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December 17, 2013

Recipe for baked samosa wontons with potato, pea and broccoli filling {vegetarian}

Baked samosa wontons filled with potatoes, peas and broccoli (The Perfect Pantry).

You've heard the saying, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. No wonder I'm always stressed when I have to prepare appetizers. Apps create excitement and anticipation, as they set the stage -- with or without drinks -- for the occasion to follow. When I serve the same old same old dips and chips, my guests are probably wondering if they're in for a ho-hum dinner. The solution to the pre-dinner blahs is a repertoire of easy, yet impressive, appetizers, like these samosa wontons. The dip is store-bought mango chutney, and the wontons are baked, not fried, so nobody starts the meal with a mouth full of grease. The traditional mashed potato and pea filling gets a kick from Madras (yellow) curry paste, which is easy to find in the Indian foods aisle of many supermarkets. You can make the filling ahead and refrigerate it. Or, make and bake the wontons ahead, and freeze them to reheat at party time. Either way, these apps, easy on the cook, will surely be a hit for your holiday entertaining.

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December 12, 2013

Brown rice (Recipe: vegetable fried rice) {vegetarian}

First published in August 2007, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links and tweaks to the recipe. When I make this dish now, I use a much larger proportion of vegetables to rice, so I've adjusted the original recipe. Make as little or as much as you wish, and use any combination of vegetables -- the more colorful, the merrier. When you're running around crazy-busy before the holidays, it's nice to have a quick stir-fry dish in your repertoire for an easy lunch or dinner.

Vegetable fried rice, with broccoli, cabbage, peppers.

I know what you're thinking.

Good grief, three quarts of brown rice! What is she doing with so much rice? Mortaring a brick patio? Filling a sandbox? Making a bean bag chair? Blind-baking a year's worth of pies???

None of the above. This brown Nishiki rice, perfect for the rice cooker to which I am unrepentantly addicted, isn't all that easy to find in the grocery store, and the smallest package in my favorite Asian market happens to be five pounds. I'm glad to have it in my pantry.

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December 3, 2013

Peanut oil (Recipe: latkes/potato pancakes) {vegetarian}

First published in December 2009, this updated ingredient post features new links and tweaks to the recipe. Even though we associate latkes with Chanukah, they're a crowd pleaser at any time of year. Make small ones for your Sunday football parties, or large ones for a vegetarian dinner main dish. Kids love latkes smothered with sour cream or apple sauce.

Latkes (potato pancakes): appetizer, side dish, or main course.

Rudolf Diesel had a dream.

When the German inventor and Utopian idealist demonstrated his new engine at the 1900 Paris World Exposition, it ran not on petroleum, but on peanut oil.   

In the perfect world, Diesel believed, renewable biofuels like peanut oil could power farm machinery and automobiles. In our imperfect world, my car still drinks gasoline, but peanut oil powers my frying.

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December 1, 2013

Recipe for egg casserole with leeks, red bell pepper and goat cheese {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Egg casserole with leeks, red bell pepper and goat cheese.

It's the morning after a weekend of heavy eating, and still you have family and friends visiting, sleeping in, slouching over their first cups of coffee, needing to be fed. By this time, everyone has had their fill of turkey-potato-stuffing leftovers. You want to send them home with a great breakfast, one that's easy on the cook and a bit kinder to the waistline, and you can't go wrong with an egg and cheese casserole packed with vegetables. After just a few minutes' work, and 35 minutes in the oven, something pouffy and tantalizing emerges, and your guests will feel loved and pampered and never know how simple it was for you to create. In this version, combine low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese with a little bit of goat cheese for a creamy texture. Leeks contribute a sweeter flavor than onions, though either would be fine here. Just add toast, orange juice, the Sunday newspapers, and, well... more coffee.

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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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