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July 5, 2015

Smoky egg salad lettuce boats with caramelized onions {vegetarian}

Smoky egg salad lettuce boats, a picnic-perfect twist on the classic.

When it comes to egg salad, I'm a straight-up gal. Hard-boiled eggs, really good mayonnaise, black pepper, and nothing more. Oh, occasionally I'll toss in a bit of celery. Perfection. And yet... sometimes, I have to cut loose, and when I do, I turn to my spice rack and pantry for inspiration. The combination of eggs and caramelized onions takes me back to childhood, when my grandmother used to combine the two with chopped liver for the classic Jewish appetizer. I think if she'd had smoked paprika on hand (I'm sure she never heard of it), she might have added a pinch of that as well, because I love how just the tiniest bit of smoky pepper plays off the sweet onions. Depending on whether you like your egg salad with a kick, use mild or hot smoked paprika (it also comes in a bittersweet variety, which is midway between the two on the heat scale). If lettuce boats aren't your thing, stuff this egg salad into a pita or crusty roll, or fold it into a tortilla wrap. You can make all of the components a few hours (or days) ahead, and assemble at the last minute, so it's great for picnics.

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April 15, 2015

Cheese, bacon and guacamole panini

Muenster cheese, bacon and guacamole panini, invented by a food truck!

I didn't invent this sandwich. I wish I'd thought of it, but the truth is that I read about it in the bathroom, where I was flipping through an issue of Boston Magazine. Dubbed "The Green Muenster" in a nod to Boston's Fenway Park and its famous scoreboard wall, The Green Monster, this creation of Roxy's Grilled Cheese Truck sounded so amazing that I had to try my own version. The original is slathered with mayonnaise on the outside, which yields an extra-crispy crust on the bread. I changed it up a bit: thick slices of muenster cheese, bacon, a smear of guacamole, mayonnaise on the inside of the bread, and olive oil on the outside. Salty, creamy, gooey and crunchy, this panini is a truly ethereal meal on its own. If you don't have a panini press, use a stovetop griddle or frying pan, and weight the top of the sandwich with a second frying pan or heavy plate. It's just the kind of comfort food you want on the day your taxes are due.

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April 8, 2015

Egg salad with avocado, jalapeño and lime {vegetarian}

Grown-up egg salad with avocado, jalapeño and lime. Great for roll-ups or lettuce boats. [ThePerfectPantry.com]

After you've eaten your way through all of the sweets and Peeps of the holiday season, you probably have a few leftover hard-boiled eggs languishing in the refrigerator. It doesn't take much to turn those eggs into a truly peppy egg salad, one that absolutely will not remind you of what you found in your grade school lunch box. Here's an egg salad for grown-ups. It's filled with tangy little bites of jalapeño pepper, creamy avocado, and bursts of lime. Fill a roll-up, top some crackers, or serve it in a lettuce leaf. I used a low-carb flatbread one day, and romaine lettuce the next day, and both were equally delicious. Okay, maybe not as delicious as a chocolate bunny, but much healthier, and a fine way to use leftovers. I like to use my egg slicer rather than a knife to make a first pass at the eggs; the eggs won't roll around, and it makes them easier to chop and smoosh with the avocado.

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March 29, 2015

Breakfast quesadillas with smashed avocado, eggs and spinach {vegetarian}

Start your day with these avocado, egg and spinach breakfast quesadillas! [ThePerfectPantry.com]

Workday breakfasts should come together quickly, with a minimum of cooking, and this avocado, egg and spinach quesadilla meets those requirements. Oh, yes, and it should taste great and give you a boost of protein to jump-start your morning. Check and check! A few shortcuts planned ahead turn this into a quick and easy breakfast sandwich. Make a pot of hard-boiled eggs in advance, and peel and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use store-bought salsa; there are so many great ones on the market now, from mild to screeching hot. Buy shredded low-fat cheese at the grocery store, or keep a stash of leftover cheese bits in your freezer. When it's time for breakfast, all you have to do is peel and mash an avocado, assemble, and toast your quesadilla in a frying pan for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.

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January 18, 2015

Turkey, brie, roasted red pepper and arugula panini with honey mustard sauce

Turkey, creamy brie, roasted red pepper, spicy arugula: piled into one great sandwich!

Nothing, but nothing, beats a really great grilled cheese sandwich. If you've seen the movie Chef, you know how much of an event a grilled cheese sandwich can be. Like the dad in the movie, my father was our family's official grilled cheese master, carefully buttering white bread, precisely positioning a few square slices of yellow cheese, pressing it flat under a plate in a frying pan on the stove, tending it until the bread turned perfectly golden. Well, that was a bit of heaven to me. Nowadays my grilled cheese creations tend to end up in the panini press, and there's usually more between the pieces of bread than just one type of cheese. Greens, meats, multiple cheeses, roasted vegetables: anything goes. In this sandwich, the honey-mustard sauce marries the mild turkey and cheese with the spicy arugula and red pepper. You can swap rotisserie chicken for the turkey.

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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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