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January 21, 2014

Recipe for sweet and sour beef cabbage soup

Sweet and sour beef cabbage soup (The Perfect Pantry).

After a day cooking stuffed cabbage rolls, I had everything left over: cooked rice, tomato juice, mirepoix vegetables (carrots, onions and celery), and some ground beef. Immediately I reached for the soup pot and began tossing in the odds and ends. With a tweak in proportions, and the addition of lemon and brown sugar, the stuffed cabbage ingredients rematerialized as a hearty sweet and sour beef cabbage soup. My husband Ted instantly proclaimed it "Blogworthy!", which is how we categorize recipes good enough to share with you. This is a forgiving soup; if you don't have tomato juice, use beef broth. If you're out of green cabbage, try red, or Savoy, or bok choy. Swap in ground turkey or chicken for the beef, or chop up some leftover rotisserie chicken. Add barley instead of rice. The soup freezes well, which makes it perfect for Soup Swap.

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January 14, 2014

Bay leaves (Recipe: pasta e fagiole) {vegetarian}

First published in December 2007, this updated ingredient post includes new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. Pasta e fagiole (called "pasta fazool" in some parts of New England) falls happily into the meal-in-a-bowl category. Make it ahead, and freeze it for easy worknight dinners; just add some crusty bread, a light green salad, and a glass of wine.

Pasta e fagiole (bean soup with pasta), from The Perfect Pantry.

In 1988, Richard Wilbur was asked in an interview whether, in his role as the United States' second poet laureate, he had to wear a laurel wreath. ''I wouldn't wear it outdoors because it would fall off when I played tennis,'' he answered, but he said that he might get a wreath made of bay leaves, which is a species of laurel. That way, he added, ''When I bowed my head to say grace, I could also season the soup.''

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January 2, 2014

Recipe for vegan pumpkin and potato soup with carrots and curry spices {vegan, gluten-free}

Vegan pumpkin and potato soup (The Perfect Pantry).

When I told my friend Bev I was making a pot of hearty pumpkin and potato soup to aid her recovery from foot surgery, she didn't exactly jump for joy. Okay, maybe the swollen foot restrained her, but I think it was something more. I think it was unbridled skepticism, an unqualified "oh" that hung in the air while I tried to convince her to have faith, that pumpkin and potato together would be wonderful. As it turned out, I was right, of course. Bev loved the soup, sweet from carrots, packed with the healing power of ginger, and now that she's back on her feet, I'm sending this recipe out for her so she can make the soup again.

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December 10, 2013

Quick and easy Thai curry coconut soup recipe with tofu and vegetables

Quick and easy Thai green curry coconut soup (dairy free).

Every Monday at lunch time, my husband Ted surprises his office staff with soup I made on the weekend. I can't remember exactly when this Monday soup ritual began, but I love it, because I am a Sunday soup maker, a big pot soup maker, and always cook far more than the two of us need. Inspired by whatever is in the pantry, and leftovers from the weekend's cooking, I begin tossing ingredients into the stock pot. Most often, there's no plan; in this case, I knew at the outset that I wanted to make a quick and easy spicy Thai curry coconut soup. With tofu in the refrigerator, the decision to go meatless was a no-brainer. Leftover chicken or turkey, or shredded rotisserie chicken, would be a fine addition. Both coconut milk and tofu stand ready to absorb any flavors from the surrounding soup, so make sure you use enough fragrant Thai green curry paste, fresh lime and cilantro. (I like the Maesri and Mae Ploy brands of curry paste, which are all-natural.) This dairy-free soup will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

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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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