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November 19, 2013

Recipe for lentil and goat cheese stuffed baby potato appetizers {vegetarian}

Lentil and goat cheese stuffed baby potato appetizer.

I've never been good at fancy appetizers. I try and try, and I get so excited when I find a recipe I can manage, like these lentil and goat cheese stuffed baby potatoes. The filling is a little like a souffle, which means that when you take the potatoes out of the oven, some of them will collapse. I thought I'd show you that, and tell you it's okay, and that the caved-in potatoes taste every bit as wonderful as the puffy ones. Red lentils (so good for you) add body, but not an obvious legume flavor. What melts in your mouth are the goat cheese, mashed potato and garlic in the filling. My friend Pat, who helped me test this recipe for Meatless Holidays, suggested we bump up the flavor with a bit of Sriracha; you can leave it out, but why would you? Cook the lentils ahead of time, according to the package directions; it will take just a few minutes. Serve these potatoes as soon as they come out of the oven.

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November 12, 2013

Recipe for roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro (can be dairy-free).

A long time reader of The Perfect Pantry, Judy answered the call for vegetarian and vegan recipes for my Meatless Holidays e-book with a dish called eggplant salad (baingan bharta). When I made it for the cookbook, I envisioned it as a vegetarian or vegan main dish served with brown rice and almond pilaf, and renamed it roasted eggplant with cumin and cilantro. The original recipe calls for quite a bit of yogurt; in Judy's adaptation, she'd cut that way down, and in my version, the yogurt is completely optional, so if you're vegan, leave it out. Indian-spiced food might be a nontraditional choice for your holiday table, but recipes like this eggplant are a great option for those "blended family" occasions when turkey-lovers and turkey-avoiders come together: one person's main dish is another person's side. It's also a good make-ahead dish for worknight dinners, as the eggplant is good served hot, cold, or at room temperature. For this recipe, go ahead and buy those gigantic, deep purple eggplants you find at the market, not the thin, delicate Japanese ones.

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November 5, 2013

Recipe for roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika yogurt sauce {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika yogurt sauce.

Here in New England, butternut squash dishes tend to go more sweet than savory. And, really, who can argue with a little bit of butter, some brown sugar, cinnamon and gooey nuts? However, I'm not a sweets person, so this butternut squash with a sauce made from yogurt, Spanish smoked paprika and lime juice really appeals to me. Smoked paprika (pimentón) comes in sweet or mild, bittersweet, and picante (hot). In this recipe, use the dulce (sweet/mild) version, so the paprika doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients. When roasted, butternut squash turns creamy and sweet, as the natural sugars caramelize in the oven. Paired with a bright, slightly tart sauce, it's a healthy and easy side dish to serve with turkey, roast chicken, baked fish or brisket. You can make the sauce far in advance, and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to roast the vegetables.

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October 24, 2013

Recipe for vegan Asian red cabbage slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint {vegan}

Vegan Asian red cabbage slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint.

Whenever I buy a head of red cabbage, I end up using just about half of it, for whatever quantity of whatever recipe I'm making. I'm not sure how or why that happens, but it's uncanny. So I found myself with half a head left after making chicken and cabbage salad, and with a few scallions and plenty of mint in my herb garden, this Asian slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint was the happy result. Miso (soybean paste) adds a layer of salty depth, and thickens the dressing. When you shop for it (in the refrigerated aisle of many markets now), look for a mild miso that's a light golden color. Rice vinegar acts as a tenderizer, so if you like your cabbage crunchy, don't dress the salad much more than 30 minutes before you're ready to serve. I love this slaw with grilled salmon (think of the colors). I think it would be a great side dish for Asian barbecued pork, too.

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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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