or twice over the past years, or perhaps a few dozen times more often than that, I might have mentioned to you that the way to my husband Ted's heart is through beef stew. Each year I try to come up with a new variation for him. This French-style beef stew takes the best features of daube, boeuf Bourguignon, and boeuf aux carottes (without the carrots), and mashes them together. And yes, a whole bottle of good red wine poured into the pot coaxes all of the ingredients into perfect harmony. I like to use frozen pearl onions, which are already peeled and need no further fussing, and peas with their bright, flash-frozen flavor of summer. Yukon Gold potatoes can swap in for the red-skinned potatoes; both will hold their shape in the stew, and that's what you want. Right before I pack up the kitchen for our move next week, I'm going to make a batch of this stew for Ted, for Valentine's Day.

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February 8, 2015

Brussels sprouts, bacon and greens salad with roasted shrimp {gluten-free}

Brussels sprouts, bacon and greens, topped with roasted shrimp (optional), make a fabulous main course salad. #glutenfree

As it turns out, downsizing the pantry, in preparation for our move from the log house to a small apartment in the city, hasn't been the nightmare I'd feared. Instead, I've been discovering hidden treasures in the deep recesses of the shelves, and letting those ingredients inspire new and interesting combinations. Three boxes of powdered buttermilk packets -- enough to make 12 quarts (!) of buttermilk -- revealed themselves last week, and immediately I thought of using some in a salad dressing. The remaining ingredients in this Brussels sprouts, bacon and greens salad came from the pantry, the fridge (bacon and yogurt), and the freezer (shrimp). Lately we've been into raw Brussels sprouts, something I hadn't tried until just a few months ago, and those form the base for this all-seasons salad. In summer, toss in a ripe tomato, or omit the protein altogether and add some nuts or chickpeas for a vegetarian main dish.

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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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