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New from the archives: four fresh posts (Recipes: Floribean chicken chili, rotini with spicy meat sauce, tomato-nectarine chutney, kicked-up gingerbread)

Tomato nectarine chutney

Every month since early summer, I've been traveling back in time, making a few dishes from the first two years of The Perfect Pantry, in the days before I photographed the food I cooked.

I'm really having fun cooking some of my favorite dishes again, with some of my favorite pantry ingredients, and while I'm back in the archives, I'm also updating the recipes and links.

This month's posts feature chili paste with garlic, tomato paste, cider vinegar and crystallized ginger.

Rotini with spicy meat sauce

In our house, Chinese food rules. Because we don't get authentic Chinese food very often, we create dishes that pair Chinese condiments, like our favorite chili paste with garlic, with everyday ingredients from our American pantry. Rotini with spicy meat sauce is the happiest of marriages between East and West, and it's one of our all-time favorite comfort food dishes.

Floribean chicken chili

If, on the other hand, you're providing comfort food for a crowd -- perhaps a football-watching crowd? -- this Floribean chicken chili will be perfect. A bit of tomato paste adds richness, and lime and chipotle peppers in adobo give it that Caribbean zazzle. You can cook it way ahead and freeze it, and you can substitute leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken to make this easy dish even easier.

Kicked up gingerbread

Sometimes it just takes one ingredient to take a dessert from good to great. In the case of this kicked-up gingerbread, small bits of crystallized ginger bring texture and crunch to a boxed mix.

And if you're already planning your Thanksgiving menu, think about tomato-nectarine chutney (in the top photo), made with cider vinegar, as an alternative to cranberry sauce, or mixed with a bit of mayonnaise on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. You can make chutney now, as it needs a few weeks in the refrigerator to mellow to perfection.


Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Looking yummier and yummier with every post.

You sent me traipsing backwards, to the new cider vinegar post and an old one, which mentions a farmer's drink. Try this version, from Blueberry Hill Menu Cookbook, by Elsie Masterton:
BLUEBERRY SHRUB -- Crush 5 quarts blueberries, cover with 1 quart cider vinegar. After 24 hours, crush again and squeeze through a cloth. Add 2 lb. sugar per quart of juice. Bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes. Can be refrigerated as a drink base, with ginger ale or seltzer, ice and optional sweetening. Makes ~3 pints.

Like susan q above, I to linked back to look at the original cider vinegar post. WEED KILLER! You have just changed my life! thank you!
oh and I heard just this week from my morning radio DJ's that a couple shots of cider vinegar a day are healthy and the secret to success for their best "abs" contest winner :-D

Pauline, thank you so much.

Susan, I'm going to save this one for blueberry season. It sounds terrific (well, except for the 2 pounds of sugar per quart!).

Carol, many people believe that cider vinegar is good for your health. There's been a lot published about it, so please research if you're going to embark on a cider vinegar regimen.

Thanks ! - if Cider vinegar was the "secret" to great Abs...I would be buying it by the gallon! LOL.
Instead I think I will just use it in cooking.

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