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June 6, 2013

Recipe for vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans, and pesto dressing {vegan, gluten-free}

Vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans, and pesto dressing.

Have you had your fill of asparagus yet? Neither have I. However, I am a little bit over asparagus soup, asparagus frittata, and asparagus stir-fry, which is why this vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans and basil pesto is such a welcome addition to the Spring repertoire. If you have pesto in your freezer from last summer -- any kind of pesto will do -- please use it here. I've tried kale pesto I froze last September, and red pepper pesto (which, I admit, improved the color of the finished dish), made from a jar of roasted peppers. And if you don't have your own pesto and don't want to make it from scratch, take some help from the grocery store and buy a good-quality pesto to make the dressing for this salad. There's no mayonnaise to spoil in the heat, which makes this salad perfect for picnics and summer potlucks.

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May 5, 2013

Recipe for cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Enjoy this cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts warm or cold.

The Year I Learn to Love Cauliflower continues to challenge me, and nothing scares me more than the prospect of raw cauliflower, undisguised by potatoes or hot sauce. Recently I decided to take the plunge, with this salad that pairs the vegetable of the year with creamy white beans, salty feta and crunchy pine nuts. Not a disguise, exactly. More like a distraction, with so much texture that I really didn't concentrate on the cauliflower. If you're a cauliflower lover, adjust the proportion of ingredients to highlight the vegetable. If you're a cheese-a-holic, add more feta. The lemon vinaigrette wraps everything together. The longer it sits, the more tender the cauliflower becomes, thanks to the mustard in the dressing. My husband Ted approved this salad for you; I can't say I'm in love with raw cauliflower, yet, but I'm working on it.

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April 30, 2013

Recipe for roasted asparagus with Sriracha drizzle {vegetarian}

Roasted asparagus with a zingy Sriracha mayo drizzle. So good!

Asparagus season here in Rhode Island lasts for an all-too-brief six weeks, and during that time, my husband Ted and I consume asparagus in one form or another almost every day. I love to throw totally naked asparagus spears on the grill until they're slightly charred, and eat them with my fingers like pretzel sticks. And I love to roast them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper, or maybe a squirt of lemon. Sometimes I wrap them in wonton skins, for a crunchy party appetizer. The other day I had the urge for something zingier, and what's more zingy than Sriracha? A little drizzle of creamy, spicy Sriracha mayonnaise played so beautifully with roasted asparagus that I managed to polish off most of this plate for lunch, without any help from Ted.

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April 21, 2013

Recipe for grilled not-too-spicy jerk chicken {gluten-free}

Grilled Jamaican jerk chicken, a slightly milder version.

Good news: you don't have to be a jerk to love this Jamaican jerk chicken. In fact, the name jerk doesn't have anything to do with obnoxiousness, or that Steve Martin character. The term might have originated with the Spanish word charqui, used to describe dried meat, that later evolved to jerky and then jerk. Or, it might have come from the practice of jerking (poking) holes in the meat to fill with spices prior to cooking. The hallmark of jerk chicken, most popular in Jamaica but also found in other parts of the Caribbean, is a spicy dry rub that includes fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers and aromatic allspice. From there, the recipe varies, but always includes other spices, such as thyme or nutmeg. Scotch Bonnets lend authenticity, but the jalapeños in this recipe tone down the fire a bit while still evoking the heat of the islands. The chicken tastes best when marinated overnight, so plan ahead when you can. Store cooked jerk chicken in the refrigerator for several days, or make ahead and freeze. Serve hot, over rice, or cold, sliced and stuffed into pita sandwiches.

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April 14, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker coffee-chipotle pulled chicken roll-ups

Slow cooker coffee-chipotle chicken roll-ups (The Perfect Pantry).

Until I moved to Rhode Island, I'd never heard of coffee syrup. (It's like Hershey's chocolate syrup, except made from coffee. If that helps.) The state drink, coffee milk, combines coffee syrup with, well, milk, and the favorite iced treat, a coffee cabinet, is a milkshake made with coffee ice cream and coffee syrup. Sweet, sweet, sweet. When I met up with my friend Jen of Savor the Thyme at Dave's Coffee, in the opposite end of the state, I bought a bottle of their all-natural coffee syrup, and couldn't resist experimenting with some savory recipes. I packed this slow cooker coffee-chipotle pulled chicken into a piece of oat-bran lavash bread with some lettuce and this smoky spicy cole slaw. That's a lot of Rhode Island goodness rolled up into one great sandwich. Not to worry: you can make this in your own kitchen even if you don't have our coffee syrup. Or you can come to my kitchen and I'll make it for you.

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  • 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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