• Home
  • About
  • Recipes
  • Books
  • Contact

March 29, 2007

Roasted unsalted peanuts (Recipe: tofu with peanut sauce) {vegetarian}


Whew. I almost forgot: March is National Peanut Month.

If it weren't for George Washington Carver, we wouldn't have a peanut month; in fact, we probably wouldn't have a peanut industry in the United States.

Peanuts originated in South America, where Spanish and Portuguese explorers discovered these legumes and brought them on trade voyages to Africa. With favorable climate conditions, peanuts grew well in Africa and became important in many local cuisines, and so they came back across the ocean to North America with the slave trade.

In the 19th century, Dr. Carver, an agricultural chemist, suggested that farmers in the South plant peanuts to replace their cotton fields that were destroyed by the boll weevil infestation following the Civil War. He invented more than 300 uses for peanuts, including peanut butter, cooking oil, margarine, peanut sausage and peanut punch, as well as linoleum, laxatives, scalp pomade and vanishing cream.

Continue reading "Roasted unsalted peanuts (Recipe: tofu with peanut sauce) {vegetarian}" »

March 27, 2007

Mirin (Recipe: teriyaki tofu wraps) {vegetarian}


It sounds like The Queen, though its origins are not particularly royal.

Mirin (get it?), Japanese sweet cooking wine, dates back more than 400 years. Made by combining and fermenting steamed mochigome (a glutinous rice), komekoji (rice yeast), and shochu (Japanese liquor), mirin is clear and light gold in color, and a bit syrupy.

Continue reading "Mirin (Recipe: teriyaki tofu wraps) {vegetarian}" »

February 13, 2007

Chinese five-spice powder (Recipe: vegetable medley with five-spice dip) {vegan}


Can you name:

The five W's? (who, what, where, when, why)

The five senses? (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste)

The five elements? (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water)

The five flavors? (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty)

The five spices in Chinese five-spice powder?



Star anise, clove, fennel, cinnamon (or cassia), and Szechuan pepper comprise the only common spice blend in Chinese cookery. India has its masalas; the Mideast and Africa give us berbere and baharat, harissa and ras el hanout. From France comes the incomparable quatre-epices. And America offers barbecue dry rubs of infinite variation, and crab boil.

Continue reading "Chinese five-spice powder (Recipe: vegetable medley with five-spice dip) {vegan}" »

September 26, 2006

Coconut milk (Recipe: Thai tofu and winter squash stew) {vegetarian}


A few years ago, Ted and I visited Trinidad, where we stayed with a family in the town of Arima, a lively Afro-Caribbean community in the center of the country.

Each day we'd set off on explorations, to the Asa Wright Bird Sanctuary, a steel pan competition, the tar pits in the south, or the capital city, Port-of-Spain. And everywhere we went, we passed open-back trucks parked along the side of the road, with hand-lettered signs:




and, occasionally,

$1 NUTS.

The nuts were ripe green giant coconuts, and when you purchased one, the seller would hack off the top with a machete. He'd stick a straw in it and hand it to you, like an oversized tropical drink at a tiki bar, and you could sip the very cold liquid inside — entirely refreshing in the hot Caribbean climate.

I was expecting coconut milk, the stuff that comes in a can. Instead, out came coconut water, also referred to as coconut juice or milk, though it's not milk at all.

Continue reading "Coconut milk (Recipe: Thai tofu and winter squash stew) {vegetarian}" »

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.

Never miss a recipe

My best recipes

Shop here

  • Start your Amazon shopping here, and your purchases help support this site. Thank you.

Beat the drum

My Photo

Find me here too

Syndicated on BlogHer.com
Blog powered by Typepad