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March 21, 2013

Sweet cream butter (Recipe: lemon currant jonnycake biscotti)

First published in September 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos and links, and tweaks to the recipe. There's just enough lemon in these biscotti to brighten the gloomiest of winter days and celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Lemon currant biscotti, crispy Italian cookies perfect for afternoon tea.

A dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

A butter cow — specifically, the Iowa State Fair's famous Butter Cow — weighs 600 pounds, enough butter to coat 19,200 slices of toast.

I know what you're thinking.

Salted butter, or unsalted?

(Are you really thinking that, or are you wondering, like I am, what happens to all of that butter at the end of the fair? Does the cow melt in the heat? Do cow birds eat butter? Does the Butter Cow sleep in a barn at night? Does it moo?)

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February 19, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker chai-spiced pear sauce {vegan}

Slow cooker chai spiced pear sauce. Top it with ice cream for a fab dessert.

When I was a little girl, my maternal grandparents, the ones who owned a wholesale toy business (lucky me!), lived in a small brick rowhouse in Brooklyn. I loved two things about that house: the garage where my grandfather would park his car, leaving the trunk unlocked so we could paw through the toy samples on our Sunday visits; and the pear tree in the tiny back yard. I'm still partial to the pear sauce my grandmother used to make, with a just hint of cinnamon. Had she owned a slow cooker, I think Grandma might have liked this chai-spiced pear sauce, too. The warm spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves) transform pears, which are often a bit bland unless they are perfectly ripe, into a sophisticated version of the ultimate comfort food. On its own or topped with vanilla ice cream, this pear sauce makes a classy dessert or afterschool snack.

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February 14, 2013

Balsamic vinegar (Recipe: strawberries in balsamic)

First published in January 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this classic Italian dessert speaks the language of love.

Strawberries in balsamic vinegar, the most romantic dessert I know.

Act II, Scene 2.

The balcony scene.

Montagues. Capulets. What's in a name?

O Rubio, Rubio,
Wherefore art thou, Rubio?

Wait a second...Rubio???

Juliet may have been talking to her beloved Romeo from that Verona balcony, but I'm talking about my beloved, my absolute favorite balsamic vinegar.

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January 27, 2013

Caribbean gingerbread recipe

Real Caribbean gingerbread, sticky and spicy!

When my husband Ted, Cousin Martin and I visited Trinidad many years ago, we spent a week as houseguests of Kathleen, who lived in Arima, an Afro-Caribbean community in the center of the island. An amazing cook, she introduced us to all of the Trinidadian specialty dishes, washed down with her potent homemade ginger beer. It was the first time I experienced ginger in such a vibrant form, and I've never forgotten that taste. True Caribbean gingerbread overflows with the strong flavors of molasses and fresh ginger root, making it both sticky and spicy, and in no way resembles the gingerbread made from a box mix. I'm not usually drawn to dishes with a strong ginger flavor, but I ate a large square of this gingerbread. And then I ate another, and a third one after that, and Ted did, too. Kathleen would approve.

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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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