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January 29, 2013

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup recipe {gluten-free}

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup, a hearty Meatless Monday entree (gluten-free).

Once upon a time, I didn't need a scorecard to remember my family's culinary preferences. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in middle age, I forget who loves olives, who hates mushrooms, who likes tomatoes on their pizza and who won't eat anything green. So, it was inevitable that, when I cooked a big holiday dinner for my stepson and grandkids, I would get something wrong, and I came home with three pounds of leftover mashed sweet potatoes that none of the kids would touch. Lucky me: I turned those already-mashed potatoes into this rich and creamy Indian-spiced sweet potato soup. It's vegan and gluten-free, and you can make it even if you don't have leftovers. Top each individual bowl with traditional curry garnishes (cashews, raisins, chopped apple or shredded coconut) to create a hearty one-dish meal.

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December 16, 2012

Recipe for butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup {gluten-free}

Butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup: African flavors with a hint of Mexico.

Yes, I know, in just a few days the solstice will signal the arrival of infinitessimally more daylight, a few seconds a day, though it won't be obvious to... well, to anyone except my optimistic husband Ted, at least for a few more months. I do not get through the longest, darkest nights of winter with a camping lamp plastered to my forehead. I cook my way through, with soup: rich, thick, sweet and almost always a bit spicy. This butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup hits all the marks. It's creamy, yet dairy-free, and gluten-free, too. Most important, this African-inspired soup will make you forget all about the darkness and the cold. You'll be too busy licking your lips.

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December 6, 2012

Chicken broth (Recipe: turkey escarole soup)

First published in September 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. This popular soup began, as many great soups do, as a bit of a fridge dump. Add or subtract ingredients, and change up the escarole for another dark leafy green, but don't forget the parmesan cheese rind in this make-ahead-and-freeze soup. It makes all the difference.

Turkey escarole soup gets its rich flavor from a parmesan cheese rind cooked with the vegetables.

For a few years -- I'll admit it now -- I was a stock snob.

Only homemade chicken stock would make the cut in my kitchen. No bouillion cubes, no cans, no boxes, no (gasp!) dehydrated powders. I made stock from raw chickens and roasted chickens. My freezer harbored baggies of necks and wing tips, and the occasional smashed carcass.

I felt virtuous.

And then, of course, the day came when I desperately wanted homemade soup, but had no homemade stock. Off I went to our village grocery store, where I read the labels on all of the cans and boxes of chicken broth. I purchased a few different ones, including organic, and did a little taste test. And I discovered Swanson's 99% Fat Free, which is lower in sodium and higher in taste than any of the packaged chicken broths I tried. (By the way, the packaged organic broth all tasted like dish water.)

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November 4, 2012

Recipe for hurricane turkey "fridge dump" soup

Hurricane Sandy inspired this turkey fridge dump soup.

Here at the log house, my husband Ted and I prepared to face Hurricane Sandy and the sure-to-follow days without electricity. We loaded up on bottled water and batteries, cat food and cat litter. We brought the light-weight porch furniture indoors. We washed the laundry and ran the dishwasher, put the car in the barn, filled a large thermos with coffee, and charged cell phones and laptops. And I cooked, and cooked, and cooked, to turn as much perishable food as possible into freezer meals that could last a few days, even without power. This turkey soup began as an unpremeditated "fridge dump", but as I went along, I kept good notes. Thank heavens for that, because this is a soup I want to make again, deliberately, and often. (In fact, as soon as our power was restored, I made my second batch, just as good as the first.) I used my slow cooker, but you can make it in a Dutch oven on the stove-top; the recipe includes instructions for both cooking methods.

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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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