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October 22, 2014

Traditional turkey meatloaf

Traditional turkey meatloaf with a ketchup glaze.

In the house where I grew up, my mother was a big-time name dropper when it came to what we ate. Our tuna was Bumble Bee, our bread was Wonder (yes, really), and our ketchup was Heinz. Always. And, though Wonder Bread is long gone from my pantry and I don't eat much canned tuna, I'm still a Heinz girl. When my husband Ted requested a turkey meatloaf, I considered many of the same flavor combinations I love in turkey meatballs, but in the end, I went traditional (almost) all the way, with ketchup as one of the primary seasonings. Any brand of ketchup will work; just make sure the one you choose is more tangy than sweet. Greek yogurt helps keep the meatloaf moist, and an egg holds it together. This turkey meatloaf passed the most important test; it sliced perfectly for sandwiches on the next day. Make it ahead and stash it in the freezer for a night when you don't have time to cook. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

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October 19, 2014

40 fabulous recipes with Sriracha sauce

40 fabulous recipes, from apps to dessert.

When you peek inside my refrigerator, you'll always find, lined up in the door, Fresca and fizzy water, ketchup, mustards, mayonnaise, soy sauce, chili paste with garlic (spicy), Thai curry pastes (spicy), and a very large squeeze bottle of Sriracha (spicy). Do you detect a theme? Yes, I love spicy food, but sometimes adding just a drop or two of hot sauce can bring a so-so dish to life without also numbing your tongue. Like salt, a little bit of heat enhances the flavors around it. A lot of heat is just, well, hot. How much Sriracha you add is always up to you. Though it sounds hard-to-find, you can buy Sriracha in any grocery store's Asian foods aisle. Here are some of my favorite recipes with Sriracha, made by some favorite food bloggers. And, at the end, there are brownies.

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October 18, 2014

Nutmeg: like or dislike?


Welcome to a little game called Like or Dislike, with ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. Do you like, dislike, love, crave, despise, wish for, use in your own kitchen? The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell!

Nutmeg finds its way into cookies and cakes, eggnog and mulled wine, lasagne and sausages and haggis (which I am sure you make all the time). Too much, and you really notice the taste way at the back of your mouth; too little, and you know something's missing, but can't exactly figure out what. A friend's Italian grandmother adds a pinch of nutmeg to all recipes with dark leafy greens. I always put a pinch in my applesauce, because that's what my own grandmother used to do (part of the cinnamon-nutmeg-cloves trinity). Is nutmeg just an old-fashioned spice for grandmas, or is it a fixture on your spice rack?

Nutmeg: like or dislike?

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October 15, 2014

Slow cooker spicy shredded beef with soy, ginger and garlic

Spicy shredded beef with garlic and ginger makes a perfect rice bowl topping.

If there were a contest for Brisket Queen, I'd toss my tongs into the ring. I've shared so many beef brisket recipes with you, starting with my grandmother's brisket, barbecue brisket, Mediterranean brisket, apple cider brisket, hoisin brisket, Pakistani brisket, and Southwestern brisket, that I deserve the title and a sparkly little crown. Just when I thought I'd done it all, however, I remembered this spicy Asian brisket, with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. I make it in the slow cooker, using my new method of cutting the meat into quarters and browning the edges (more pieces, more edges, more wonderful chewy bits when you shred the meat). This is a super-simple, slightly salty, slightly spicy brisket, perfect served on a rice bowl with any steamed vegetables. Crunchy snow peas provide a nice contrast; broccoli, bok choy, or green beans are good, too. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a spoonful of brown sugar near the end of the cooking. There's sugar in dark soy sauce, and that's plenty for me, but you can (and should) adjust to your own taste.

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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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