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June 10, 2012

Quick and easy cole slaw recipe {vegetarian}


Perhaps not officially, not according to the calendar, but in every other way, summer has arrived here in Rhode Island. As the heat rises, my patience for spending lots of time on meal prep plummets. A few quick and easy dishes, like this simple cole slaw, go a long way to rounding out summer meals with minimum effort, and by making your own, you can eliminate the sugar that's almost always added to deli counter cole slaw. If your supermarket stocks packaged cole slaw mix, do what I do, and start with that. Of course, you can buy a head of green cabbage and a few carrots, and shred them thinly with a very sharp knife or in the food processor, but come on -- it's summer -- take some help from the store, and spend less time in the kitchen.

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May 31, 2012

Recipe for kale pesto, tomato and fontina sandwich {vegetarian}

Kale pesto, tomato and fontina sandwich.

Uh-oh. I'd just planted seven basil plants in my herb garden, when my husband Ted, upon tasting this sandwich, proclaimed, "I like this pesto even better than basil pesto." What's a girl to do? Make an extra batch of kale pesto and stash it in the freezer, of course. Not only is it the flavor punch in this kale pesto, tomato and fontina sandwich, but also you'll love it as a topping for pasta, a filling for lasagne, or a slather for grilled chicken or beef. You'll probably think of 1,001 uses for kale pesto once you try it.

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July 21, 2011

Mango, watermelon and tomato salsa fresca recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

A week of recipes designed for easy cooking, in or out of a burrito. Viva Mexico Week, Day Three.


Even though I love Mexican food, I'm a little afraid of salsa fresca, the salsa that works magic on chicken and bean burritos but almost always contains cilantro. Sometimes those cilantro leaves jump right up and grab onto my tongue, where I can't avoid the vaguely soapy taste they leave behind. One day, I had an epiphany: I can make my own salsa, and leave the cilantro out. Yes, out, completely, none, not one sprig of it. Don't tell anyone, but this mango, watermelon and tomato salsa fresca packs plenty of sweet and a touch of heat, flavor and crunch, and doesn't need cilantro at all. If you want to add it, I won't stop you, but try it without and enjoy your own little epiphany over your next burrito.

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November 2, 2010

Dried fruit (Recipe: sugar-free apple crisp)

Sugar free apple crisp

A comforting thing to know about dried fruit:

If, like me, you live five miles from the nearest market, you'll be glad to know that dried fruit lasts forever in the pantry. Well, okay, not really forever, but for a whole lot longer than fresh fruit. Did you ever wonder why? The organisms that make food spoil need water to survive. Eliminate the moisture, and you cut off their lifeline. Unless you dry fruit yourself (a dehydrator is the safest way), and know that what you have is 100 percent fruit, be sure to read the package labels before you buy. Some dried fruit has added sugar and sulphur (which, believe me, has a very rooty-toot-toot side effect).

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October 24, 2010

Artificial sweetener (Recipe: sugar-free Colombian cocoa muffins)

Colombian cocoa muffins

One scientific thing to know about artificial sweetener:

For many people, including those with diabetes, artificial sweeteners are a fact of life, but not all are created equal. In fact, not all are created the same way. Splenda® (sucralose) is the only one made from real sugar, by moving some atoms around on the sucrose (sugar) molecule. The change in molecular structure prevents the "sugar" from being absorbed into the body (i.e., no calories). It's more a modified product than an artificial one. On the other hand, both Equal (aspartame) and Sweet 'N Low (saccharin) are made from chemicals that, when combined, form crystals.

If controlling your blood sugar is an issue, please check with your doctor before incorporating any artificial sweetener into your diet. Stevia might be a good natural option.

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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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