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September 12, 2010

Mayonnaise (Recipe: bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with turkey and chipotle mayo)

Turkeyblt

One fun fact about mayonnaise:

Technically, it's a stable emulsion, a mixture of two things that don't really want to mix at all -- oil and acid (lemon juice or vinegar) -- with something to keep them together, or emulsify them, once they meet (the lecithin contained in egg yolks). Commercially produced mayonnaise labeled as real must use only egg as the emulsifier, and by law must contain at least 65 percent oil. The salad dressing I like so much has no egg to keep the oil and acid together, but I still love it. Sometimes, though, only the real thing will do, so I always have it in my refrigerator.

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September 2, 2010

Eggs (Recipe: corn, green chile, egg and cheese casserole) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Corn, green chile, egg and cheese casserole

A fun thing to know about eggs:

Size matters! Extra-large eggs weigh in at 27 ounces per dozen; large eggs, 24 ounces; medium eggs, 21 ounces.

When you're baking, if the recipe calls for large eggs and you only have extra-large, be sure to adjust the number of eggs to end up with the correct volume of egg. In most other cooking, you can substitute one-for-one with any size eggs, without making a noticeable difference in the outcome.

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August 31, 2010

Homemade chicken stock (Recipe: smashed potato and leek soup with bacon and thyme)

Smashed potato and leek soup

Every week I make homemade chicken stock in my slow cooker, with the carcass of a rotisserie chicken or a chicken I've roasted at home.

It couldn't be easier: toss what's left of the chicken carcass into a four-quart slow cooker; add one onion, cut in half, skin and all; add one stalk of celery, with the leaves, and one carrot, cut in half; add a bay leaf and half a dozen peppercorns, and water. Set the cooker on high for three hours, or on low for six hours. Walk away, read a book, check your email, take a nap.

Done!

Strain the stock into a freezer-safe container, and let it cool to room temperature on the counter top. Then, store for up to one week in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer, and make soup to your heart's content.

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August 17, 2010

Feta cheese (Recipe: pasta salad with feta, basil, olives, fresh and slow-roasted tomatoes) {vegetarian}

Pasta salad with feta, basil, fresh and slow-roasted tomatoes

Something you might not know about Rhode Island:

We make great cheese.

Not good cheese. Great cheese. And not just the provolone and mozzarella and ricotta you'd expect to find in this oh-so-Italian part of the country, although we make those cheeses very well.

We make Mexican queso blanco and queso fresco, and goat cheese, too. And we make the most delicious feta cheese.

It's not Italian, and it's not authentic feta (which can only be made in Greece). So technically our local feta, made by artisan cheese maker Narragansett Creamery and gently brined in sea salt, should be called feta-like. Or, maybe, faux feta.

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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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