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July 9, 2014

Shakshuka: eggs in fiery tomato sauce {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Shakshuka, a Tunisian-Israeli dish of eggs poached in a fiery tomato sauce.

My recipe for this popular Tunisian-Israeli vegetarian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato and bell pepper sauce is the second-best shakshuka I've ever tasted. The best, the very best, my husband Ted, cousin Martin and I practically inhaled at breakfast at The Gingerbread in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, where Eyal Ben-Menachem, the Israeli chef-owner, works his magic. (I'm sharing the secret to Eyal's recipe in my new e-cookbook, 25 Tomatoes, which comes out next week.) Even though I'm admitting my shakshuka is second-best, it's really pretty great, and I use ingredients you already have in your pantry. The one requirement is heat, in some form: chile peppers (fresh or canned), chile powder, hot smoked paprika. It's up to you, and your heat tolerance. If you're serving shakshuka for breakfast, as is traditional, you might want the sauce mildly spicy; on those breakfast-for-dinner days, kick the heat up by adding more red pepper flakes, a pinch of cayenne, or even a few shakes of hot sauce. The recipe yields enough sauce for six people; make the whole batch, and keep any leftover in your freezer for a super quick worknight supper or weekend brunch. Serve with slices of toasted crusty bread, for mopping up the sauce.

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May 18, 2014

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce, with tomatoes, bell pepper and onions {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce recipe, with any kind of pasta. #pasta #vegetarian

Two weeks ago my husband Ted spent a few days battling a nasty Spring cold. I plied him with soup, soup and more soup, but there came a moment when neither of us could stand the sight of another bowl of it. With comfort food on my mind, I ransacked the pantry and found all of the ingredients for this recipe, a very traditional meatless marinara sauce. I tossed everything into the slow cooker for six hours; then I added the magic ingredient, the rind from a small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and continued to cook the sauce for an additional two hours. (For a vegan sauce, simply omit the cheese rind.) You can make this marinara recipe exactly the same way in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, except that you'll have to stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking. Pour the sauce over a bowl of spaghetti or gluten-free pasta, top with more parmesan cheese, and let the comforting begin.

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December 5, 2013

Green goddess bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich recipe

Green goddess bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, outstanding at any time of year.

With a gazillion seasonal recipes flooding the Internet -- Thanksgiving and Chanukah collided last week, Christmas and New Year's recipes are piling up, and elaborately-decorated sugar cookies just might take over the planet -- I'm here to offer you, quite simply, the very best bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich I've ever tasted. I can't take credit for it; that honor belongs to Picco, a little pizza restaurant across the street from my house in Boston. Their BLT is off the menu until tomato season next summer, but I couldn't wait that long to have it again, and I don't want you to wait, either. Spring for a single out-of-season heirloom tomato at the market, if you must; this BLT is worth it. Salty, garlicky, herby green goddess dressing seduces the crisp bacon, juicy tomato and crunchy lettuce in a way that plain old mayonnaise cannot. Two pieces of toasted or grilled bread (Picco chars theirs in wood-fired ovens) hold it all together. Stairway to BLT heaven, I promise.

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August 22, 2013

Pasta with roasted garlic and red pepper pesto recipe {vegetarian}

Pasta with roasted garlic and red pepper pesto.

Over a lifetime, Cousin Martin and I have traveled to many faraway places together. In Australia, I watched him eat a witchetty grub in an Andrew Zimmern-like moment that, for me, sealed his reputation as an omnivore. So when I suggested we make pesto a couple of weeks ago, and he informed me he doesn't like garlic, I was stunned. My first thought: how did I not know? My second thought: roast the garlic! The flavor of raw garlic can be harsh, but slow cooking mellows and sweetens the garlic, so that's what we did. Then, we added some roasted red peppers, also sweet, and fruity extra virgin olive oil. The pesto, which I tossed with pasta and extra parmesan cheese, almost won my cousin over. Not quite, but almost. My husband Ted and I happily polished off every leftover mouthful.

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June 2, 2013

Recipe for turkey burgers with chipotle ketchup {gluten-free}

Turkey burgers with chipotle ketchup, perfect for summer grilling.

Truth be told, I love a good hamburger with drippy cheese, oozing and dribbling down my chin. Turkey burgers don't ooze, and that's something I've learned to accept when I opt for healthy eating. However, this chipotle ketchup can drip and dribble with the best. The smoky chipotle flavor here is quite mild, as the recipe calls for the adobo sauce but not the actual chile peppers. If you like your sauces hot, add a bit of chopped chipotle chile (with or without seeds) right into the ketchup mixture. Greek yogurt keeps the burgers moist, so they can cook through without drying out. It's the same trick I use when I make turkey meatballs, and it works every time. You can make the ketchup ahead, even a couple of weeks ahead, and store it in the refrigerator.

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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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