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November 24, 2013

Sophie's noodle kugel recipe {vegetarian}

Noodle kugel, for any holiday celebration.

Judy, a longtime reader who lives in the Philadelphia area, sent me a favorite recipe for her grandmother's noodle kugel, a casserole my own grandmother used to make. I loved the note Judy wrote with the recipe, and she graciously allowed me to share it, and the recipe, with you. In the year of the Thanksgiving and Chanukah convergence, this noodle dish is a perfect addition to the holiday table, no matter which holiday you're celebrating this week:

My grandmother Sophie, who lived to be 98 years old, was an amazing cook. She spent a number of years in the 1930s and 1940s running the kitchen of a "resort" for union workers, and she never really adjusted her recipes to cook for just a few people (a tradition I seem to have continued). Grandma didn't wrote down her recipes, so I would cook with her and write down the ingredients and measurements as best I could.

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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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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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