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July 15, 2010

Piment d'Espelette (Recipe: grilled vegetables with piment d'Espelette sauce) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Espelettesauce 

Hatch has its chile peppers, Gilroy its garlic.

My little town in Rhode Island has no food to call its own, no festival that draws people from all over the world to celebrate its unique cuisine. We do have some pretty good pizza, but nothing that's grown here and only here.

The small town of Espelette in the Basque region of southwest France has its mildly smoky, sultry, absolutely sensational piment d'Espelette, the pepper grown nowhere else on Earth. And they have a festival every year, to celebrate the harvest.

If you can't find piment d'Espelette (unless you live near a very good market, you won't find it, but it's easy to buy online), you can substitute hot paprika, mild New Mexico red chile powder, or a combination of the two with a bit of pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) mixed in.

Wouldn't it be more fun, though, to travel to Espelette and buy the pepper at its source?

(The festival is in late October, if we're making plans to go.)

Continue reading "Piment d'Espelette (Recipe: grilled vegetables with piment d'Espelette sauce) {vegetarian, gluten-free}" »

June 27, 2010

Wine you'd be happy to drink (Recipe: grilled beef and potatoes with chimichurri sauce) {gluten-free}

Perfect for a holiday cookout, grilled beef and potatoes topped with a tangy chimichurri sauce.

You know that I seldom give relationship advice here in The Perfect Pantry, and when I do, it is the very best advice. So you can trust what I'm about to tell you.

If you are seeking your life partner, and you are a non-drinker who likes to cook with wine (like I am), ask yourself these very important questions before you give your heart away.

First, does your prospective partner drink wine, and will he or she be happy to drink whatever is left from your cooking? (This is the best case.)

Second, if you ask this partner-to-be to bring home a bottle of wine you'd be happy to drink (if only you weren't a teetotaler), will he or she know that cooking wine is not wine for cooking?

Third, will he or she ask the all important question: what are we having for dinner?

Fourth, will he/she be willing to knock on doors with an empty measuring cup to borrow a cup of wine from a neighbor when your own supply runs out?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you are on the road to a happy life together. Trust me.

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June 20, 2010

Capers (Recipe: grilled tuna sandwiches with tartar sauce)

Grilled tuna sandwich with tartar sauce

True confession: I don't love capers all that much.

More than once, the long-stemmed giant caper berries from The Gourmet Outlet, so beautiful on an antipasto platter, have tempted me. More than once, a tin of medium-sized salt-packed capers from France has leapt off the gourmet shop shelf and into my cart.

The fancier the capers, the more I've wanted to love them.

I've tried, really. More than once.

Nevertheless, there's always a jar of capers, from the supermarket or local Italian market, in the door of my refrigerator. Some dishes just need the flavor of capers, and nothing else will do.

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June 1, 2010

Ground turkey (Recipe: Greek turkey burgers with yogurt and feta sauce)

Turkey burger, souvlaki style. 

Why does a whole chicken taste better than a whole turkey, but ground turkey tastes better than ground chicken?

I don't have the answer, but I always have ground turkey in my freezer.

In the small market in my town, I can choose from several types of ground turkey, with varying amounts of breast and thigh meat, and varying amounts of fat. I like 93% fat free, but I can buy it as lean as 99% fat free. The less fat, the less flavor, so a little bit of fat is a good thing.

Ground turkey substitutes for ground pork in everything I cook, especially Chinese stir-fry dishes and wonton filling, and Tex-Mex specialties like enchiladas and tacos. 

And though I've tried to substitute ground chicken for ground turkey, it never tastes the same to me.

How about you? Chicken, turkey, or both?

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  • 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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