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February 17, 2013

Four favorite ways to use smoked paprika

Four of my favorite recipes that use Spanish smoked paprika (The Perfect Pantry).

How does an ingredient earn its way onto The Perfect Pantry's permanent shelf space? One of two ways: It must be something I use in many recipes, or something indispensable to one treasured recipe I make over and over again. The premise of this blog always has been to encourage you to buy an ingredient called for in one recipe by promising to share more ways to use that ingredient. Have you tried smoked paprika yet?

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November 20, 2012

Thyme (Recipe: honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme) {vegetarian}

First published in November 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. Sweetened with honey and orange, these beets add a festive blast of red to any Thanksgiving menu. Try the leftovers in a salad with arugula and crumbled blue cheese.

Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme.

If, on some stormy December day, you look out the window and see a figure hunched over, scarf wrapped around her face, fogged-up red glasses, pink fuzzy gloves, nippers in hand, digging through the snow where she thought she remembered planting thyme last summer, you'll be looking at me.

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May 8, 2011

REMIX: Red pepper flakes (recipes, stories and sources in The Perfect Pantry)

Red pepper pesto pasta

Ten years ago, my husband Ted and I bought our log house in the woods in Rhode Island. At the time we didn't know much about this part of the state, or the village where we now buy our milk and bread.

Rhode Island has its share of quirks, like any small place. And though I'll never be a native, I try hard to fit in.

I keep Autocrat coffee syrup in the pantry, to make the official state drink (coffee milk). I eat clam cakes and clear clam chowder (I know, I know, but I'm trying to do the right thing here). I smile when I pass the Del's Lemonade trucks on every street corner in the summertime. I haven't yet been able to manage New York System hot weiners, but I love Stanley's burgers, mixed with sauteed onions and so thin you wonder whether the Del's truck ran over them.

And I keep both hot and mild red pepper flakes on my spice rack at all times, a badge of honor in a state where every pizzeria puts a shaker jar of red pepper flakes on every table.

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March 10, 2011

REMIX: Cinnamon (recipes, stories and sources in The Perfect Pantry)

Greek yogurt parfait

In the best democracies, people enjoy freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of expression.

My spice rack operates on the same principles. In fact, I'd venture to say it's the ultimate democracy. Except for salt and pepper, which have an assigned easy-to-grab-without-looking place on the shelf, everything else is free to hang out wherever, and with whatever, it wishes.

A spice like cinnamon needs its freedom. Some days, it wants to cuddle up with its baking friends, nutmeg and cloves and ginger. Other days, it prefers the company of the savories: paprika, turmeric, pepper.

No matter where it goes, I can always find it. I buy spices in bulk and transfer them to recycled jars of all shapes and sizes, from mustards and marmalades and mayonnaise. Cinnamon has its own uniquely-shaped jar with little winglets, from some fancy French condiment we received as a gift, so it stands out, wherever it is. The spice is a standout, too.

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November 28, 2010

Cayenne pepper (Recipe: butternut squash macaroni and cheese) {vegetarian}

Butternut squash mac and cheese

One fun thing to know about cayenne pepper:

Native to Central and South America, cayenne pepper is also called cow horn pepper, but if you saw a jar of cow horn pepper sitting on your spice rack, you might not reach for it very often! The name cayenne comes from a small town in French Guiana, where the pepper is cultivated. An excellent source of Vitamin A, cayenne packs the same heat wallop as Tabasco® sauce, and makes a great substitute when you want pure heat without the added vinegar.

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Welcome to The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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