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November 21, 2013

Recipe for sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese.

In any selection of offerings on the holiday menu, a cook should always sneak in a couple of no-stress side dishes. Sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese is easy on the cook, yet absolutely worthy of a place at the table. One of the antioxidant-rich dark leafy greens, escarole plays a starring role in Italian vegetable soups and stews, but here it's the star of its own show. Cooking in olive oil softens the leaves and mellows the bitterness that's common to many dark greens. Add garlic and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a few red pepper flakes for fun, and you have a simple, yet stunning, side dish. Make this at the very last minute, before you're ready to serve.

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November 17, 2013

Recipe for cornbread stuffing with sausage and raisins

Cornbread stuffing with sausage and raisins.

It seems impossible that in more than seven years of food blogging, I've never shared with you our family's favorite cornbread stuffing with sausage and raisins. It's not a secret, it's not wild and crazy, it's not vegetarian. It's just plain good. You do have to make cornbread, from scratch, and you can do that way in advance, even weeks in advance, and stick it in the freezer. Okay, you can buy cornbread in the bakery department at your supermarket, and the stuffing will still be really good. Just please don't use that cornbread stuffing mix from a bag, because it's packed with sugar and salt and additives, and because it takes only minutes to make your own. For the spicy sausage, I love Beef Hot Links, which pack a load of jalapeño pepper; you can use your favorite spicy turkey sausage, or andouille, anything with a good kick. If your family loves sausage more than cornbread, add the higher amount of sausage in the recipe, or even more than that. This is a stuffing that bakes in the oven, not in the turkey.

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November 12, 2013

Recipe for roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro (can be dairy-free).

A long time reader of The Perfect Pantry, Judy answered the call for vegetarian and vegan recipes for my Meatless Holidays e-book with a dish called eggplant salad (baingan bharta). When I made it for the cookbook, I envisioned it as a vegetarian or vegan main dish served with brown rice and almond pilaf, and renamed it roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro. The original recipe calls for quite a bit of yogurt; in Judy's adaptation, she'd cut that way down, and in my version, the yogurt is completely optional, so if you're vegan, leave it out. Indian-spiced food might be a nontraditional choice for your holiday table, but recipes like this eggplant are a great option for those "blended family" occasions when turkey-lovers and turkey-avoiders come together: one person's main dish is another person's side. It's also a good make-ahead dish for worknight dinners, as the eggplant is good served hot, cold, or at room temperature. For this recipe, go ahead and buy those gigantic, deep purple eggplants you find at the market, not the thin, delicate Japanese ones.

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November 7, 2013

New! Meatless Holidays e-book, and my herb dressing with figs and pine nuts recipe {vegetarian}

Meatless Holiday, an e-book for holiday cooks.

Around the holiday table here at the log house, you'll find a giant stew pot of turkey lovers, vegetarians, diabetics, picky kids, picky adults, at least one vegan, and occasional guests who are gluten-free, dairy-free, or both. Getting a meal on the table for all of them reminds me of a scene from a Steve Martin movie. (You know the one I mean.)

If this sounds like your house, you're probably wondering how to please everyone without making seventeen different meals, without serving the vegetarians and vegans only the side dishes cast aside by the omnivores, and with your sanity intact at the end of the feast.

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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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