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February 6, 2014

Instant couscous (Recipe: sweet couscous for a crowd) {vegetarian}

Originally published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. The recipe -- so simple, I feel funny calling it a recipe -- is something I've been making for decades. It's a perfect accompaniment to spicy chicken or vegetable stews.

Sweet couscous with raisins and pine nuts (The Perfect Pantry).

Last winter, I treated my kitchen to a couscoussier, a double-decker pot used to create traditional Moroccan stews and couscous. The stew goes in the bottom, and rising steam infuses and plumps the couscous resting in the perforated top compartment.

It's a beautiful thing, but I have yet to use it.

I tried. I really did. My cooking group made a menu called Preserving the Lemon, which included three dishes inspired by Moroccan cuisine. We used our tagines, but when it came time to set up the couscoussier — and start the slow process of rinsing, drying, steaming and steaming again — we looked at each other and, in unison, said, "Instant couscous!"

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February 4, 2014

Recipe for potato, onion and blue cheese frittata {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Potato, onion and blue cheese frittata (The Perfect Pantry).

A blizzard can be a cook's best friend. Trapped in the house, with only my pantry and whatever I can scrounge in the refrigerator, I do some of my best, and most relaxed, cooking. On the day I made this frittata -- a kind of omelet finished under the broiler, to give it a bit of a crusty top -- I found a small piece of Stilton cheese left over from our New Year's Eve celebration with friends (thanks, Mary), and a couple of red-skinned new potatoes that were no longer brand new. Of course I always have eggs and onions, and soon enough, this frittata came to life. Use your favorite blue cheese, strong or mild. If blue cheese isn't your thing, try feta or goat cheese, or whatever you have on the day the snow strands you indoors. Be sure to use a frying pan that's oven-safe (no handles that will melt).

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February 2, 2014

Hot sauce (Recipe: smoky brown rice and lentils) {vegan, gluten-free}

Originally published in November 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. To me, lentils plus brown rice equals comfort food. Use your favorite store-bought or homemade smoky barbecue sauce; I love Rhode Island's own Cowboy Ketchup, gluten-free and not too spicy. Serve this vegan combination as a side dish, or a Meatless Monday main dish with a side salad.

Smoky brown rice and lentils for Meatless Mondays (The Perfect Pantry).

For as long as I can remember, I've had a bottle of Tabasco hot sauce in my pantry.

For many years, it was the same bottle. I used to buy the little two-ounce supermarket standard, and those two ounces would sit on the shelf for a few years, until the sauce turned brown and gunky. I'd throw it out, and buy another little bottle, and start the cycle all over again. No matter what a recipe called for, I never used more than a drop at a time. Sometimes I just left out the hot sauce altogether. I was afraid of the heat.

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February 1, 2014

The Pantry Quiz #72

Aphrodisiac-collage

Multiple Choice

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, it's not too soon to plan your menu of love. Which of these foods are considered aphrodisiacs with the power to make you feel more romantic?

1. Garlic
2. Honey
3. Almonds
4. Chocolate

__________

Please leave your answer in the comments, and let us know whether you have this ingredient in your pantry.

[Last week's answer: Yeast.]

You can find most answers to The Pantry Quiz by using the search box at right, at the top of the page, to hunt for clues. Come back next Saturday for the answer to today's quiz question.

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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