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November 3, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with wild rice and cranberries {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast with wild rice stuffing.

In real life, retail dictates the start of the seasons, which is why Halloween costumes arrive on the shelves in August, and Santa slides down store chimneys in October. In the mail order catalogs, Thanksgiving arrived two months ago, but I'm old-fashioned and wait until the calendar page flips to November. Now it's officially Thanksgiving season, so I offer the first of two recipes for stuffed turkey breast. I began experimenting with turkey breast in the slow cooker last year, when we hosted a very small holiday gathering of people who, it turned out, weren't huge dark meat fans. This gluten-free stuffing packs in all of the flavors of a New England harvest -- apples, thyme and cranberries -- and the slow cooker keeps the meat moist. If you're not buying directly from a farm, be sure to look for an organic turkey breast that hasn't been impregnated with brining solution or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. The butcher at my local supermarket's fantastic meat department happily butterflied the turkey breast for me.

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October 27, 2013

Irish soda bread muffin recipe

Irish soda bread muffins, with golden raisins.

In my family, there are people who remember in detail the dreams they had days, weeks or years ago. I don't mean hopes-and-dreams; I mean I-just-woke-up-where's-my-coffee dreams. I'm not one of those people, so when I tell you that the idea for these Irish soda bread muffins came to me in a dream, and I remembered and then actually made them, you'll understand why in every sense of the word, these muffins are a minor miracle. I know that Irish soda bread purists will cringe at the notion of golden raisins, but they add just the right amount of sweet. Though it's good to let the muffins cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers, my husband Ted and I couldn't wait, and we slathered on some butter as soon as the muffins came out of the oven. It was the right thing to do.

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October 15, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive dip or spread {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker white bean and olive dip or spread.

To be honest, I had a hard time deciding what to call this slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive concoction. Dip? Sandwich spread? Pizza topping? Yes, yes, and yes. If you love assertive flavors, this dish will make you happy. The creamy white beans serve as a base for plenty of garlic, and just a few kalamata olives, and, of course, for lots of cheese. The slow cooker does most of the work, with a quick zap from an immersion blender at the end (a potato masher will get you to the same result, with a bit more elbow grease). I haven't tried it, but I'm thinking that some flatbread spread with this white bean mixture, topped with fresh arugula and maybe a sliced fig, would be divine. You can make this white bean dip a couple of days in advance, and reheat in the microwave before serving.

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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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