Uh-oh. I'd just planted seven basil plants in my herb garden, when my husband Ted, upon tasting this sandwich, proclaimed, "I like this pesto even better than basil pesto." What's a girl to do? Make an extra batch of kale pesto and stash it in the freezer, of course. Not only is it the flavor punch in this kale pesto, tomato and fontina sandwich, but also you'll love it as a topping for pasta, a filling for lasagne, or a slather for grilled chicken or beef. You'll probably think of 1,001 uses for kale pesto once you try it.
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While cleaning out the freezer in The Perfect Pantry recently, I discovered some cooked pasta, half a bag of frozen peas, and a long-forgotten container of pesto made from the last of last summer's parsley (gosh, that's a lot of P in one sentence, isn't it?). In fact, my pantry offered up every ingredient for this dish of pasta with peas and parsley-walnut pesto. If you don't have homemade pesto tucked away in your freezer, use store-bought basil pesto, and you will be very happy. And if you prefer whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, use what you love. Be sure to use good white wine and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; when a recipe has just a few ingredients, your happiness depends on using the very best you can afford.
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This vibrant roasted shrimp appetizer looks like a midsummer night's dream, but with shrimp in the freezer and a few ingredients you already have in your pantry, this dream can be a midwinter reality, too. The shrimp get their bright color from turmeric, and the quick-and-easy peanut sauce from She Simmers gets its zing from Thai red curry paste. Instead of heating the oven to roast the shrimp, I grilled them on my new panini-press-griddle-waffle-gizmo with which I'm unabashedly in love. A hot oven will do the job in minutes, as will a stove-top grill pan, and you can make the peanut sauce a day or two ahead and store it in the refrigerator. The sauce recipe yields a big batch, so double or triple the quantity of shrimp and invite your friends for cocktails or a picnic.
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As many as there are cooks, that's the number of variations of the basic recipe for raita, the famous Indian yogurt and cucumber condiment that accompanies every meal. What they all have in common are yogurt and cucumber, two ingredients that cool the fires of the most incendiary vindaloo. Where you go from there is up to you. Mint makes frequent appearances in raita; if you have some in your garden, go ahead and add a teaspoon or so. Some cooks add caramelized onions or eggplant. This version of raita pairs perfectly with slow cooker Indian-spiced lentils. Remember that raita is a fire extinguisher, and keep the ingredients calm and soothing.
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