Lydia Walshin

I'm a Rhode Island-based food writer who lives and cooks in a log house in the woods. The Perfect Pantry® (www.theperfectpantry.com) features 250+ favorite ingredients, with recipes for how to use them. Soup Chick® (www.soupchick.com) is a curated collection of the best soup, stew and chili recipes on the web. Lydia Likes It tells you everything else about me. I also publish e-cookbooks: find out more on my Amazon author page.

Sometimes I post about Log House Life, and you can check out my daily photo diary on Seeing in Color.

Most recently, I'm the co-author of Rhode Island Recipes: Creative, healthy cooking with iconic local foods.

The Pantry Quiz #83

Do You Know? Authentic sherry vinegar, made only in a small area near Cadiz, Spain, must be aged in wooden casks in order to receive the official designation vinaigre de Jerez. What is the minimum amount of time that the vinegar has to age? 1 ....more

The Saturday Simmer: Vegetarian asparagus soup recipes (hot and cold)

I know I'm rushing the season a bit, but I just can't help it. I adore asparagus, and as soon as it starts to show up in the grocery store -- from who-knows-where -- I lose my resolve to wait until May, when I can buy local spears at the farmers' market. If you're impatient like I am, or if you're lucky enough to live in a place where you can get local asparagus now, this Simmer is for you ....more

Seafood and broccoli salad with curry yogurt dressing

On the day I made this dish to photograph -- the third time we ate this salad in one week -- I intended to go to the fish market and buy a beautiful melange of scallops and mussels and maybe some chunks of salmon, and mix them all together with the broccoli and curry yogurt dressing. I intended to go, but I didn't. So, I made the salad with large shrimp I had in the freezer, and it was every bit as good as the mixed seafood, which proves that a great salad dressing can snazz up any ingredients you toss with it ....more

Slow cooker "armadillo" beef brisket recipe

Last year when I visited Austin, my husband Ted and I stumbled into Tears of Joy, the hottest little hot sauce shop in Texas. If there's a fiery sauce or spice made anywhere in Texas, or beyond, this store in the heart of the East Sixth Street music district is sure to have it. I shipped home a carton of dry spices and hot sauces, and my eyes have been crying tears of joy ever since ....more

The Perfect Pantry's favorite cookies (to help you get through tax day)

Chocolate, sugar, butter, and more chocolate. I don't know about you, but on the upcoming and incredibly stressful day when everyone in America has to file their annual income tax forms, I don't want to go it alone. I want a plate of cookies by my side ....more

The Pantry Quiz #82

True or False? Garam masala is another name for the Madras curry powder we buy in tins at the grocery store, and the two can be used interchangeably ....more

The Saturday Simmer: Tortilla soup recipes

My husband Ted's aunt and uncle live near Lake Chapala in central Mexico. On one of our visits, on one of those blazing hot days that sound so good to us here in Rhode Island at this time of year, we went out for lunch to a little local restaurant, and we ordered tortilla soup, nothing as inventive as this white bean chipotle chicken tortilla soup from Soup Addict, but very good. Yes, it is true: hot soup on a hot day will help you cool down ....more

Beef barley soup recipe (pressure cooker or stove top)

Here in Rhode Island, the calendar says Spring, but the thermometer says Not Yet. I drive around looking for places where green might be peeking through, but until a few days ago, lingering patches of ice suppressed most of the crocuses, daffodils and fiddlehead ferns. The rainy, raw weather of early April puts me in the mood for soups like this traditional beef barley ....more

Recipe for orzo and shrimp salad with asparagus, bell peppers and feta cheese

At our local discount store, Ocean State Job Lot, you never know what you'll find: garden hoses, fleece pajamas, super-cheap small appliances, chlorine pool tablets. As random (and fun) as the shopping can be, there are a few constants; the store stocks the entire line of Bob's Red Mill products, plus foods from around the world like pastas, nuts and spices. On a recent trip, I found whole wheat orzo, and that's what inspired this shrimp salad ....more

The Perfect Pantry's very best chili recipes

In the long-ago winter when I first began dating my husband Ted, his beloved Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, the grand prize of professional hockey. They won it the next year, and the year after that, and I realized that if I wanted a life with this man, I'd better learn something about hockey. One thing I have learned is that you have to keep your strength up during the long playoff season, if your team is good enough to stay in the playoffs ....more