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January 2, 2014

Recipe for vegan pumpkin and potato soup with carrots and curry spices {vegan, gluten-free}

Vegan pumpkin and potato soup (The Perfect Pantry).

When I told my friend Bev I was making a pot of hearty pumpkin and potato soup to aid her recovery from foot surgery, she didn't exactly jump for joy. Okay, maybe the swollen foot restrained her, but I think it was something more. I think it was unbridled skepticism, an unqualified "oh" that hung in the air while I tried to convince her to have faith, that pumpkin and potato together would be wonderful. As it turned out, I was right, of course. Bev loved the soup, sweet from carrots, packed with the healing power of ginger, and now that she's back on her feet, I'm sending this recipe out for her so she can make the soup again.

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December 19, 2013

Slow cooker vegan black bean and sweet potato stew recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

Gorgeous black bean and sweet potato stew, vegan & gluten-free.

Around the holidays, we're never quite sure who will drop in, or when, or how long they might stay. One thing we do know is that everyone must be fed, and fed in holiday style. Vegetarians and vegans merit special attention in our household, because there are so many of them, and I always have a batch of this vegan black bean and sweet potato stew made ahead and stashed in the freezer. Like all stews, this one tastes better when made a bit ahead, and the slow cooker does most of the work, so it's perfect for holiday entertaining. The vibrant colors and bright citrus-accented flavors appeal to all ages, and make this stew a great side dish or main course. I like to serve it with wedges of polenta, but it would be great over rice or noodles, too.

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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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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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