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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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September 9, 2012

Recipe for gluten-free mango and raspberry crisp with almond topping

This mango and raspberry crisp has a gluten-free almond topping.

The arrival of Spring triggers in me an instant, visceral aversion to Spring cleaning. I don't know why -- perhaps a lifelong rebellion at being told what to do, and when to do it. This year, though, I've been cleaning out cupboards, storage boxes and shelves nonstop since March. Tucked away in a forgotten file, a cache of recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines years ago contained more than a few recipes I still wanted to try. One of those little scraps of paper inspired this mango and raspberry crisp. I had a nectarine that was perfectly ripe, so I combined it with the mango; I think any stone fruit (apricots? plums?) would be delicious. The almond topping, a last-minute inspiration, made these little crisps crunchy and gluten-free.

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August 19, 2012

Recipe for sugar-free, low-fat lemon frozen Greek yogurt

Lemon frozen Greek yogurt, sugar-free!

For a food writer, I'm kind of funny about food. I love strawberries, but not strawberry jam. I love crunchy raw carrots, but not mushy cooked ones. I love hummus, but not chickpeas. And I love frozen yogurt, but not regular yogurt right from the container. So it might seem odd when I tell you that I've been working for weeks to perfect this low-fat frozen Greek yogurt that's creamy and rich, with great "mouth feel" but no sugar, a diet-friendly, diabetic-friendly dessert I really love. I know it's a success because all five of our grandchildren, ages 1-1/2 to 11, ate every spoonful of it at dinner a few weeks ago.

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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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