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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.

Mango-watermelon-and-tomato-salsa

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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September 28, 2010

Black olives (Recipe: warm tomato, basil and mozzarella salad) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Warmcapresesalad

One bit of trivia about black olives:

The black olives you find in cans in every grocery store are Mission olives, a variety first planted by Franciscan missionaries in California, and all of the olives grown today derive from a tree at a Franciscan mission in San Diego. Mission olives, while fully ripe, don't have the sharp flavor of Mediterranean olives, in part because they're cured in lye rather than in salt. However, it's their mild flavor that makes them perfect for salads, pizzas, and any dish where you don't want the strong olive taste to overwhelm other ingredients.

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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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