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July 5, 2012

Recipe for cantaloupe and yogurt soup with ginger, lime and mint {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Cantaloupe soup 

Once upon a time, I bought a honeydew so overripe that, when I cut into it, I discovered more juice and less solid flesh than I'd ever seen in a melon before. The juice tasted like nectar, and I couldn't bear to consign the fruit to the compost pile. It more than made up in flavor what it had lost in texture, so I thought, "Why not soup?" That first bowl, a revelation, led to many others and, eventually, to this cantaloupe and yogurt soup with ginger, lime and spearmint from my garden. If your garden gives you basil, toss a few leaves into the soup, too. Use your favorite melon, or whatever looks best at the market: casaba, crenshaw, canary, orange or yellow or green. Serve it cold, on the hottest days, for breakfast or dessert.

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May 29, 2012

Recipe for melon with lime, peanut and mint topping

Melon-with-lime-peanut-and-mint-topping

Cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw, canary: I adore melon, and not just the orange-fleshed ones. Squirt some fresh lime on chunks of ripe, juicy melon, and I'm in breakfast or dessert heaven. Still, I'm in a shake-it-up mood these days when it comes to old favorites in the kitchen (remember the maple cinnamon matzoh brei). So, inspired by mint coming up in my garden, I decided to try slices of melon with a lime, peanut and mint topping. You'll see fish sauce in the list of ingredients; before you turn up your nose, let me assure you the topping is not fishy. It's just pleasantly, vaguely Thai, and the balance of the tart sauce with the sweet melon will make you wish every Thai restaurant in your neighborhood had this dish on its menu.

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May 22, 2012

Chocolate chunk brownies recipe

Chocolate-chunk-brownie-bite

First, mow the lawn. Don't have a lawn? Walk for an hour, go to the gym, work in the garden. You need to bank a lot of worked-off calories before you bake these chocolate chunk brownies, because once they come out of the oven and cool down enough, you're going to want to taste. And once you taste, you're going to eat more than one. (I know. I ate two. I mowed a lot.) One thing you need to know: when these brownies first come out of the oven, they look soft, undercooked, and just plain unattractive. Let them cool completely, however eager you are to taste. The top will get crusty and the bottom blissfully chewy. Just be patient, and keep mowing.

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May 8, 2012

Costa Rican banana nut muffins recipe (with or without chocolate chips)

Costa-rican-banana-nut-muffins

Cousin Martin, in his frequent travels to Costa Rica, always seeks out locally-produced cookbooks for me. I adapted these muffins from a banana cake recipe in one of his recent finds, The Best Recipes: Costa Rica, published by Ediciones Jadine S.A. in San José. When I made the cake according to the original recipe, I wasn't thrilled with the texture, though the flavor was nicely spiced and not too sweet. After a tweak here and there, and the last-minute addition of a handful of chocolate chips to half of the batter, I'm happy to recommend these muffins to you. The flavor of banana takes center stage, and you'll love the subtle notes of clove and vanilla, too. Eliminate the nuts if they're not your thing, or add more chocolate chips. Serve these muffins with afternoon tea or morning coffee, or sneak one into your child's lunch box.

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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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