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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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January 22, 2013

Recipe for raw beet, butternut and pecan slaw {vegan, gluten-free}

Raw beet, butternut and pecan slaw.

When I saw a recipe for raw beets and butternut slaw on Apron Strings, the vivid colors grabbed me, and I knew the idea of beets with a maple syrup dressing would grab my husband Ted. Though I've eaten many a raw beet, I was a bit skeptical about the squash. Shame on me for not trying it sooner; crispy, crunchy raw butternut rocked my world. This salad debuted on our Thanksgiving table, and it's been a wonderful low-calorie addition to the meager winter salad repertoire. Squash can be treacherous to break down on a box grater or with a mandoline, so use a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. Remember not to toss the slaw with the dressing until the very last minute, or the beets will turn everything pink.

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November 20, 2012

Thyme (Recipe: honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme) {vegetarian}

First published in November 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. Sweetened with honey and orange, these beets add a festive blast of red to any Thanksgiving menu. Try the leftovers in a salad with arugula and crumbled blue cheese.

Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme.

If, on some stormy December day, you look out the window and see a figure hunched over, scarf wrapped around her face, fogged-up red glasses, pink fuzzy gloves, nippers in hand, digging through the snow where she thought she remembered planting thyme last summer, you'll be looking at me.

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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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