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September 10, 2013

Recipe for barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad with zahtar dressing {vegetarian}

Barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad.

For years -- well, for decades -- I cooked barley only one way: in soup, with mushrooms and carrots and rich beef or chicken stock. So I missed out on decades of amazing warm and cold barley salads, and now I'm making up for lost time. Or for lost tastes. This barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad came together after a quick pantry raid and a short hop to the herb garden for some of the curly parsley I'm growing this year for the first time. The strong, salty flavors of the artichokes, tomato and cheese, plus the lemony flavor of a zahtar-based dressing, provide just the right counterpoint to the creamy barley. For a vegan salad, omit the cheese, and add some kalamata olives.

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September 3, 2013

Recipe for bacon, lettuce and tomato salad with creamy basil dressing {gluten-free}

Bacon, lettuce and tomato salad with creamy basil dressing.

When it comes to salad, I fall in love easily and often, and when I do, I eat the same salad for days until my affections find another to love. I fell hard for this bacon, lettuce and tomato salad, tossed with a creamy dressing made with fresh basil from my herb garden. You'll want to use fairly robust lettuce, the ripest tomato, and just enough bacon to remind you of the best BLT sandwich you've ever had. Don't skimp on the basil; the dressing should be vibrant and herby. If you absolutely need the bread for your BLT, add some large homemade croutons. This is an in-season salad, so enjoy it now with the end of the summer tomatoes and basil. Then, save the recipe for next summer. You'll fall in love all over again.

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August 18, 2013

Recipe for shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry with Asian cilantro vinaigrette {gluten-free}

Shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry with Asian cilantro vinaigrette.

As you might expect, we cook a lot around here. Most of the time, I make the food, and my husband Ted makes sure it's good enough to share with you. Every now and then, however, I come up with something so thoroughly irresistible that we don't even want to share with each other. After photographing this shrimp and bell pepper stir-fry, I left the bowl on the kitchen counter. Despite the fact that it was 9:00 in the morning and we'd just finished breakfast, we couldn't stop nibbling, a shrimp here, a pepper there, until we were running our fingers inside the empty bowl to capture every last drop of the Asian cilantro vinaigrette. Fortunately we had some of the dressing left over (I made it with a mix of cilantro and a little bit of flat-leaf parsley, from our herb garden), and I used it the next day on a grilled flank steak, lettuce and avocado salad. We licked that plate clean, too.

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August 13, 2013

Recipe for lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls {gluten-free}

Lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls.

When I first thought about making lighter lobster rolls in rice paper wrappers, I didn't dare tell anyone. Here in New England, people take lobster rolls seriously. Lobster rolls are served in lightly toasted and buttered hot dog buns. Period. No exceptions. So, these lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls break all the rules. Lemon and basil? Never. Shrimp instead of lobster? Simply not done. Skip the hot dog bun? Don't even think about it. That's the official position, but for me, these salad rolls hit all the high notes. I always have shrimp in my freezer, so that's what I use, but if you're lucky enough to have some leftover steamed lobster, swap that for the shrimp. You can wrap the rolls in lettuce leaves instead of the rice paper, to keep them really light. Just don't call them lobster rolls if you're in my neighborhood; no one will believe you.

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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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