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March 6, 2014

What's in your kitchen? (A reader poll.)

DOWNSIZING. My friends are all doing it, and it's a frequently-used word in my house these days. After years and years of acquiring, I'm ready to live with less stuff. Last April I had a big porch sale of cookware and kitchen equipment, and I'm planning another sale this Spring (local readers, take note!). It was a lot of fun, and now I'm ready to downsize even more.

To get ready for the sale, I've been giving everything in my kitchen the once-over. Do I need it? Do I want it? Have I used it at all in the past year?

It's hard to let go, isn't it? So I'd love your help.

Please take this very short poll. Tell me what tools you have and use in your own kitchen.

After you "vote", you can see the results. All completely anonymous, of course.

Oh, and don't be embarrassed if you have all of the kitchen tools in this poll. I do, and I have multiples of most of them.

March 4, 2014

Marmalade (Recipe: roasted or grilled shrimp in beer marinade)

Originally published in December 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos and links. When I was making the marinade, my husband Ted cast a skeptical eye my way, but it only took one shrimp to make a believer out of him.

Shrimp in beer marinade (The Perfect Pantry).

I didn't grow up in a marmalade house.

In fact, apart from the grape jelly we ate only with peanut butter, I don't remember seeing any jams, jellies, preserves or marmalades in my mother's kitchen. Oh, I know that she had the occasional souvenir jar stashed in the back of the cupboard — a homemade treasure brought by a houseguest or friend who'd returned from a road trip to a part of the country where every family "puts things up", and recipes are prized. But I don't think we ever opened them.

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March 2, 2014

Black bean, tomato and sausage soup recipe

Black bean, tomato and sausage soup (The Perfect Pantry).

Sometimes -- most times -- I really love my well-stocked pantry. With snow swirling outside and shoveling to be done (how quickly the glow of our warm-weather vacation wore off), I reviewed what I had in the cupboard and refrigerator while I cleared a ragged just-wide-enough path to the driveway. Back in the kitchen, I sat my favorite red Dutch oven on the stovetop, and collected ingredients for this black bean, tomato and sausage soup. Absolutely everything in this recipe comes straight from the pantry, and the soup comes together in minutes if you start with canned black beans. The whole, more than the sum of its parts, restored my energy and soothed my tired muscles. Make the soup mild or spicy, depending on how much snow you have to shovel.

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March 1, 2014

The Pantry Quiz #76

The Pantry Quiz

Multiple Choice

Are you reading seed catalogs? (In an act of complete optimism, I am!) It's time to plan for next summer's herb garden, and I always plant at least one variety of parsley. One of these parsleys is not like the others. Which one is different, and why?

1. Chinese parsley
2. Italian parsley
3. Curly parsley
4. Flat-leaf parsley

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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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